Administrative History

In 1966 Governor Rockefeller directed the Office of Planning Coordination to conduct a natural resource inventory of New York State. The result was the Land Use and Natural Resources (LUNR) Inventory.

Between 1967 and 1970, a contractor completed aerial photography of the entire state. The state also contracted with Cornell University's Center for Aerial Photographic Studies to design the inventory, conduct the photointerpretation (coding), and produce overlay maps showing land use over the entire state.

The inventory used standard 7.5' United States Geological Survey/New York State Department of Transportation quadrangle maps as the base maps for the overlays. For each quadrangle, two overlays were produced. "Area land use" overlays showed general land use such as agricultural, forest, water, transportation and utilities, residential, recreational, commercial, and industrial. "Point data" overlays showed more specific features such as farm and non-farm rural residences, mobile homes, farm headquarters, miles of shoreline, and types of transportation and communication facilities.

Coded data from the overlays was entered into a computer and was retrievable through two computer programs designed by Cornell. DATALIST provided statistical and tabular data retrieval useful for quantitative analysis. PLANMAP was a graphics program used to produce land use and planning maps of the state, regions, counties, and individual communities. The state contracted with Cornell University to provide a LUNR User Service to the general public, including selling map overlays and providing computer products and related assistance. The Office of Planning Coordination and its successors provided assistance to state agencies.

In the early 1970s, plans were made to update the LUNR Inventory. In 1974 an update was done in Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster, and Albany (part) counties. The Office of Planning Services (successor to Office of Planning Coordination) then made plans to refine and update the entire LUNR Inventory. A pilot project for this program, called Land Related Information System (LRIS), was carried out from 1974-1977 in cooperation with the United States Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), resulting in photography and mapping of Broome and Tioga counties. LRIS land use categories refined the LUNR classification, reflecting more accurately the variety of land uses to better meet users' needs.

Starting in 1976 the program was administered by the Economic Development Board. Although planning continued into 1978, no further work was done on LRIS. Thereafter, the Department of Commerce, later Department of Economic Development, continued to service the records of LUNR and LRIS, assist users, and occasionally update the computer data.