I am looking for binary raster data, which indicates whether a granular pixel on a world map is covered by water or not. This should be data with relatively high resolution, where e.g. a river or a lake is assigned a zero (water) and some parcel of land is assigned a 1 (land) (or the other way round). However, I do not need this for the oceans in order to limit the size of the dataset.

I found e.g. this paper: https://tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17538947.2015.1026420 but cannot find the dataset itself.

I also found this data: http://glcf.umd.edu/data/watermask/ but the links provided on the website do not seem to work and I cannot find it anywhere else.

The two datasets use resolutions at 30 meters and 250 meters. The good thing about such a small-scale resolution is that it also covers rivers and that is what I am searching for.


I also found the following dataset: https://daac.ornl.gov/ISLSCP_II/guides/combined_ancillary_xdeg.html

However, the resolution of that dataset is about 1km and therefore a little bit too coarse. It does not really cover rivers but only major lakes.

  • What is the required pixel size?
    – user4293
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 7:46
  • Sorry, that is not useful information. Pixels are arbitrary. What area in kilometers or miles does one pixel represent? And edit that into the question - comments can disappear.
    – user4293
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 7:54
  • If you haven't done so, please also contact the authors (and ask them to (1) share with you, and (2) to post an open dataset).
    – philshem
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 9:51

1 Answer 1


If anyone is interested in similar datasets: I found a nice compilation of different datasets, which can be used for population studies (among others). The data is compiled at resolutions 100m and 1km and includes information about the water surface (also as dummy variable): https://www.nature.com/articles/sdata20171#t3

If you scroll down to the end of the article, you will find links to the Havard dataverse including the respective files (Table 3 provides further information).

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