JRC Global Surface Water Metadata, v1.4

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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 product contains metadata about the observations that went into computing The Global Surface Water dataset. Areas where water has never been detected are masked.


30 meters


Name Min Max Description
detections 0* 2007*

The number of water detections in the study period.

valid_obs 0* 2076*

The number of valid observations in the study period.

total_obs 0* 2417*

The total number of available observations (i.e. scenes) in the study period.

* estimated min or max value

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/Metadata');

var visualization = {
  bands: ['detections', 'valid_obs', 'total_obs'],
  min: 100.0,
  max: 900.0,

Map.setCenter(71.72, 52.48, 0);

Map.addLayer(dataset, visualization, 'Detections/Observations');
Open in Code Editor