NGP User Engagement Office

Water Resources Community of Use

The Water Resources Community of Use assists the National Geospatial Program in developing better, user-friendly data and tools for USGS hydrologists and Federal, State, and local water resource managers across the Nation.

The Water Resources Technical Committee helps USGS understand and prioritize enhancement requests submitted by users for National Geospatial Program geospatial data, products and services.

NHDPlus HR is a scalable geospatial hydrography framework built from the high resolution National Hydrography Dataset, nation-wide Watershed Boundary Dataset, and 3D Elevation Program elevation data.


Hydrography Requirements and Benefits Study (HRBS) - posted 5/31/2018

The Hydrography Requirements and Benefits Study (HRBS) was initiated to review and understand current and future user requirements and the associated benefits for improved hydro data. An online questionnaire was completed by over 500 USGS hydrography data users from local, state, federal, and tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, academia, and the private sector. The participants provided:

  1. details on one or more Mission Critical Activities (MCAs). MCAs are applications within an organization that require hydrography data. Each MCA was linked to a specific Business Use and current and future quantitative and qualitative benefits were requested. Basic hydrography data requirements tied to the MCA (data scale, update cycle) were collected.
  2. the importance of related geospatial data that complement the MCA, such as elevation, land cover, wetlands, geology, and many others. Participants were asked which hydrography characteristics were important such as data visualization, network analysis, or bathymetry.
  3. preferences for general hydrography data access and condition – to include data extents, data format, and error severity.

Click to learn more.  Hydrography Requirements and Benefits Study (HRBS) 


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been providing the Nation with water resources data, methods, and analytic techniques for over 100 years. Many of the analysis techniques used to analyze the data require geospatial information - watershed boundaries, hydrography, elevation, land cover. The Water Resources Community of Use assists the National Geospatial Program (NGP) in developing better, user-friendly data and tools for USGS hydrologists and Federal, State, and local water resource managers across the Nation.

The Water Resources Community of Users include:

  • Engineers and floodplain managers interested in identifying flood risk areas
  • Water resource managers handling water rights
  • Water resources field data collection staff
  • Agencies building or updating infrastructure including transportation
  • Watershed modelers
  • Fisheries managers and scientists
  • State natural resource and environmental protection agencies

Technical Committee

The Water Resources COU Technical Committee was formed in 2012. Its membership continues to evolve to reflect the needs of users of NGP geospatial products and services from the water resource community. The committee assists the COU coordinator in understanding and prioritizing enhancement requests submitted by users. The committee keeps up-to-speed about NGP services through monthly meetings which include presentations from USGS program staff about new and enhanced services.

Examples of Technical Committee Enhancements:

  • Reliability of The National Map Viewer services
  • Integration of the National Hydrography Dataset and 3D Elevation Program to produce logically consistent drainage channels
  • Replication of the National Hydrography Dataset to USGS Water Science Centers
  • Cartographic modifications to the tiled base map cache, particularly at large scales
  • User needs for elevation derivatives

Water Resources Community of Use Liaisons

The Water Resources Community of Use National Map Liaisons work with headquarters staff, members of the Water Resources COU Technical Committee and state and local partners to identify user needs as they relate to the data and services provided by the National Geospatial Program.


The National Map products and services are the basis for most water resources modeling activities, including SPARROW water-quality modeling of nutrients and StreamStats modeling of stream flow. The National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program makes extensive use of the Watershed Boundaries Dataset (WBD) and the National Land cover Dataset (NLCD). NOAA’s operational prediction service, the National Water Model is based on the NHDPlus. Finally, the Flood Inundation Mapping Initiative (FIMI) is heavily reliant on high quality elevation data to describe floodplain morphology and to delineate areas of inundation.


In addition to the Water Resources COU monthly meetings, USGS facilitates communications within the water resource community.  First, we encourage you to contact the water resource COU Liaison nearest you if you have questions.  They are briefed regularly on NGP products and services and specialize in the NHD, WBD and the new NHDPlus high resolution dataset. Other important means of communication include the NHD Newsletter and the Hydrographic Data Comunity (HDC).

NHD Newsletters

Login credentials are required for the HDC site.  The site is a robust collection of technical information about NHD tools and data.  Click to get Credentials Click to Join


Water resource applications demand good geospatial data and decision-making based on these applications will continue to improve with more accurate data.   Users within the states and federal lands understand the hydrography around them and are motivated to ensure the accuracy of the NHD to meet their business needs; therefore, they are ideally suited to become the stewards of the data. The NHD is a big dataset and on-the-ground knowledge and local capacity are needed to maintain the network.   The NGP primary role in the stewardship process is to facilitate the overall process, providing national management, coordination, tools, standards, documentation, training, quality assurance, data archival, and data distribution.


The HDC provides technical information about the tools USGS developed and maintains for local stewardship activities.


Steve Aichele

Water Resources Community of Use Coordinator
National Geospatial Program
Phone: 717-730-6949

Roger Barlow

National Map Liaison DC, DE, MD, NJ
National Geospatial Program
Phone: 703-648-5189

David Nail

National Map Liaison IN, IL, KY, MO
National Geospatial Program
Phone: 573-308-3638

Daniel H Walters

National Map Liaison MA, ME, RI, NH, CT, VT
National Geospatial Program
Phone: 207-626-6628

George Heleine

National Map Liaison MS, AL, GA, TN
National Geospatial Program
Phone: 601-933-2950

Drew Decker

National Map Liaison AZ, HI, Southern CA, Pacific Basin
National Geospatial Program
Phone: 619-225-6430

Pete Steeves

Physical Scientist - GIS
New England Water Science Center/National Geospatial Program
Phone: 508-490-5054

Silvia Terziotti

Associate National Map Liaison for North Carolina and South Carolina, GIS Specialist SAWSC
South Atlantic Water Science Center
Phone: 919-570-4090

Douglas Freehafer

Computer Specialist/Associate National Map Liaison NY
New York Water Science Center/National Geospatial Program
Phone: 518-285-5620

Eliza L Gross

GIS Specialist/Associate National Map Liaison for Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Water Science Center
Phone: 717-730-6973