How do I download hydrography data products?

Hydrography data can be downloaded by using The National Map Download Client or from ftp sites that contains Pre-staged data. For directions go to the Interactive Tutorials folder in the NHD User Guide located at the USGS Hydrography Web site.

Information on hydrography data available through The National Map download client can be found on the The National Map GIS Data Download website. Tutorial videos are also available for using The National Map download client.

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How should USGS National Hydrography datasets and services be cited?

The USGS does not require a specific format when citing our datasets, but a few suggestions and examples are below. Citation for Datasets Author: U.S. Geological Survey Release date: the first four numbers of <pubdate> from dataset metadata for the year of the release date. For example, if the <pubdate> is 20190426, the year 2019...

What sources were used to produce the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD)?

The NHD is a combination of USGS hydrologic digital line graph (DLG) files and EPA reach files, version 3.0 (RF3). Also used were: U.S. Forest Service Cartographic Feature Files (CFF) and USGS Tagged Vector Hydro (TVH) captured from 7.5-minute printed maps. Some states also contributed their own stream layer data to the compilation of the 1:24,000...

What is the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD)?

The NHD is a digital vector dataset used by Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to define the spatial locations of surface waters and is designed to provide comprehensive coverage of surface water data for the U.S. The NHD contains features such as lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, canals, dams, and stream gages, in a relational database model...

In what scale are the data in the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD)?

For the conterminous United States, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands, medium and high resolution NHD data are available at 1:100,000 and 1:24,000-scale, respectively. NHD data are available for Puerto Rico at 1:20,000-scale, and at 1:63,360-scale in Alaska. Users are encouraged to work with their state's principal steward to produce and submit data...

What are available download formats for hydrography data products?

Hydrography data are offered in Esri File Geodatabase 10.1 or Shapefile formats. NHD data is available as State extracts, 4-digit sub-regions, 8-digit sub-basins, or in a specified extent from The National Map Download Client . A national extent of medium and high resolution NHD in File Geodatabase format is also available at this site by browsing...
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Date published: October 23, 2019

USGS Digital Elevation Models (DEM) Switching to New Distribution Format

In support of ongoing efforts to provide efficient, cloud ready, open data formats, the U.S. Geological Survey National Geospatial Program is announcing plans to migrate its 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) Digital Elevation Models (DEM) to a new data delivery format called Cloud Optimized Geotiff (COG) during the first half of fiscal year 2020.

Date published: October 21, 2019

National Hydrography September 2019 Newsletter released

The USGS National Hydrography Dataset Newsletter, Vol. 18, No. 9, September 2019 has been released and posted for viewing.

Date published: February 7, 2019

USGS 3DEP Lidar Point Cloud Now Available as Amazon Public Dataset

The USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) is excited to announce the availability of a new way to access and process lidar point cloud data from the 3DEP repository.

Date published: July 27, 2017

Exploring the Nation's waterways through the National Hydrography Dataset Plus

Interested in finding a good river to float down this hot summer? Or a favorite fishing hole? Ever wonder where those blue lines mapping the rivers, streams and lakes on the US Topo and other maps come from?

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February 5, 2019

Lesson 15b: NHDPlus HR

This lesson will provide a brief overview of the National Hydrography Dataset, Watershed Boundary Dataset and 3D Elevation program. This lesson will also discuss NHDPlus and introduce NHDPlus high resolution and tell you how to get the data.

May 23, 2017

Hydrography Seminar Series - Session 9 (NHDPlus HR)

The USGS Hydrography Seminar Series shares success stories from users, provides information on the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD), NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR), and other related products, and provides a forum for users to learn more about hydrography-related topics. Seminar 9 is an overview of the NHDPlus HR.

Screenshot from NHD Seminar 6 Presentation showing 1:2,000,000 scale
January 21, 2016

NHD Region 6 1:2,000,000 - Seminar Series 6

Screenshot from NHD Seminar 6 Presentation

November 18, 2010

PubTalk 11/2010 — Silicon, Software, and Science

Monitoring the Earth's Landscape with Low-Cost High-Tech

by Rian Bogle, Remote Sensing Specialist


  • The USGS is one of the world's largest providers of remote sensing data, employing the best tools and techniques to expand our knowledge of the Earth.
  • Working with low-cost field and aerial imaging technologies,