GeoDAR: georeferenced global dams and reservoirs dataset for bridging attributes and geolocations

Jida Wang, Blake A. Walter, Fangfang Yao, Chunqiao Song, Meng Ding, Abu Sayeed Maroof, Jingying Zhu, Chenyu Fan, Jordan M. McAlister, Safat Sikder, Yongwei Sheng, George H. Allen, Jean François Crétaux, Yoshihide Wada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Dams and reservoirs are among the most widespread human-made infrastructures on Earth. Despite their societal and environmental significance, spatial inventories of dams and reservoirs, even for the large ones, are insufficient. A dilemma of the existing georeferenced dam datasets is the polarized focus on either dam quantity and spatial coverage (e.g., GlObal geOreferenced Database of Dams, GOODD) or detailed attributes for a limited dam quantity or region (e.g., GRanD (Global Reservoir and Dam database) and national inventories). One of the most comprehensive datasets, the World Register of Dams (WRD), maintained by the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), documents nearly 60g000 dams with an extensive suite of attributes. Unfortunately, the WRD records provide no geographic coordinates, limiting the benefits of their attributes for spatially explicit applications. To bridge the gap between attribute accessibility and spatial explicitness, we introduce the Georeferenced global Dams And Reservoirs (GeoDAR) dataset, created by utilizing the Google Maps geocoding application programming interface (API) and multi-source inventories. We release GeoDAR in two successive versions (v1.0 and v1.1) at 10.5281/zenodo.6163413 (Wang et al., 2022). GeoDAR v1.0 holds 22g560 dam points georeferenced from the WRD, whereas v1.1 consists of (a) 24g783 dam points after a harmonization between GeoDAR v1.0 and GRanD v1.3 and (b) 21g515 reservoir polygons retrieved from high-resolution water masks based on a one-to-one relationship between dams and reservoirs. Due to geocoding challenges, GeoDAR spatially resolved g1/4g40g% of the records in the WRD, which, however, comprise over 90g% of the total reservoir area, catchment area, and reservoir storage capacity. GeoDAR does not release the proprietary WRD attributes, but upon individual user requests we may provide assistance in associating GeoDAR spatial features with the WRD attribute information that users have acquired from ICOLD. Despite this limit, GeoDAR, with a dam quantity triple that of GRanD, significantly enhances the spatial details of smaller but more widespread dams and reservoirs and complements other existing global dam inventories. Along with its extended attribute accessibility, GeoDAR is expected to benefit a broad range of applications in hydrologic modeling, water resource management, ecosystem health, and energy planning.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1869-1899
Number of pages31
JournalEarth System Science Data
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 21 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'GeoDAR: georeferenced global dams and reservoirs dataset for bridging attributes and geolocations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this