Remote Sensing Tools

Freely available Remote Sending (RS) tools to help you gather satellite information to fill gaps in your databases.

Latin American Flood and Drought Monitor (LAFDM) - Princeton University.
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The interactive interface makes it easy to animate spatial data, allowing visualization of variables such as precipitation, maximum and minimum temperature, percent soil moisture, evaporation, surface runoff, streamflow, and drought indices. The tool contains both historical data and forecast capabilities, on daily and monthly timescales, depending on the variable. 

In addition to the ability to animate data, the tool allows for visualization of point data—“time series data plots that can be viewed for individual grid cells”—and gives the user the ability to download spatial data in different formats. There is a user-friendly tutorial, walking through the tool and explaining how to use it, step-by-step.

Earth Engine Evapotranspiration Flux (EEFLUX) - Google/University of Nebraska/ University of Idaho. Visit Website



The EEFLUX platform lets you search for satellite images to gather evapotranspiration (ET) data from all over the world (ET features at 30 m resolution).

Data Resources Used by EEFLUX:

•Landsat 5/7/8 and MODIS
•Weather Data: Hourly Weather Data (NLDAS)‐‐CONUS; Daily Weather Data (GRIDMET)‐‐CONUS; Climate Forecast System Version 2, 6hourly Products (CSFV2)‐‐nonCONUS
•Landuse and Digital Elevation Maps
•Soil Data Layers (STATSGO‐‐CONUS and  FAO)

Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) - CGIAR/ NASA. Visit Website



The NASA Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) has provided digital elevation data (DEMs) for over 80% of the globe. This data is currently distributed free of charge by USGS and is available for download from the National Map Seamless Data Distribution System, or the USGS ftp site. The SRTM data is available as 3 arc second (approx. 90m resolution) DEMs. A 1 arc second data product was also produced, but is not available for all countries. The vertical error of the DEM’s is reported to be less than 16m. The data currently being distributed by NASA/USGS (finished product) contains “no-data” holes where water or heavy shadow prevented the quantification of elevation. These are generally small holes, which nevertheless render the data less useful, especially in fields of hydrological modeling.

Global Flood Monitoring System (GFMS) - NASA/ University of Maryland.
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The GFMS is a NASA-funded experimental system using real-time TRMM Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (TMPA) precipitation information as input to a quasi-global (50°N - 50°S) hydrological runoff and routing model running on a 1/8th degree latitude/longitude grid. Flood detection/intensity estimates are based on 13 years of retrospective model runs with TMPA input, with flood thresholds derived for each grid location using surface water storage statistics (95th percentile plus parameters related to basin hydrologic characteristics). Streamflow,surface water storage,inundation variables are also calculated at 1km resolution.In addition, the latest maps of instantaneous precipitation and totals from the last day, three days and seven days are displayed.

Useful for obtaining historic flow data and precipitation.