Roland J Viger


Roland Viger holds degrees in geography from the University of Toronto and the University of Colorado-Boulder (PhD). After contracting with the USGS Branch of Petroleum Geology as a GIS analyst for the National Hydrocarbon Assessment in 1992, he joined the Water Resources National Research Program in Denver as the GIS lead on the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System project (subsequently the Modeling of Watershed Systems project). As a Research Geographer, interests include integrated simulation modeling, spatial analyses for the delineation and characterization of landscape features for modeling, and geoinformatics. In addition to improving the use of geographic information in modeling, he is interested in the development of national and continental hydrologic modeling systems. His methods, data, and software (examples include the GIS Weasel software and the Geospatial Fabric for the National Hydrologic Modeling Framework) and training materials for geographic analysis in hydrologic simulation modeling have been used throughout the U.S., as well as internationally. He provides consultation within and outside the USGS and has represented USGS interests to other organizations. He has been a member of the Open Water Data Initiative (OWDI), the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), the USGS Core Science Systems Strategic Science Planning Team, various steering committes for the National Hydrography Dataset, and the future of hydrologic modeling in the USGS.

 Roland is active in the USGS Community for Data Integration (CDI), and the American Water Resources Association.  



  • Ph.D. Geography (Geographic Information Science), University of Colorado-Boulder; August 2011

  • M.A. Geography (Geographic Information Science), University of Colorado-Boulder; March 2004

  • B.S. Geography, University of Toronto; March 1992



  • 2017 - Present:     Chief, Branch of Geo-Intelligence, Water Resources Mission Area, U.S. Geological Survey

  • 2011– Present:      Research Geographer, Modeling of Watershed Systems (MoWS), National Research Program, Water Mission Area, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO

  • Jun. 2007 – 2011:      Geographer, Modeling of Watershed Systems (MoWS), National Research Program, Water Mission Area, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO

  • Jun. 1995 – Jun. 2007:   Physical Scientist, Precipitation-Runoff Modeling Systems, National Research Program, Water Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO

  • Oct. 1994 – Apr. 1995:    Physical Science Technician, Branch of Petroleum Geology, Geologic Division, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO


  • Department of Interior Open-Source GIS committee

  • Advisory Council on Water Information - Subcommittee on Spatial Water Data: Open Water Data Initiative and the Internet of Water

  • Strategic Science Planning Team for Core Science Systems 

  • Coordinator/Leader for USGS Community for Data Integration



Viger, Roland J. and Bock, Andrew, 2014, GIS Features of the Geospatial Fabric for National Hydrologic Modeling, US Geological Survey.

Romme, W., Floyd-Hanna, L., Chew, J., Leavesley, G., San Miguel, G., Turner, C., Miller, M., Cobb, N., Viger, R.J., Ironside, K., and Zirbes, R., 2006, Potential Influence of Cheatgrass Invasion on the Fire Regime in Mesa Verde National Park— Addendum to the Park's Draft Fire Management Plan: U.S. Forest Service, 11 p.

Viger, R.J., 2004, GEOLEM: Improving the Integration of Geographic Information in Environmental Modeling Through Semantic Interoperability: Boulder, University of Colorado, Master's, 135 p.

Leavesley, G.H., Hay, L.E., Viger, R.J., and Markstrom, S.L., 2003, Use of a Priori Parameter-Estimation Methods to Constrain Calibration of Distributed-Parameter Models, in Duan, Q., Sorooshian, S., Rousseau, A., and Turcotte, R., eds., Calibration of watershed models: Washington, D.C., American Geophysical Union, p. vi, 345.

Barrett, A.P., Leavesley, G.H., Viger, R.L., Nolin, A.W., and Clark, M.P., 2000, A comparison of satellite-derived and modelled snow-covered area for a mountain drainage basin: Remote Sensing and Hydrology, no. 267, p. 569–573.

Costa, J.E., Bales, J.D., Holtschlag, D.J., Lanfear, K., Lipscomb, S., Milly, P.C.D., Viger, R., Wolock, D.M., and Holland, L., 2000, An initiative for a U. S. Geological Survey national streamflow information program, Special Publication - University of Colorado, Boulder. Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, vol. 37, p. 263–267.

Leavesley, G.H., Markstrom, S.L., Brewer, M.S., and Viger, R.J., 1996, The Modular Modeling System (MMS) - The physical process modeling component of a database-centered decision support system for water and power management: Water Air and Soil Pollution, v. 90, no. 1–2, p. 303–311.

Leavesley, G., Markstrom, S.L., and Viger, R.J., 1995, USGS Modular Modeling System (MMS) - Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS),in Singh, V.P., and Frevert, D., eds., Computer models of watershed hydrology: (Rev. ed.) Boca Raton, FL, Taylor & Francis Group, p. xiv, 1130.