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I need the data (lat,long) for the world's major river basins boundaries. I want to use it in MATLAB, like "load coast" that gives the coast's boundary.

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    Have you tried looking? A Google search for the title of this question found free shapefiles at the Global Runoff Data Center: it's on the very first page returned by Google.
    – whuber
    Commented Dec 17, 2011 at 19:48

3 Answers 3

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Naturalearth offers a global "Rivers + lake centerlines" dataset:

http://www.naturalearthdata.com/downloads/10m-physical-vectors/

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As discussed on a post on French data you have a couple of sources for free data at these links:

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    These appear to be France-only datasets. Where on these sites are the worldwide data?
    – whuber
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 14:12
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Maybe this could work:

http://services.arcgisonline.com/ArcGIS/rest/services/Ocean_Basemap/MapServer

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  • The linked page only talks about oceans. Rivers aren't even mentioned ... Is it just the description that is misleading?
    – underdark
    Commented Jan 21, 2012 at 16:55

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