Published June 1, 2020 | Version v1
Dataset Open

Global Subnational River Borders

  • 1. University of California, Los Angeles
  • 2. Brown University


This dataset presents Global Subnational River-Borders (GSRB), a first global geospatial dataset of subnational, as well as national, political borders set by large rivers. GSRB incorporates three previous vector datasets (GAUL, GRWL + +, and WDBII) to map and quantify the use of large rivers as political borders at local (Level 2), state (Level 1), and national (Level 0) scales.

When referencing this dataset, please use the full paper citation:

Sarah J. Popelka, Laurence C. Smith; Rivers as political borders: a new subnational geospatial dataset. Water Policy 1 June 2020; 22 (3): 293–312. doi:


Files (40.3 MB)

Name Size Download all
40.3 MB Preview Download

Additional details

Related works

Is documented by
Journal article: 10.2166/wp.2020.041 (DOI)


  • Allen G. H. & Pavelsky T. M., (2018). Global extent of rivers and streams. Science 361(6402), 585–588. doi:10.1126/science.aat0636.
  • Source of Administrative boundaries: The Global Administrative Unit Layers (GAUL) dataset (2015). Implemented by FAO Within the CountrySTAT and Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) Projects.
  • Wessel P. & Smith W. H. F., (1996). A global self-consistent, hierarchical, high-resolution shoreline database. Journal of Geophysical Research 101, 871–874.