ASTER Global Water Bodies Database

PI: U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team


The Terra Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) Global Water Bodies Database (ASTWBD) Version 1 data product provides global coverage of water bodies larger than 0.2 square kilometers at a spatial resolution of 1 arc second (approximately 30 meters) at the equator, along with associated elevation information.

The ASTWBD data product was created in conjunction with the ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model (ASTER GDEM) Version 3 data product by the Sensor Information Laboratory Corporation (SILC) in Tokyo. The ASTER GDEM Version 3 data product was generated using ASTER Level 1A scenes acquired between March 1, 2000, and November 30, 2013. The ASTWBD data product was then generated to correct elevation values of water body surfaces.

To generate the ASTWBD data product, water bodies were separated from land areas and then classified into three categories: ocean, river, or lake. Oceans and lakes have a flattened, constant elevation value. The effects of sea ice were manually removed from areas classified as oceans to better delineate ocean shorelines in high latitude areas. For lake water bodies, the elevation for each lake was calculated from the perimeter elevation data using the mosaic image that covers the entire area of the lake. Rivers presented a unique challenge given that their elevations gradually step down from upstream to downstream; therefore, visual inspection and other manual detection methods were required.

The geographic coverage of the ASTWBD extends from 83°N to 83°S. Each tile is distributed in GeoTIFF format and referenced to the 1984 World Geodetic System (WGS84)/1996 Earth Gravitational Model (EGM96) geoid. Each data product is provided as a zipped file that contains an attribute file with the water body classification information and a DEM file, which provides elevation information in meters.

read more


Collection and Granule


Characteristic Description
CollectionTerra ASTER
File Size~58 KB
Temporal ResolutionMulti-Year
Temporal Extent2000-03-01 to 2013-11-30
Spatial ExtentGlobal
Coordinate SystemGeographic Latitude and Longitude
File FormatGeoTIFF
Geographic Dimensions1 degree lat x 1 degree lon


Characteristic Description
Number of Science Dataset (SDS) Layers2
Columns/Rows3601 x 3601
Pixel Size30 meter

Layers / Variables

SDS Name Description Units Data Type Fill Value No Data Value Valid Range Scale Factor
dem Elevation Meters 16-bit signed integer -9999 N/A -500 to 9000 (0 at sea level) N/A
att Classification of water body attribute Class 8-bit unsigned integer N/A N/A 0 to 3 N/A

Water Body Attributes

Value Description
0 Land
1 Ocean
2 River
3 Lakes

Product Quality

A comparison with the SRTM Water Body Dataset is described in Section 7 of the User Guide.

Known Issues

No known issues.

About the image

Terra ASTER Global Water Bodies Database waterbodies data from the ASTWBD product over Baffin Island, Canada between March 1, 2000 and November 30, 2013.

View full-size image


User Guide

Using the Data

Access Data


DOI: 10.5067/ASTER/ASTWBD.001