Organisation: European Commission, Joint Research Centre
Point of contact:

Title: Global Surface Water Explorer dataset


The European Commission's Joint Research Centre developed this new water dataset in the framework of the Copernicus Programme. This maps the location and temporal distribution of water surfaces at the global scale over the past 32 years and provides statistics on the extent and change of those water surfaces. The dataset, produced from Landsat imagery (courtesy USGS and NASA), will support applications including water resource management, climate modelling, biodiversity conservation and food security.

Jean-François Pekel 0000-0002-9992-6385
Andrew Cottam
Noel Gorelick 0000-0002-5548-2436
Alan Belward
How to cite
Pekel, Jean-François; Cottam, Andrew; Gorelick, Noel; Belward, Alan (2017):  Global Surface Water Explorer dataset. European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) [Dataset] PID:
Related resources

Data access

  • Global Surface Water - Data Access TIFF

    Download of the datasets. If you are using the data as a layer in a published map, please include the following attribution text: 'Source: EC JRC/Google'. Currently all of the mapped datasets are available for download (i.e. occurrence, change, seasonality, recurrence, transitions and maximum extent). The water history datasets and metadata datasets will be made available in the near future.

  • Global Surface Water Explorer HTML

    The Global Surface Water Explorer is a simple web mapping tool that shows all of the water datasets and allows users to navigate the globe visualizing the water datasets without installing any software. It also allows users to view the complete history of water detections over the 32 year period by clicking on the map. The tool is intended as a data viewer and does not provide any analytical...


  • publication Global Surface Water - Data Access

    Pekel, J., Cottam, A., Gorelick, N. and Belward, A., Global Surface Water - Data Access, Nature, 2016, doi:10.1038/nature20584, JRC109054.


Additional information
Issue date 2017-09-01
Landing page
Update frequency irregular
Language English
Data theme(s) Environment; Science and technology
EuroVoc domain(s) 36 SCIENCE; 52 ENVIRONMENT
Geographic information
Geographic bounding box

90° N, 180° E, -90° S, -180° W

Please be aware that the information and links provided in the metadata above are maintained in distributed and heterogeneous information systems. Although we strive to maintain and keep links and information updated, this may not always be possible because of changes that are not registered and updated in the relevant information systems. Please, help us to maintain the system updated by indicating broken links or any other outdated information by contacting the relevant contact point. You can also inform us using the "Contact" link of this page.