National Hydrography Dataset

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Flag of United States Part of United States mapping project.

The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) is a United States-wide w:en:hydrography dataset produced by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). This dataset includes natural water features: coastline, ponds, rivers, streams, springs, waterfalls, bays, reefs, wetlands, etc. and man-made features, like wells, dams, pipelines, canals, reservoirs, and stream gauges. As a product of the US Government, the dataset is in the public domain. Due to this and the general high quality of the data, some regard it as suitable for import into OpenStreetMap, and some of those people have proceeded with importing. This page details the process, progress, and mapping as the dataset is imported. Please note that the quality of the data, therefore its suitability for importing, varies by location. In some areas, it is captured from recent satellite imagery and is up-to-date, while in other areas, features have been digitized from historic USGS quads, and are likely inaccurate. It is necessary to familiarize yourself with the NHD and its attributes before proceeding with the import process. Please read through this wiki before starting.

A previous method of importing NHD was to use a script that automatically uploaded the data to OSM. This method was stopped in 2012 due to the varying quality of the data.

A description of the dataset can be found here on the NHD website.

Getting the data

Video showing how to download NHD data

The data can be obtained from the USGS National Map download viewer, located here. Under All Subcategories, select National Hydrography Dataset (NHD). Under Data Extent, select HU-8 Subbasin. Find the layer selection in the top right, and under Selectable Polygons, select 8-digit HU (Subbasin). Select your subbasin, click Find Products, and click download in the Shapefile format.

Next steps

There are five shapefiles that contain data useful for OSM. These are: NHDFlowline, NHDWaterbody, NHDLine, NHDPoint, and NHDArea. Flowline contains linear water features and coastlines. Waterbody and Area contain waterbodies and wetlands. Line contains miscellaneous features, most of which are unclosed ways way. Point has features like springs, wells, water tanks, and gauging stations. To keep things simple, you can work with only one at a time if necessary.

In JOSM

Using the opendata plugin, load the files into the editor. Because the quality varies, verify that the data matches recent satellite imagery and isn't traced from USGS maps. A more recent "FDate" is a good sign of quality data. Do not import if there are widespread inaccuracies! A good thing to do right away is to delete features with FCodes marked as unsuitable for OSM in the table below; this avoids unnecessary clutter. Also, using the search tool, select features with the key GNIS_Name and replace GNIS_Name with name=*.

Once you've loaded the data, it's recommended to use the Overpass API to download all of the water features that already exist in the area (coastline, waterway, natural=water, etc) in order to conflate the data. If the NHD is clearly better than existing data, carefully remove the existing water feature, making sure to download along the feature to avoid creating conflicts. Also make sure you replace relations that use the waterways like boundaries. This is a tedious process, and for good reason: we are building an accurate and usable map of the world, not one that only looks pretty and complete.

Past mistakes and NHD fixup

NHD used to be imported using a script that automatically uploaded a subbasin to OSM without any kind of quality assurance checks. There are many mistakes seen in these imported areas.

  • Useless tags like NHD:FCode, NHD:ReachCode, etc. These provide no valuable information to the end user. These kinds of tags were common to leave in during old imports. However they make it easy to mechanically add intermittent=yes to streams with FCodes 46003 and 46007 on which the tag was left out for some reason.
  • Tag mistakes.
  • Inaccurate shapes, especially with water areas.
  • Duplicated nodes

Attributes-to-OSM-tags

The National Hydrography Dataset uses a system of feature codes to classify features, known as FCodes. The table below shows the best match of FCodes to OSM tags. This is the best fit for most NHD features. If something seems wrong, feel free to diverge from this guide: use your best judgement. Features marked with an Red x.svg are not suitable for OSM. It's always best to use your judgement if you see features that look suspicious or out of place.

