GSHHG - A Global Self-consistent, Hierarchical, High-resolution Geography Database
As of version 2.2.2, GSHHG is released under the GNU
Lesser General Public license.
The GSHHG is a high-resolution geography data set, amalgamated from two databases in the public domain:
World Vector Shorelines (WVS) and CIA World Data Bank II (WDBII). The former is the basis for shorelines
while the latter is the basis for lakes, although there are instances where differences in coastline
representations necessitated adding WDBII islands to GSHHG. The WDBII source also provides all political
borders and rivers. GSHHG data have undergone extensive processing and should be free of internal
inconsistencies such as erratic points and crossing segments. The shorelines are constructed entirely from
hierarchically arranged closed polygons.
GSHHG combines the older GSHHS shoreline database with WDBII rivers and borders, available for file download
in either ESRI shapefile format or in a native binary format. The GSHHG geography data come in five
different resolutions: crude(c), low(l), intermediate(i), high(h), and full(f). Shorelines are further
organized into 4 hierarchical levels: boundary between land and ocean (L1), boundary between lake and land
(L2), boundary between island-in-lake and lake (L3), and boundary between pond-in-island and island (L4).
The primary GSHHG web site (www.soest.hawaii.edu/pwessel/gshhg/)
contains additional information.
Availability of the GSHHG data
More information about GSHHG
- GSHHG is developed and maintained by
Dr. Paul Wessel, SOEST,
University of Hawai'i, Honolulu, HI.
Dr. Walter H. F. Smith, NOAA Laboratory for Satellite
Altimetry, National Oceanographic Data Center, Silver Spring, MD.
- Processing and assembly of the GSHHG data is described in:
Wessel, P., and W. H. F. Smith, A Global Self-consistent, Hierarchical, High-resolution Shoreline
Database, J. Geophys. Res., 101, #B4, pp. 8741-8743, 1996.
Please notify Dr. Paul Wessel and Dr. Walter H.F. Smith if any changes are made to the GSHHG data
set for commercial use.