Landsat NDWI (NIR/SWIR1)

Spatial Resolution
Data Source(s)
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Science Partner


The Landsat program provides the longest continuous record of satellite earth observations. Landsat spatial, spectral, and temporal resolutions allow for imagery to be processed at sufficient spatial and temporal detail that is optimal for field scale land surface monitoring, management, and research. Landsat data is available for Landsat 5, 7, 8, and composites of 4/5/7/8 using top of atmosphere or at surface reflectance data.

Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) (NIR/SWIR1) provides information on vegetation liquid water contents and water inundation. It typically ranges from -0.1 to 0.4 for green vegetation where larger values indicate higher water content. This index is useful for comparing water content among vegetation with similar scattering properties (Gao 1996).

NDWI (NIR/SWIR1) uses the normalized difference between the near infrared (NIR) and short wave infrared 1 (SWIR1) bands following (NIR-SWIR1)/(NIR+SWIR1). This method is sensitive to water changes in vegetation canopy and water inundated areas (Gao 1996).

Band Used:
Short Wave Infrared 1 (SWIR1): 1.55-1.75 μm
Near Infrared (NIR): 0.77-0.90 μm

Technical Information

Period of Record
Spatial Resolution
Temporal Resolution
8-16 days
Data Summaries
max, min, mean, median, anomalies, trend and statistical significance, spatial and temporal aggregations, time series
Data Source(s)
U.S. Geological Survey
Data Formats
raster (geotiff), raster tile (tile ID), time series (.csv, .xls, .json, .geojson)

Gao, B.C. 1996. NDWI – A normalized difference water index for remote sensing of vegetation liquid water from space. Remote Sensing of Environment, 58, 257–266.

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