FCODE Feature Type OSM Tag Description Comments
30700 AREA TO BE SUBMERGED Red x.svg  Area
31200 BAY/INLET natural=bay Area
31800 BRIDGE NHDLine: waterway=* with bridge=aqueduct. NHDArea: natural=water water=* Area
33400 CONNECTOR This varies depending on the waterway=*s it connects. feature type only: no attributes
33600 CANAL/DITCH Most are waterway=ditch, some need to be hand-edited to waterway=canal. feature type only: no attributes
33601 CANAL/DITCH waterway=canal bridge=aqueduct Canal/Ditch Type|aqueduct
33603 CANAL/DITCH waterway=drain Canal/Ditch Type|stormwater
34300 DAM/WEIR waterway=dam feature type only: no attributes
34305 DAM/WEIR waterway=dam Construction Material|earthen
34306 DAM/WEIR waterway=dam Construction Material|nonearthen
36100 PLAYA ? feature type only: no attributes
36200 FLUME waterway=canal usage=transmission feature type only: no attributes
36400 FORESHORE Red x.svg  feature type only: no attributes
36700 GAGING STATION man_made=monitoring_station monitoring:water_level=yes operator=United States Geological Survey feature type only: no attributes
36900 GATE waterway=lock_gate?? feature type only: no attributes
37300 HAZARD ZONE Red x.svg  feature type only: no attributes
37800 ICE MASS natural=glacier feature type only: no attributes
39000 LAKE/POND natural=water feature type only: no attributes
39001 LAKE/POND natural=water intermittent=yes Hydrographic Category|intermittent
39004 LAKE/POND natural=water Hydrographic Category|perennial
39005 LAKE/POND natural=water Hydrographic Category|perennial; stage|high water elevation
39006 LAKE/POND natural=water Hydrographic Category|perennial; stage|date of photography
39009 LAKE/POND natural=water Hydrographic Category|perennial; stage|average water elevation
39010 LAKE/POND natural=water intermittent=yes Hydrographic Category|perennial; stage|normal pool
39011 LAKE/POND natural=water Hydrographic Category|perennial; stage|date of photography
39012 LAKE/POND natural=water Hydrographic Category|perennial; stage|spillway
39800 LOCK CHAMBER lock=yes feature type only: no attributes
40300 INUNDATION AREA landuse=basin? feature type only: no attributes
40307 INUNDATION AREA natural=wetland intermittent=yes? Inundation Control Status|not controlled
40308 INUNDATION AREA natural=wetland intermittent=yes? Inundation Control Status|controlled
40309 INUNDATION AREA natural=wetland intermittent=yes? Inundation Control Status|controlled, stage|flood elevation
41100 NONEARTHERN SHORE Red x.svg  feature type only: no attributes
42000 UNDERGROUND CONDUIT man_made=pipeline waterway=pressurised location=underground feature type only: no attributes
42001 UNDERGROUND CONDUIT Red x.svg  Positional Accuracy|definite
42002 UNDERGROUND CONDUIT Red x.svg  Positional Accuracy|indefinite
42003 UNDERGROUND CONDUIT Red x.svg  Positional Accuracy|approximate
42800 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline feature type only: no attributes
42801 PIPELINE waterway=canal usage=transmission Product|water; Pipeline Type|aqueduct; Relationship to Surface|at or near Although the feature type is "pipeline," the USGS defines Pipeline Type Aqueduct as what is essentially a canal. But a pipeline tag may make more sense, so use that if it fits better.
42802 PIPELINE waterway=canal usage=transmission bridge=aqueduct Product|water; Pipeline Type|aqueduct; Relationship to Surface|elevated
42803 PIPELINE waterway=canal usage=transmission tunnel=yes Product|water; Pipeline Type|aqueduct; Relationship to Surface|underground
42804 PIPELINE waterway=canal usage=transmission location=underwater tunnel=yes Product|water; Pipeline Type|aqueduct; Relationship to Surface|underwater
42805 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline substance=water location=overground Product|water; Pipeline Type|general case; Relationship to Surface|at or near
42806 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline substance=water location=overhead Product|water; Pipeline Type|general case; Relationship to Surface|elevated
42807 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline substance=water location=underground Product|water; Pipeline Type|general case; Relationship to Surface|underground
42808 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline substance=water location=underwater Product|water; Pipeline Type|general case; Relationship to Surface|underwater
42809 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline waterway=pressurised substance=water location=overground usage=penstock Product|water; Pipeline Type|penstock; Relationship to Surface|at or near
42810 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline waterway=pressurised substance=water location=overhead usage=penstock Product|water; Pipeline Type|penstock; Relationship to Surface|elevated
42811 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline waterway=pressurised substance=water location=underground usage=penstock Product|water; Pipeline Type|penstock; Relationship to Surface|underground
42812 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline waterway=pressurised substance=water location=underwater usage=penstock Product|water; Pipeline Type|penstock; Relationship to Surface|underwater
42813 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline + location=underground/overground orwaterway=canal tunnel=yes, verify with aerial imagery. Product|water; Pipeline Type|siphon
42814 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline substance=water Product|water; Pipeline Type|general case
42815 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline substance=water usage=penstock Product|water; Pipeline Type|penstock
42816 PIPELINE waterway=canal substance=water usage=transmission Product|water; Pipeline Type|aqueduct
42820 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline substance=water Product|water; Pipeline Type|stormwater
42821 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline substance=water location=overground Product|water; Pipeline Type|stormwater; Relationship to Surface|at or near
42822 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline substance=water location=overhead Product|water; Pipeline Type|stormwater; Relationship to Surface|elevated
42823 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline substance=water location=underground Product|water; Pipeline Type|stormwater; Relationship to Surface|underground
