New York State Economic Development Board Land Use and Natural Resources Inventory and Land Related Information System Research, Planning, and Use Files

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

This series consists of files used to track and conduct research, program planning, user services, and overall administration of the Land Use and Natural Resources Inventory and Land Related Information System research (LUNR and LRIS) projects. The projects resulted in aerial photographs, later computer generated overlays, of the entire state. Records include correspondence; memorandums; research; reports; publications; meeting minutes; history files; pilot program files; studies; summaries; user questionnaires; surveys; statistics; and user manuals and guides.
26 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates:
Series Number:


Organized into 12 subseries: 1. LRIS Classification System Research and Planning Files, 1967-1975, 2 cubic feet; 2. LUNR/LRIS Correspondence and Use History Files, 1968-1978, 1.5 cubic feet; 3. LRIS Reference File, 1966-1975, 2.5 cubic feet; 4. LRIS Pilot Project Planning and Work Tracking Files, 1973-1978, 2 cubic feet; 5. LUNR/LRIS User and Use Tracking Files, 1969-1982, 2 cubic feet; 6. LUNR Planning, Administrative, and Reference Files, 1966-1970, 0.5 cubic foot; 7. Publications and Public Presentations Files, 1974-1982, 4 cubic feet; 8. NASA Landsat Program and Other Project Files, 1970-1975, 1.5 cubic feet; 9. LUNR User Surveys, 1971, 1973, 1 cubic foot; 10. Program Activity Notebooks, 1969-1978, 2.5 cubic feet; 11. LUNR/LRIS Report Files, 1968-1976, 2.5 cubic feet; 12. Computer Printouts, ca. 1975-1977, 4 cubic feet.

Subseries 1, 7, 11, 12: No arrangement.

Subseries 2: Reserve chronological order.

Subseries 3: By topic; resources files are alphabetical by name of resource, e.g. agricultural, hydrological.

Subseries 4: By topic or project proposal.

Subseries 5: By topic; user group files are alphabetical by agency or user name within user group (e.g. agency names within "State Agencies" group).

Subseries 6: Chronological.

Subseries 8: By project or topic.

Subseries 9: Chronological by year of survey.

Subseries 10: By topic or activity.

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.

Scope and Content Note

These are the central files used to track and carry out background research, program planning, user services, and overall administration of the LUNR Inventory and LRIS projects. The records include: correspondence; memoranda; draft and final reports and publications; minutes of meetings; staff work outlines and summaries; user questionnaires, surveys, and statistics; user manuals and guides; and other related records. The records are organized into 12 subseries as described below.

Subseries 1: LRIS Classification System Research and Planning Files, 1967-1975, 2 cubic feet. These are background materials used in preparing a coded land use classification system for the LRIS project, including: printed land use studies and planning documents based on LUNR data, such as Department of Transportation and Office of Parks and Recreation documents; published and unpublished land use classification systems from outside New York State, such as those from Maryland, California, and other states, the United States Department of the Interior, and Canada; solicited comments and internal memoranda on improvements and changes needed in LUNR classification if LUNR is to be updated; drafts and proposals for a New York State Land Use Classification System prepared for the LRIS pilot project in Broome and Tioga counties; guides to mapping or land classification from other state agencies, such as tax mapping guides from the Board of Equalization and Assessment; workbooks and instructions for photointerpreters (aerial photograph coders) explaining each land use category and codes to use; notes and memoranda on need for land characteristics/use data by other state agencies such as the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Department of Transportation, and the Office of Parks and Recreation; and minutes and notes from meetings with representatives of other state agencies such as the Board of Equalization and Assessment and the Department of Environmental Conservation regarding cooperative efforts in land use classification and mapping.

Subseries 2: LUNR/LRIS Correspondence and Use History Files, 1968-1978, 1.5 cubic feet. Records documenting use of LUNR/LRIS information and products include: routine inquiries and responses regarding availability of publications and studies; requests for information or map overlays from local planners and conservation councils; Cornell user records including lists of visitors and copies of purchase orders for map overlays; Office of Planning Services user records including memoranda concerning on-site visitors and lists of persons to whom LUNR/LRIS information or questionnaires were sent; correspondence with planners and others in New York State and other states, and internal memoranda, regarding the background of LUNR and the types of data and analysis available; and correspondence with Cornell regarding the status of work on Cornell's contract, including publication of final report, data coding, and production of overlays, especially emphasizing Cornell's problems in meeting contract deadlines.

Subseries 3: LRIS Reference File, 1966-1975, 2.5 cubic feet. Material acquired and retained for staff reference use includes: articles and printed information on aerial photography, photointerpretation, and mapping; maps and memoranda indicating areas covered or to be covered by aerial photography; lists of land use plans for New York regions, counties, and municipalities, and some published plans and studies; printed information on New York's Wetlands Sea Grant Program; climate and air quality data and studies; and bibliographies, inventories, studies, and notes on specific New York resources and land characteristics such as agricultural, mineral/geological, historical/cultural, hydrological, recreational, slope, and vegetation cover.

Subseries 4: LRIS Pilot Project Planning and Work Tracking Files, 1973-1978, 2 cubic feet. Records documenting planning and work activities for the LRIS Pilot Project include: project proposal and contract with the United States Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for an LRIS pilot project to develop a comprehensive, easily updated mapped information system to solve recurring planning, development, and investment questions;project proposals answering the Office of Planning Services Request for Proposals for photointerpretation and land use mapping of Broome and Tioga counties; comments by Office of Planning Services staff on project proposals; contract with Cornell for photointerpretation and mapping services for the LRIS pilot project; typed notes from pilot project meetings at Cornell; copies of map coding forms; staff work plans and time/activity records for LRIS work; and drafts of final report on LRIS/ARC pilot project.

