Are there any sources of up to date information about world lakes?

I'm interested in both spatial (not necessarily in great detail) and basic non-spatial (such as lake area, volume and maximum depth) information.

The key point is last update time. I've already considered Natural Earth Data and Global Lakes and Wetlands Database. HydroLAKES dataset is next in line (when it will be released). And I've noticed that, for example, the information about the Aral sea is quite old and different from source to source (both about its contour and area value).

Which of these sources (or maybe some alternative) provides the most reliable data and information at the global level?

  • Didn't know about the HydroLAKES project. I had always thought that the HydroSHEDS project was abandoned based on the condition of the USGS website. Thanks for the resource. Oct 21, 2016 at 17:10
  • At your service) What about my question? I understand that it's difficult to count on new spatial information, but is there probably some statistics?
    – barti
    Oct 21, 2016 at 19:26

1 Answer 1


I did a little searching around and came across another dataset that's relatively new (2014) and might be forthcoming soon:

GLOWABO - Global Water Bodies database

The study used remote sensing and water body extraction techniques [GWEM] to count and categorize the world's lakes, circa 2000. Some new agencies that reported on it mentioned that the data would be released openly. It might be worthwhile to contact the lead researcher, Dr. Charles Verpoorter, to see if they've started hosting the data.

Beyond that, I would suggest that the HydroLAKES project might be the most likely candidate for performing analyses on water bodies at the global level. The major value from a continuous data set is that at the very least you can expect a degree of consistency between areas/regions/continents.

Data collection for more recent estimates of water body numbers and extents is difficult to perform at the global level, but if you're looking for specific lakes, you could always perform pansharpening and comparative analyses on remotely sensed LandSat 7/8 Data yourself.

Hope this helps.

  • 1
    I, in turn, did not know about GLOWABO. So, thanks a lot. Wrote to Dr. Verpoorter. If there will be some news about GLOWABO or HydroLAKES - I will write about it.
    – barti
    Oct 22, 2016 at 8:15

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