Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) plot data provide invaluable information about the distribution and health of our nation's forests to scientists and the public alike. Forest Service scientists found that winter satellite imagery with the vegetation change tracker (VCT) could generate more reliable estimates of forest lands in the western Great Lakes area. These VCT data were consistent with those from FIA plots. The VCT is an automated forest mapping algorithm that exploits the Landsat archive to produce comprehensive maps of forest changes and is well-suited for filling in data gaps between FIA plots. Using winter imagery exploited sharp seasonal contrasts of forested and nonforested areas and enabled the removal of most false positives, providing an efficient and reliable option for filling in gaps between FIA plots. False positives for forest and forest disturbance are a serious problem for the gaps in many FIA data grids, especially in intermixed forest and wetland and agricultural landscapes.