The landcover of Iowa has changed dramatically since the time of settlement in the mid-1800's. The maps provided here document this drastic change and the need to save the remaining small pieces of natural areas, prairies in particular.
The maps of the pre-settlement vegetation of the state of Iowa have been derived using two different methods. It is important to understand how this data was derived, and the inherent limitations of the data. It is strongly encouraged that you read the metadata about these projects at their respective sites.
The GLO (Government Land Office) maps were developed by the Government Land Office Project at Iowa State University, that looks at what was recorded by surveyors when the state was surveyed. Overlaid on top of this data for spatial reference, is the current stream network, highways, and rail lines.
The Soils maps information was derived from the county soil surveys. They were developed under the Iowa Cooperative Soil Survey. It looks at the soils information, and determines what vegetation was present to derive the current soils. This data is overlaid onto an elevation model. Overlaid on top of this soils data is the current highways, rail lines, and stream network.
The 1992 Landcover Maps were derived from Satellite Imagery. Overlaid on top of this data is the current highways, rail lines, and stream network.