42824 PIPELINE man_made=pipeline substance=water location=underwater Product|water; Pipeline Type|stormwater; Relationship to Surface|underwater
43100 RAPIDS Red x.svg  feature type only: no attributes
43400 REEF natural=reef feature type only: no attributes Some of these are unclosed ways. Make sure to close them.
43600 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir feature type only: no attributes
43601 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir landuse=aquaculture Reservoir Type|aquaculture
43603 RESERVOIR natural=water Reservoir Type|decorative pool
43604 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir reservoir_type=tailings Reservoir Type|tailings pond; Construction Material|earthen
43605 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir reservoir_type=tailings Reservoir Type|tailings pond
43606 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir reservoir_type=disposal Reservoir Type|disposal
43607 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir reservoir_type=evaporator Reservoir Type|evaporator
43608 RESERVOIR leisure=swimming_pool Reservoir Type|swimming pool
43609 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir Reservoir Type|treatment-cooling pond
43610 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir Reservoir Type|treatment-filtration pond
43611 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir Reservoir Type|treatment-settling pond
43612 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir Reservoir Type|treatment-sewage treatment pond
43613 RESERVOIR NHDPoint: man_made=reservoir_covered NHDWaterbody: natural=water water=reservoir Reservoir Type|water storage; Construction Material|nonearthen
43614 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir intermittent=yes Reservoir Type|water storage; Construction Material|earthen; Hydrographic Category|intermittent
43615 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir Reservoir Type|water storage; Construction Material|earthen; Hydrographic Category|perennial
43617 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir? Reservoir Type|water storage
43618 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir Reservoir Type|unspecified; Construction Material|earthen
43619 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir Reservoir Type|unspecified; Construction Material|nonearthen
43621 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir Reservoir Type|water storage; Hydro Cat|perennial
43623 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir reservoir_type=evaporator Reservoir Type|evaporator; construction material|earthen
43624 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir reservoir_type=sewage Reservoir Type|treatment
43625 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir reservoir_type=disposal Reservoir Type|disposal; construction material|earthen
43626 RESERVOIR natural=water water=reservoir reservoir_type=disposal Reservoir Type|disposal; construction material|non-earthen
44100 ROCK natural=rock seamark:type=rock feature type only: no attributes
44101 ROCK natural=rock seamark:type=rock seamark:rock:water_level=awash Relationship to Surface|abovewater
44102 ROCK natural=rock seamark:type=rock seamark:rock:water_level=submerged Relationship to Surface|underwater
44500 SEA/OCEAN Red x.svg  feature type only: no attributes
45000 SINK/RISE natural=sinkhole sinkhole=ponor | optional: karst=yes feature type only: no attributes
45400 SPECIAL USE ZONE Red x.svg  feature type only: no attributes
45401 SPECIAL USE ZONE Red x.svg  Special Use Zone Type|dump site; Operational Status|operational
45402 SPECIAL USE ZONE Red x.svg  Special Use Zone Type|dump site; Operational Status|abandoned
45403 SPECIAL USE ZONE Red x.svg  Special Use Zone Type|spoil area; Operational Status|operational
45404 SPECIAL USE ZONE Red x.svg  Special Use Zone Type|spoil area; Operational Status|abandoned
45500 SPILLWAY natural=water water=canal usage=spillway feature type only: no attributes
45800 SPRING/SEEP natural=spring feature type only: no attributes
46000 STREAM/RIVER waterway=stream feature type only: no attributes
46003 STREAM/RIVER waterway=stream intermittent=yes Hydrographic Category|intermittent
46006 STREAM/RIVER waterway=stream Hydrographic Category|perennial
46007 STREAM/RIVER waterway=stream intermittent=yes Hydrographic Category|ephemeral
46100 SUBMERGED STREAM Red x.svg  feature type only: no attributes
46600 SWAMP/MARSH natural=wetland feature type only: no attributes
46601 SWAMP/MARSH natural=wetland intermittent=yes Hydrological category|intermittent
46602 SWAMP/MARSH natural=wetland Hydrological category|perennial
47800 TUNNEL Either man_made=pipeline + location=underground or waterway=canal/ditch + tunnel=yes. feature type only: no attributes
48300 WALL barrier=wall feature type only: no attributes
48400 WASH natural=sand, or natural=water intermittent=yes. feature type only: no attributes Washes only contain water very rarely, so does natural=water intermittent=yes make sense?
48500 WATER INTAKE/OUTFLOW Red x.svg  feature type only: no attributes
48700 WATERFALL waterway=waterfall feature type only: no attributes
48800 WELL man_made=water_well feature type only: no attributes
49300 ESTUARY Red x.svg  feature type only: no attributes
50300 SOUNDING DATUM LINE Red x.svg  feature type only: no attributes
50301 SOUNDING DATUM LINE Red x.svg  Positional Accuracy|approximate
50302 SOUNDING DATUM LINE Red x.svg  Positional Accuracy|definite
53300 SPECIAL USE ZONE LIMIT Red x.svg  feature type only: no attributes
53301 SPECIAL USE ZONE LIMIT Red x.svg  Positional Accuracy|definite
53302 SPECIAL USE ZONE LIMIT Red x.svg  Positional Accuracy|indefinite
53700 AREA OF COMPLEX CHANNELS natural=water? feature type only: no attributes An area of complex channels is described by the USGS as a river area where there is a constantly-changing network of channels. Does it make sense to use natural=water? It doesn't make sense to map out the complex channels because they continuously change position.
55800 ARTIFICIAL PATH waterway=river feature type only: no attributes
56600 COASTLINE natural=coastline feature type only: no attributes
56800 LEVEE man_made=dyke feature type only: no attributes