Subseries 5: LUNR/LRIS User and Use Tracking Files, 1969-1982, 2 cubic feet. Records documenting methods, amount, and types of use of LUNR products and information include: 1) lists of items loaned and ordered; 2) files for state, county, local, and federal agencies, private industry, and colleges and universities containing: order forms for and correspondence regarding requested items; publications, press releases, land use studies, and other records indicating agency planning activities for which LUNR/LRIS data could be used; and memoranda to file detailing purposes for which state agencies used LUNR/LRIS; 3) similar use records for specific types of data or items, such as watershed data and PLANMAP and DATALIST computer requests; 4) correspondence, memoranda, notes, and "trouble sheets" indicating user problems, such as the difficulty in using computer tapes not written in a standard code, or errors found in map overlays; 5) publicity materials such as publications, articles, and press releases; 6) outlines and papers for conference and training sessions to acquaint users, such as local planners, with LUNR; and 7) user guides and manuals.

Subseries 6: LUNR Planning, Administrative, and Reference Files, 1966-1970, .5 cubic foot. LUNR correspondence, memoranda, meeting summaries, proposals, plans, budgets, and other records concern: Phase I LUNR pilot study covering Cortland and Onondaga counties, and an extension to cover Cayuga, Oswego, and Madison counties; Phase II of LUNR Inventory covering New York's Appalachian region; Phase III covering western New York, the middle and upper Hudson Valley, the Mohawk Valley, and the Lake Ontario/Finger Lakes region; Phase IV covering the remainder of New York State except for New York City and Nassau and Suffolk counties (Long Island); and Phase V covering New York City and Long Island.

Subseries 7: Publications and Public Presentations Files, 1974-1982, 4 cubic feet. These include: guidelines and standards for writing LUNR/LRIS publications; master and duplicate copies of LUNR/LRIS publications such as user manuals; reports, newsletters, and articles concerning LUNR, LRIS, and planning systems in other states or related topics such as the future of mapping; publication circulation statistics; drafts, masters, and duplicates of progress reports, user surveys, and circulating memoranda; correspondence with planners from other states regarding availability of publications and staff participation in workshops; public presentation notes, drafts, papers, and handouts such as reproductions of maps; conference notices and programs; "success file" of letters from users noting usefulness of LUNR/LRIS publications and data; and sample runs of LUNR Inventory computer products, some prepared to test usefulness of LUNR publications to users in developing their own LUNR Inventory computer data requests, and others prepared for unspecified purposes.

Subseries 8: NASA Landsat Program and Other Project Files, 1970-1975, 1.5 cubic feet. Correspondence with NASA, internal memoranda, and meeting notes concern New York State's proposals and plans for participating in Landsat (previously called Earth Resources Technology Satellite, or ERTS), Earth Resources Observation Satellite (EROS), and Skylab missions. Plans and proposals detail uses to which data collected by the satellites would be put. The subseries also includes: NASA publications regarding satellite data collection, imagery, and investigations; reports on other projects such as the United States Department of the Interior's "Critical Environmental Areas Project" to provide guidance to state and local officials responsible for critical environmental areas planning, regulation, and management; and a few unrelated publications on land use planning.

Subseries 9: LUNR User Surveys, 1971, 1973, 1 cubic foot. User surveys were carried out in 1971 and 1973. Questionnaires were sent to state, county, and local government agencies, planners and planning consultants, engineering and architectural firms, and environmental councils. Completed questionnaires provide comments on which LUNR products were used, how they were used, if found to be useful for the intended purpose, problems with data or products supplied (e.g. errors), and suggested changes and improvements in products and services.

Subseries 10: Program Activity Notebooks, 1969-1978, 2.5 cubic feet. Correspondence, memoranda, minutes of meetings, notes, and other records concern particular subjects or program activities such as: participation in the Map Advisory Committee, an interagency group responsible for promoting development of statewide mapping and aerial photography programs to meet planning and other needs of New York State, avoid duplication of efforts and expenditures, and identify projects to meet interagency needs more efficiently than would individual agency projects; administration of the LRIS pilot project with Cornell, such as: cost estimates for products; correspondence regarding preparation of reports; LUNR User Service administered by Cornell, including: proposals to improve services; correspondence with Cornell regarding provision of services; monthly reports of user inquiries, loans, and related activities; LRIS Policy Committee and Technical Subcommittee meetings concerning methods of data collection and interpretation; design needs and recommendations of other state agencies for LRIS; funding efforts; land use classification systems; and LRIS historical background information.

Subseries 11: LUNR/LRIS Report Files, 1968-1976, 2.5 cubic feet. These reports and publications include user guides and manuals, technical reports (e.g. on computer systems), staff papers, and project reports including the final LUNR report and LRIS pilot project final report.

Subseries 12: Computer Printouts, ca. 1975-1977, 4 cubic feet. These include printouts of: special studies such as "Depth to Bedrock," "Watershed" (by county), and "Economic Viability of Farm Areas" (by county); dumps of selected coded data sets; and breakdowns of data from 1970 New York City Census, such as family income catagories (no reason specified for this information).

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this material.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series B1109 Land Use and Natural Resources Inventory and Land Related Information System Area and Point Use Overlay Maps, and

Series B1052 Land Use and Natural Resources Inventory and Land Related Information System Aerial Photographs, contain related records.

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