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March 22, 2016

Explore America's streams and rivers from your computer or mobile device.


In recognition of World Water Day and in conjunction with the White House Water Summit, the U.S. Geological Survey is raising awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States.


Streamer is the online mapping application that lets anyone explore downstream and upstream along America’s rivers and streams. Since Streamer was first released in 2013, it has been used extensively by scientists, water managers, students, and citizens to follow the paths of rivers up to their headwaters and down to the sea, to view location-related information such as weather radar and near real-time streamflow data, and to discover hydrologic connections between distant places.

With Streamer you can:

  • trace upstream and downstream
  • select an area of interest by specifying stream or place names or by entering geographic coordinates,
  • find out the names of streams and waterbodies by clicking on them,
  • print user-specific maps or reports of your downstream and upstream traces,
  • learn about present or historical streamflow at thousands of locations, and
  • find out about much more about the places your stream trace passes through.
Image: Key Bridge
A view of the Francis Scott Key Bridge that connects Rosslyn, VA, with Georgetown, Washington, DC. In the background can be seen the spires of Georgetown University.Public domain
Screenshot from the mobile view of Streamer
With a few clicks, the Streamer mobile app shows all the tributaries of the Potomac River.

Recent Streamer Enhancements

Streamer is on the move with major updates. Some of its newest features include:

A new web address
Streamer has moved from its former location at The National Map to become a feature of USGS Water Data for the Nation. The new url is:

A mobile friendly version
The mobile friendly version takes most of the features from the desktop version and packages them into an intuitive, easy-to-use format on a smartphone or tablet. Users can zoom to their current location and, with a few more taps on the screen:

  • trace upstream or downstream,
  • view reports about the stream trace and the places it passes through,
  • change base maps,
  • link to stream gage data for gages on the traced streams, and
  • search for additional places.

New features for developers
Streamer now has features that allow developers to create their own customized mapping applications with trace functionality and hydrographic map services.

The Streamer Trace API is now available as a programming interface written in JavaScript and designed to add upstream and downstream traces to anESRI-based web map. The site includes extensive documentation, as well as tutorials and samples that can be used to build a custom stream tracing application similar to Streamer.

Four Streamer map services are now available along with tutorials that show how to build a web page containing a map with Streamer map service layers. New map services for Streamer are designed to emphasize hydrographic features while improved map symbols have been incorporated to make it easier to distinguish major streams and cities.

For more information, visit the Streamer website.

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