National Geospatial Technical Operations Center

NHDPlus High Resolution

The NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR) is a scalable geospatial hydrography framework built from the high resolution National Hydrography Dataset, nationally complete Watershed Boundary Dataset, and ⅓ arc-second 3D Elevation Program data. The NHDPlus HR brings modeling and assessment down to a local, neighborhood level, while nesting seamlessly into the national context.

National Hydrography Dataset Plus High Resolution Availability Map

National Hydrography Dataset Plus High Resolution Availability Map

The High Resolution National Hydrography Dataset Plus (NHDPlus HR) is a hydrography framework built from an integrated set of geospatial data layers, including the best available NHD, the 10-meter 3DEP DEM, and the WBD.

Availability Map

Watershed Boundary Dataset

Watershed Boundary Dataset

The Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) defines the areal extent of surface water drainage to a point, accounting for all land and surface areas.


3D Elevation Program (3DEP)

3D Elevation Program (3DEP)

The 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) initiative is being developed to respond to growing needs for high-quality topographic data and for a wide range of other three-dimensional representations of the Nation's natural and constructed features.

3D Elevation Program

NHDPlus HR is modeled after the highly successful NHDPlus Version 2. Like the NHDPlus version 2, the NHDPlus HR is comprised of a nationally seamless network of stream reaches, elevation-based catchment areas, flow surfaces, and value-added attributes that enhance stream network navigation, analysis, and data display. However, users will find that the NHDPlus HR, which increases the number of features nationally from about three million in the NHDPlus Version 2 to over 30 million, provides richer, more current content that also can be used at a variety of scales.

The NHDPlus HR framework extends the hydrologic network seamlessly across the terrain by including not only streams, but also associated catchment areas that drain to each stream segment. This association allows information about the landscape to be related to the stream network. Observational data on the stream network, such as water quality samples, streamgage measurements, or fish distribution, can also be linked to the framework. Together, the framework and linked data can support a limitless range and type of applications, for example:

  • Predicting the risk, timing, and magnitude of flood events
  • Estimating when and where an event such as a toxic spill will affect populations and ecosystems downstream
  • Enabling riparian property owners to better understand upstream invasive species threats

When completed, the NHDPlus HR will provide a common geospatial framework that is open and accessible for use by everyone, including government, citizens, and industry. It will be the geospatial framework supporting the Open Water Data Initiative, which seeks to integrate currently fragmented water information into a connected national water data infrastructure to underpin innovation, modeling, data sharing, and solution development. NHDPlus HR will not only provide far more detail than NHDPlus V2 in order to support local analysis and modeling, special attributes also allow the selection of more generalized stream networks for regional or national analysis, while retaining the spatial accuracy of the highest-resolution, nationally available datasets.

What are the components of NHDPlus HR?

The NHDPlus HR is built using:

  • The National Hydrography Dataset High Resolution data at 1:24,000 scale or better
  • The 1/3 arc-second (10 meter ground spacing) 3D Elevation Program data
  • The nationally complete Watershed Boundary Dataset

NHDPlus HR consists of vector and raster data layers. It includes a snapshot of the NHD and WBD at the time the NHDPlus HR was built, as well as the following components:

  • A set of value added attributes, in addition to the standard NHD attributes, that enhance stream network navigation, analysis and display
  • An elevation-based catchment area for each flowline in the stream network
  • Catchment characteristics, including mean annual precipitation, mean annual temperature, and mean annual runoff, and mean latitude
  • Cumulative drainage area characteristics
  • Mean annual flow (1971-2000) and velocity estimates for each flowline in the stream network
  • Flow direction, flow accumulation, elevation, and hydro-enforced elevation rasters
  • Headwater node areas
  • Flowline min/max elevations and slopes

poster of the NHDPlus Data Model v1.0 is available with details on dataset structure, feature classes, domains, and relationships.