JRC Global Surface Water Mapping Layers, v1.4

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change-detection geophysical google jrc landsat-derived surface water


This dataset contains maps of the location and temporal distribution of surface water from 1984 to 2021 and provides statistics on the extent and change of those water surfaces. For more information see the associated journal article: High-resolution mapping of global surface water and its long-term changes (Nature, 2016) and the online Data Users Guide.

These data were generated using 4,716,475 scenes from Landsat 5, 7, and 8 acquired between 16 March 1984 and 31 December 2021. Each pixel was individually classified into water / non-water using an expert system and the results were collated into a monthly history for the entire time period and two epochs (1984-1999, 2000-2021) for change detection.

This mapping layers product consists of 1 image containing 7 bands. It maps different facets of the spatial and temporal distribution of surface water over the last 38 years. Areas where water has never been detected are masked.


30 meters


Name Units Min Max Description
occurrence % 0 100

The frequency with which water was present.

change_abs % -100 100

Absolute change in occurrence between two epochs: 1984-1999 vs 2000-2021.

change_norm % -100 100

Normalized change in occurrence. (epoch1-epoch2)/(epoch1+epoch2) * 100

seasonality 0 12

Number of months water is present.

recurrence % 0 100

The frequency with which water returns from year to year.


Categorical classification of change between first and last year.


Binary image containing 1 anywhere water has ever been detected.

transition Class Table

Value Color Description
0 #ffffff No change
1 #0000ff Permanent
2 #22b14c New permanent
3 #d1102d Lost permanent
4 #99d9ea Seasonal
5 #b5e61d New seasonal
6 #e6a1aa Lost seasonal
7 #ff7f27 Seasonal to permanent
8 #ffc90e Permanent to seasonal
9 #7f7f7f Ephemeral permanent
10 #c3c3c3 Ephemeral seasonal

Terms of Use

Terms of Use

All data here is produced under the Copernicus Programme and is provided free of charge, without restriction of use. For the full license information see the Copernicus Regulation.

Publications, models, and data products that make use of these datasets must include proper acknowledgement, including citing datasets and the journal article as in the following citation.

If you are using the data as a layer in a published map, please include the following attribution text: 'Source: EC JRC/Google'


  • Jean-Francois Pekel, Andrew Cottam, Noel Gorelick, Alan S. Belward, High-resolution mapping of global surface water and its long-term changes. Nature 540, 418-422 (2016). (doi:10.1038/nature20584)

Explore with Earth Engine

Code Editor (JavaScript)

var dataset = ee.Image('JRC/GSW1_4/GlobalSurfaceWater');

var visualization = {
  bands: ['occurrence'],
  min: 0.0,
  max: 100.0,
  palette: ['ffffff', 'ffbbbb', '0000ff']

Map.setCenter(59.414, 45.182, 6);

Map.addLayer(dataset, visualization, 'Occurrence');
Open in Code Editor