Information on extreme precipitation is essential to managing weather-related risks and designing hydraulic structures. Research attention to frequency analyses based on remotely sensed precipitation datasets, such as those obtained from weather radars and satellites, has been rapidly increasing owing to their potential to provide information for ungauged regions worldwide. Together with the ability to measure the areal scale directly, these analyses promise to overcome the sampling limitations of traditional methods based on rain gauges. This focused review of the literature depicts the state of the art after a decade of efforts, and identifies the crucial gaps in knowledge and methodology that currently hinder the quantitative use of remotely sensed datasets in water resources system design and operation. It concludes by highlighting a set of research directions promising immediate impact with regard to the separation of the sources of uncertainty currently affecting applications based on remotely sensed datasets, the development of statistical methods that can cope with the peculiar characteristics of these datasets, and the improvement of validation methods. Important gains in knowledge are expected from the explicit inclusion of the areal dimension in the analyses and from the fine-scale investigation of extreme precipitation climatology.