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Landsat Collection 1 Level-3 Dynamic Surface Water Extent Science Product

Landsat Collection 1 (C1) Level-3 Dynamic Surface Water Extent (DSWE) products provide raster layers that represent surface water inundation per-pixel in Landsat 4-8 data.

Return to Landsat Dynamic Surface Water Extent Products Overview


Aquatic scientists and water resource managers require information on the dynamics of surface water extent. Surface water extent
Left: Surface Reflectance image (bands 5,4,3) and Right: Landsat Dynamic Surface Water Interpreted Layer with Mask applied (INWM) product for an area within Landsat CONUS ARD tile h005v013 acquired on August 16, 2000. Water presence is displayed in blue.

Landsat C1 DSWE products contain six acquisition-based raster data products relating to the existence and condition of surface water. All intermediate bands used to produce DSWE products are also provided.

Available for Landsat 4-5 Thematic Mapper (TM), Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), Landsat C1 DSWE products are generated from Landsat Collection 1 U.S. Analysis Ready Data (ARD) Surface Reflectance data, and use the cloud, cloud shadow, and snow information provided in the “PIXELQA” band described in detail in the Landsat Collection 1 U.S. ARD Data Format Control Book.

Landsat C1 DSWE products are processed to 30-meter spatial resolution in Albers Equal Area (AEA) projection using the World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS84) datum and gridded to a common tiling scheme.

Product Availability

Landsat C1 DSWE products are available for the conterminous U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii and for the following date ranges:

  • Landsat 8 OLI: April 2013 to December 31, 2021*
  • Landsat 7 ETM+: July 1999 to December 31, 2021*
  • Landsat 5 TM: March 1984 to May 2012
  • Landsat 4 TM: November 1982 to December 1992

*As of January 1, 2022, newly-acquired Landsat data are processed into Landsat Collection 2 only. 

Package Content

Landsat C1 DSWE products include six raster layers and an .xml metadata file relating to the existence and condition of surface water.  Additional product specifications are located in the Landsat Collection 1 Dynamic Surface Water Extent Product Guide. The Landsat C1 DSWE package includes a metadata file in Extensible Markup Language (.xml) format.

The list below describes the products and filenames that are delivered with the Landsat C1 DSWE package.

Diagnostic layer (DIAG): Provides the results of the five diagnostic tests used to determine the probability of water presence in each pixel.
Delivered file name:  *_DIAG.tif
Approximate file size: 3 MB

Interpreted layer (INTR): Provides the recoded results of the five diagnostic tests to identify specific surface water conditions.
Delivered file name:  *_INTR.tif
Approximate file size: 2.5 MB

Interpreted layer with mask applied (INWM): Similar to the interpreted layer “INTR” but is screened using the mask layer “MASK”. Cloud, cloud shadow, and/or snow are flagged as such. Areas flagged as percent slope or hillshade in the mask layer are automatically recoded to “0” or “Not water” in this layer.
Delivered file name:  *_INWM.tif
Approximate file size: 200 KB

Mask (MASK): Indicates where cloud, cloud shadow, and/or snow are true, or where the percent slope or hillshade thresholds were exceeded.
Delivered file name:  *_MASK.tif
Approximate file size: 800 KB

Hillshade (SHADE): Represents the extent of terrain-produced shadow for each pixel.
Delivered file name:  *_SHADE.tif
Approximate file size:  9.5 MB

Percent Slope (SLOPE): Represents the percent slope of each pixel, where a 100 percent slope equals a 45-degree angle.
Delivered file name: *_SLOPE.tif
Approximate file size: 18 MB

Caveats and Constraints

Most Landsat Collection 1 Level-1 scenes can be processed to generate a DSWE product. Please refer to Landsat Surface Reflectance caveats and Landsat Surface Reflectance Quality Assessment (QA) bands for pixel-level condition and validity flags and when using the Landsat Dynamic Surface Water Extent product.

Data Access

Landsat C1 DSWE products are available for download from EarthExplorerThe data are located under the Landsat category, Landsat Collection 1 Level-3 subcategory, and listed as Dynamic Surface Water Extent.

Visit the Landsat Data Access webpage for information about bulk download options.  


Landsat Collection 1 Dynamic Surface Water Extent Product Guide

Landsat Collection 1 Dynamic Surface Water Extent Algorithm Description Document (ADD)

Dynamic Collection 1 Surface Water Extent Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Citation Information

There are no restrictions on the use of Landsat Level-3 Science Products. It is not a requirement of data use, but the following citation may be used in publication or presentation materials to acknowledge the USGS as a data source and to credit the original research.

Landsat Collection 1 Level 3 Dynamic Surface Water Extent (DSWE) Science Products courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Jones, J.W., 2019. Improved Automated Detection of Subpixel-Scale Inundation—Revised Dynamic Surface Water Extent (DSWE) Partial Surface Water Tests. Remote Sens.11, 374


Jones, J. W. (2015). Efficient wetland surface water detection and monitoring via Landsat: Comparison with in situ data from the Everglades Depth Estimation Network. Remote Sensing, 7(9), 12503-12538.