DEA Wetlands and Riparian

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Digital Earth Australia (DEA) Geoscience Australia has a wide range of products relevant to wetlands and riparian zones that are available to support ongoing mapping and monitoring. This effort is supported by TERN Terrestrial Environment Research Network (TERN). This world leading resource provides considerable opportunity for national and international scientists, bodies (e.g., the United Nations), governments, land managers and the public to better understand the changing state of wetlands and riparian zones across Australia. Processing is undertaken within the framework of the Open Data Cube, which facilitates transferability of processing of satellite sensor data to the global community.

DEA has generated a number of environmental variables that relate to wetlands and riparian zones. DEA is continuing to generate EVs from archives of Landsat sensor data acquired every 16 days over Australia since the mid 1980s. The main datasets relevant to all permanently and seasonally inundated freshwater and brackish/saline wetlands are Water Observations from Space (WOfS; Mueller et al., 2016), fractional cover (Gill et al., 2018) and the Inter-Tidal Extent Model (ITEM; Sagar et al., 2017). The fractional cover data quantify the amounts of green and senescent (or dead) vegetation as well as bare ground. The National Mangrove Map (Lymburner et al., 2019) is relevant to the extent of mangroves, with canopy cover classes derived from the fractional cover mapping. Other datasets can also be ingested into DEA, including the National Scale Land Use of Australia.

Water Observations from Space (WOfS) A summary of the permanence of open water within water bodies, including reservoirs, rivers, lakes, and wetlands.

To view the data on National Map click here

National Intertidal Digital Elevation Model] (NIDEM) product is a continental-scale elevation dataset for Australia's exposed intertidal zone at 25 m spatial resolution, addressing a key gap between the availability of sub-tidal bathymetry and terrestrial elevation data. It provides data to support a new suite of use cases that require a more detailed understanding of the three-dimensional topography of the intertidal zone, such as hydrodynamic modelling, coastal risk management and ecological habitat mapping.

To view the data on National Map click here

Intertidal Extents Model (ITEM) product utilises 30 years of Earth observation data from the Landsat archive to map the extents and topography of Australia's intertidal mudflats, beaches and reefs; the area exposed between high and low tide. Providing valuable information on the structure of these environments that can contribute to coastal management, habitat mapping and modelling applications.

To view the data on National Map click here

Fractional Cover is a measurement that splits the landscape into three parts, or fractions; green (leaves, grass, and growing crops), brown (branches, dry grass or hay, and dead leaf litter), and bare ground (soil or rock). DEA uses Fractional Cover to characterise every 25 m square of Australia for any point in time from 1987 to today. This measurement can inform a broad range of natural resource management issues.

To view the data on National Map click here

Figure. Environmental variables available for Kakadu National Park through DEA. a) Annual water hydroperiod (WOfS; %), b) fractional cover (photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic vegetation and bare (%); PV, NPV and BS) and c) intertidal inundation (ITEM).


Gill, T., Johansen, K., Phinn, S., Trevithick, R., Scarth, P., Armston, J., 2017. A method for mapping Australian woody vegetation cover by linking continental-scale field data and long-term Landsat time series. Int. J. Remote Sens. 38, 679–705.

Lymburner, L., Bunting, P., Lucas, R., Scarth, P., Alama, I., Phillips, C., Ticehurst, C., Held, A., 2019. Mapping the multi-decadal mangrove dynamics of the Australian coastline. Remote Sens. Environ.

Mueller, N., Lewis, A., Roberts, D., Ring, S., Melrose, R., Sixsmith, J., Lymburner, L., McIntyre, A., Tan, P., Curnow, S., Ip, A., 2016. Water observations from space: Mapping surface water from 25 years of Landsat imagery across Australia. Remote Sens. Environ. 174, 41-352.

Sagar, S., Roberts, D., Bala, B., Lymburner, L., 2017. Extracting the intertidal extent and topography of the Australian coastline from a 28 year time series of Landsat observations. Remote Sens. Environ. 195, 153–169.