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This paper presents hierarchical clustering algorithms for land cover mapping problem using multi-spectral satellite images. In unsupervised techniques, the automatic generation of number of clusters and its centers for a huge database is not exploited to their full potential. Hence, a hierarchical clustering algorithm that uses splitting and merging techniques is proposed. Initially, the splitting method is used to search for the best possible number of clusters and its centers using Mean Shift Clustering (MSC), Niche Particle Swarm Optimization (NPSO) and Glowworm Swarm Optimization (GSO). Using these clusters and its centers, the merging method is used to group the data points based on a parametric method (k-means algorithm). A performance comparison of the proposed hierarchical clustering algorithms (MSC, NPSO and GSO) is presented using two typical multi-spectral satellite images - Landsat 7 thematic mapper and QuickBird. From the results obtained, we conclude that the proposed GSO based hierarchical clustering algorithm is more accurate and robust.