SWBD dataset information page

Short Description

Example of SWBD data

Statement: Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Water Body Dataset

Abstract: The SRTM Water Body Data files are a by-product of the data editing performed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to produce the finished SRTM Digital Terrain Elevation Data Level 2 (DTED® 2). In accordance with the DTED® 2 specification, the terrain elevation data have been edited to portray water bodies that meet minimum capture criteria. Ocean, lake and river shorelines were identified and delineated. Lake elevations were set to a constant value. Ocean elevations were set to zero. Rivers were stepped down monotonically to maintain proper flow. After this processing was done, the shorelines from the one arc second (approx. 30-meter) DTED® 2 were saved as vectors in ESRI 3-D Shapefile format.

In most cases, two orthorectified image mosaics (one for ascending passes and one for descending passes) at a one arc second resolution were available for identifying water bodies and delineating shorelines in each 1 x1 cell. These were used as the primary source for water body editing. The guiding principle for this editing was that water must be depicted as it was in February 2000 at the time of the shuttle flight. A Landcover water layer and medium-scale maps and charts were used as supplemental data sources, generally as supporting evidence for water identified in the image mosaics. Since the Landcover water layer was derived mostly from Landsat 5 data collected a decade earlier than the Shuttle mission and the map sources had similar currency problems, there were significant seasonal and temporal differences between the depiction of water in the ancillary sources and the actual extent of water bodies in February 2000 in many instances. In rare cases, where the SRTM image mosaics were missing or unusable, Landcover was used to delineate the water in the SRTM cells. The DTED® header records for those cells are documented accordingly.

Data format

Data type: Hydrography
Data origin: Measured
Data format: Shapefile
Other format:
Data resolution:

Data Coverage

Spatial data coverage: Global
Temporal data coverage: Time snap shot
Time period covered:


Download data: Data/Products and Data Available/Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Water Body Dataset
Data source: Data/Products and Data Available/Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Water Body Dataset