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Watershed Boundary Data

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The World Wildlife Fund is working on producing watershed boundary data for the world, called HydroSHEDS that is based on SRTM elevation data. Currently only South America is available for download (through the USGS). Data for other continents will become available over the course of the year. Boundaries are available in ESRI shapefile format.
“HydroSHEDS offers a suite of geo-referenced data sets, including stream networks, watershed boundaries, drainage directions, and ancillary data layers such as flow accumulations, distances, and river topology information. The goal of developing HydroSHEDS was to generate key data layers to support regional and global watershed analyses, hydrological modeling, and freshwater conservation planning at a quality, resolution and extent that had previously been unachievable. Available resolutions range from 3 arc-second (approx. 90 meters at the equator) to 5 minute (approx. 10 km at the equator) with seamless near-global extent.”

“HydroSHEDS is derived from elevation data of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) at 3 arc-second resolution. The original SRTM data have been hydrologically conditioned using a sequence of automated procedures. Existing methods of data improvement and newly developed algorithms have been applied, including void filling, filtering, stream burning, and upscaling techniques. Manual corrections were made where necessary. Preliminary quality assessments indicate that the accuracy of HydroSHEDS significantly exceeds that of existing global watershed and river maps.”
Data is available in tiled format through the USGS.

By way of CartoTalk

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