Derived data product DEA Water Observations

  • Daily surface water areas since 1987 from Landsat satellites

  • Daily Provisional Near Real Time (NRT) surface water areas for the last 3 rolling months, from the Sentinel-2 satellites

  • Seasonal, annual, and all-of-time surface water histories from Landsat satellites

  • A suite of data products

Abstract image of black Australian map with purple and yellow highlights at coast and sporadically inland

Witness the history of surface water

Digital Earth Australia (DEA) Water Observations uses an algorithm to classify each pixel from Landsat satellite imagery as ‘wet’, ‘dry’ or ‘invalid’. Combining the classified pixels into summaries, covering a year, season, or all of time (since 1987) gives the information on where water is usually, and where it is rarely.

Abstract image of complex water systems highlighted in fluorescent yellow and red

The DEA Water Observations methodology has now been used in Switzerland, Columbia, and across all of Africa

Blue water bird with red face and beak amidst reeds near water

A detailed understanding of water availability allows us to better understand wetlands, water connectivity and surface-groundwater relationships

Why monitor surface water?

  • Understand where flooding may have occurred in the past

  • Reveal how permanent surface water is likely to be for future planning

  • Assist with wetland analyses, water connectivity, and surface-ground water relationships

  • Get insights into surface water changes per year for drought analysis

  • Understand the differences in water availability between summer and winter

satellite image of lake system with emphasised blue lakes against yellow land

Imagery for impact Protecting a precious resource in the Murray-Darling Basin

Digital Earth Australia datasets have helped raise New South Wales’ capacity for water governance by 500 per cent

Related resources

screenshot of satellite image from report showing colour legend on right

Water data and Australian floods

Water observations from space contribute to a greater understanding of flooding, writes Director of DEA Product Development, Norman Mueller

Water data and Australian floods Learn more
screenshot of four panels of satellite image from report showing colour legend and marked ABCD

Journal article

‘Water observations from space: Mapping surface water from 25 years of Landsat imagery across Australia’

Journal article Read the paper
Smiling woman in red top standing in front of yellow satellite image with blue wiggling water

Seminar: Australian Water

Hear from Digital Earth Australia’s Dr Claire Krause about using satellite information in decision making

Seminar: Australian Water Watch here