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 system (RDBMS). These data are designed to be used in general mapping and in the analysis of surface water systems. Using basic NHD features like flow network, linked information, and other characteristics, it is possible to study causality (cause-and-effect) relationships, such as determining how a source of poor water quality upstream might affect a fish population downstream.

For more information, please visit the USGS Hydrography website.

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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 positional accuracy of the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD)?

Original hydrographic data were compiled to meet National Map Accuracy standards . These standards have been maintained in the process of creating the NHD. At 1:100,000 scale, ninety percent of well-defined features are within 167 feet (0.02 inches at map scale) of their true geographic position. When higher resolution data are created and...

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...

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...
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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: November 7, 2017

NHD and WBD Map Services Moving to the Cloud

As part of an ongoing effort to improve performance and reliability for the suite of USGS Hydrography web-based map services, the USGS is migrating the National Hydrography Dataset and Watershed Boundary Dataset services to a Cloud location.

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.

July 8, 2015

Using The National Map Web Services in ArcMap

Lesson 5: Using The National Map Web Services in ArcMap - This video provides an overview and demonstrates how to use The National Map's web services in a mapping application.

NHDPlus HR Hydrologic Regions Map
November 30, 2000


Graphic to illustrate the NHDPlus High Resolution Beta availability for Hydrologic Regions 1, 2, 6, 12, 14, 15 and 16 cover over a quarter of the area of the conterminous United States.