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Global Channel Belt (GCB)

The Global Channel Belt (GCB) datasets describes the global extent of river channel belts. A two-tier single-threaded (e.g., meandering) versus multi-threaded (e.g., braided) classification is provided showing the likely morphology of the associated active river channel. In addition, the GCB model provides a new global classification of riverine and lacustrine environments based on the mapped extent of the river channel belts.

To read more about the dataset check out the Nature Communications article here. The datasets are also publically available on the Zenodo data repository here.


Nyberg, B., Henstra, G., Gawthorpe, R.L. et al. Global scale analysis on the extent of river channel belts. Nat Commun 14, 2163 (2023).

GCB Datasets

  • Band 'Meandering' - % confidence that a pixel is single-threaded (0 to 100%)
  • Band 'Braided' - % confidence that a pixel is multi-threaded (0 to 100%)

The combined value of the 'Meandering' and 'Braided' bands yield the confidence of the channel belt extent. The remaining percentage out of a total 100, is the confidence that a pixel is classified as background (or non riverine).

Environments Dataset

  • Code 1 - Background Value
  • Code 2 - Channel Belt
  • Code 3 - 36-year river migration
  • Code 4 - Active River Channel in 2020
  • Code 5 - Wetland/Lacustrine extent in 2020
  • Code 6 - Smaller Rivers / Channel Belt Lakes extent in 2020


Earth Engine Snippet

var gcb = ee.Image('projects/sat-io/open-datasets/GCB/GRMM'); // Global Channel Belt Prediction 0 to 100% confidence
var env = ee.Image('projects/sat-io/open-datasets/GCB/Env'); // Global Depositional Environment Classifications

Sample Code:

For use as a basemap in QGIS or another GIS software use the following XYZ layer links.{z}/{x}/{y}               #GCB Map{z}/{x}/{y}         #Environments Map


This dataset is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Curated by: Björn Nyberg

Curated in GEE by: Björn Nyberg and Samapriya Roy

Keywords: Rivers, Hydrology, Morphology, Landforms, Ecosystems

Last updated: June 8, 2022