National Hydrography

Access National Hydrography Products

The NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR), National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), and Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) are available for download and as web-based map services.

The National Map Downloader

The National Map Downloader

The National Map Download viewer provides an online mapping tool for downloading the NHDPlus HR, NHD and WBD as a shapefile or file geodatabase by Hydrologic Unit (HU), including 4-digit (HU4) or 8-digit (HU8), by state, or nationally.

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The National Map Web-based Map Services List

The National Map Web-based Map Services List

National Map publishes 44 services including: Base Maps (Cached), Availability/Index Overlays (US Topo, 3DEP), Theme Overlays (NHD, Names, Elevation, Transportation), Small-scale, Natural Hazards, Web Feature Services (WFS), WCS Services and more.

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Dataset Refresh Overview

USGS Hydrography datasets available for download are reposted on varying schedules.

  • NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR) datasets
    • Beta version currently in production
    • First updates will take place as Beta QC is completed
    • Regular update schedule to be determined
       
  • NHD datasets
    • 4-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU4) - monthly
    • 8-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU8) - monthly
    • State - bimonthly
    • National - monthly
       
  • WBD datasets
    • 2-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU2) - dataset generated only when edits are performed
    • Entire Nation - monthly
       

Download Datasets by Map - The National Map Download Viewer

The National Map Download viewer provides an online mapping tool for downloading the NHDPlus HR, NHD and WBD as a shapefile or file geodatabase by Hydrologic Unit (HU), including 4-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU4) or 8-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU8), by state, or nationally. A Download Manager application also is available for conveniently managing downloads of multiple datasets.

 

Download Datasets by Direct Link

NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR) Direct Download Links

All NHDPlus HR downloads contain a copy of the NHD and WBD datasets used to produce it, plus additional data such as elevation-based catchments for each stream segment, Value-Added Attributes (VAAs) that aid in dataset analysis, display, and navigation, and raster data produced during dataset production.

The NHDPlus HR data includes a vector and raster component for each geographic area produced. NHDPlus HR Beta vector data is available in file geodatabase (GDB) format, zipped (.zip) to reduce the file size. NHDPlus HR raster data files are available for download as zipped (.7z) files.

 

National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) Direct Download Links

All NHD downloads contain a copy of the corresponding WBD dataset that is current only to the date the NHD dataset was created. The NHD can be directly downloaded in shapefile or file geodatabase (GDB) format by Hydrologic Unit (HU), state, or the entire nation. Also, an extract containing only streamgages and dams is available.

 

Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) Direct Download Links

The WBD can be directly downloaded in shapefile or file geodatabase format by 2-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU2) or as a file geodatabase for the entire nation.

 

Web-based Map Services

Hydrography web-based map services are available from The National Map Service Endpoints page as cached and dynamic services.

  • Hydrography - Cached (Tiled)
    • Service Name: USGSHydroCached
    • Category: Base Maps and/or Overlay
    • Type: Raster Tile Cache
    • Data: NHD
    • Scale: Down to 9K (Level 17 in Google map tiles)
    • Update Frequency: Updated Annually
       
  • National Hydrography Dataset (NHD)
    • Service Name: NHD
    • Category: Theme Overlays
    • Type: Dynamic
    • Data: NHD
    • Scale: 1:288K and larger
    • Update Frequency: Updated Quarterly
       
  • NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR)
    • Service Name: NHDPlus_HR
    • Category: Theme Overlays
    • Type: Dynamic
    • Data: NHDPlus HR
    • Scale 1:250K and larger
    • Update Frequency: With publication of NHDPlus HR staged products
       
  • Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD)
    • Service Name: WBD
    • Category: Theme Overlays
    • Type: Dynamic
    • Data: WBD
    • Scale: 1:18M and larger
    • Update Frequency: Updated Quarterly

Which service should I use?

  • Hydrography - Cached (Tiled) (USGSHydroCached): This nationwide cached overlay uses a variety of hydrography layers and depicts them in standard USGS Topographic Map symbology. It is updated and re-cached once yearly. It is useful for adding hydrography over other map layers down to 1:9,000 scale. It draws more quickly and is more reliable than the dynamic layers, but is updated less frequently and does not provide access to attributes nor the ability to change the style in other applications. This service is also available as a WMTS.
     
  • National Hydrography Dataset (NHD): This nationwide dynamic service displays the NHD High Resolution at scales from 1:288K and below. NHD symbology is used and it includes all symbols, for example, flow direction and connectors are shown at large scales. It draws more slowly than the tile cached service, but the data is updated quarterly and it supports access to attributes and dynamic styling (the ability to change the style representation in ESRI clients). This service is also available as a OGC Web Map Service (WMS).
     
  • NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus_HR): This nationwide dynamic service includes the NHDPlus HR vector data and selection of NHPlus HR Value Added Attributes (VAAs) at scales from 1:250K and more detailed. The data is updated with each release of NHDPlus HR staged products and represents the most up-to-date version of NHDPlus HR. This service is also available as an OGC Web Map Service (WMS). Due to the density of the data and the scale dependencies in place on this service, it can be challenging to display and explore NHDPlus_HR at useful scales. It can be helpful to use this service in conjunction with one of the other hydrography services, such as the Hydrography – Cached (above). Explore the data and find desired features in the Hydrography – Cached service and then return to NHDPlus_HR service to visualize and identify NHDPlus HR data.
     
  • Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD): This nationwide dynamic service displays the WBD at scales from 1:18M and below. It provides ability to either show all WBD levels at all scale ranges or the most appropriate HUC level at a given scale (default setting). The data is updated quarterly and it supports access to attributes and dynamic styling (the ability to change the style representation in ESRI clients). This map service is also available as a OGC Web Map Service (WMS) and a Web Feature Service (WFS).

Contacts

National Hydrography Support

Support for NHD, WBD, & NHDPlus HR
National Geospatial Program (NGP)