NLCD landcover rasters downloaded from MRLC have default legends and symbology as shown here: http://www.mrlc.gov/nlcd11_leg.php

However, when I extract the raster through a mask, or reproject the raster, or do similar geoprocessing, the default symbology is replaced by random colors.

How do I get this symbology back? LANDFIRE offers a table with RGB values I can join to the file that, once joined, changes the raster image back to default colors when you go through properties -> symbology -> unique values -> add all values. Any similar solution for NLCD?

  • Could you tell us what software you are using?
    – Barbarossa
    Jul 23, 2015 at 15:15
  • @Barbarossa I have this same question and added tags for software: ArcMap in ArcGIS 10.5
    – cr0
    Dec 4, 2018 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


I found that clip tool maintains colormap:

enter image description here

You can apply extract by mask to clipped image and add colormap, using original raster:

arcpy.AddColormap_management("from_clip", "nlcd_2011_landcover_2011_edition_2014_10_10.img")


enter image description here

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