Does anyone know of any large scale datasets for rivers that are higher resolution than the natural earth data?

I've been looking at the digital chart of the world, and that appears to be down/unavailable at the moment.

2 Answers 2


1) HydroSHEDS

From the USGS website:

HydroSHEDS is a mapping product that provides hydrographic information for regional and global-scale applications in a consistent format. It offers a suite of geo-referenced data sets (vector and raster) at various scales, including river networks, watershed boundaries, drainage directions, and flow accumulations. HydroSHEDS is based on high-resolution elevation data obtained during a Space Shuttle flight for NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM).

HydroSHEDS has been developed by the Conservation Science Program of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Please visit their website at http://www.worldwildlife.org/hydrosheds for general information.

2) This recent (Africa-specific) answer also provides a number of additional data sources and useful ideas.



There are not many projects that require the entire river network of planet Earth, typically most people are focused on a continent or country or even a single catchment.

Can you narrow it down? Do you actually need a global dataset? I ask this as you can often find river networks at a higher resolution for a specific country. For example if you are doing work in Africa consider looking at the FAO GeoNetwork as they provide a range of river networks. If it is Europe have look at the CCM2 website. Then there is the COD FOD registry and of course the ever expanding OpenStreetmap which you can extract chunks of using the bbbike website.

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