Progress

Watersheds are categorized by 2- and 4-digit basins. Water-only areas such as the Great Lakes are excluded.

Unnecessary = the water data in the area are already sufficient.

01 - New England Region

0101

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
01010001 Not mapped
01010002 Not mapped
01010003 Not mapped
01010004 Not mapped
01010005 Not mapped

0102

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
01020001 Not mapped
01020002 Not mapped
01020003 Not mapped
01020004 Not mapped
01020005 Not mapped

0103

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
01030001 Not mapped
01030002 Not mapped
01030003 Not mapped

0104

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
01040001 Not mapped
01040002 Not mapped

0105

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
01050001 Not mapped
01050002 Not mapped
01050003 Not mapped

0106

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
01060001 Not mapped
01060002 Not mapped
01060003 Not mapped

0107

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
01070001 Not mapped
01070002 Not mapped
01070003 Not mapped
01070004 Not mapped
01070005 Not mapped

0108

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
01080101 Not mapped
01080102 Not mapped
01080103 Not mapped
01080104 Not mapped
01080105 Not mapped
01080106 Not mapped
01080107 Not mapped
01080201 Not mapped
01080202 Not mapped
01080203 Not mapped
01080204 Not mapped
01080205 Not mapped
01080206 Not mapped
01080207 Not mapped

0109

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
01090001 Not mapped
01090002 Not mapped
01090003 Not mapped
01090004 Not mapped
01090005 Not mapped

0110

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
01100001 Not mapped
01100002 Not mapped
01100003 Not mapped
01100004 Not mapped
01100005 Not mapped
01100006 Not mapped

02 - Mid Atlantic Region

0201

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
02010001 Not mapped
02010002 Not mapped
02010003 Not mapped
02010004 Not mapped
02010005 Not mapped
02010006 Not mapped
02010007 Not mapped

0202

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
02020001 Not mapped
02020002 Not mapped
02020003 Not mapped
02020004 Not mapped
02020005 Not mapped
02020006 Not mapped
02020007 Not mapped
02020008 Not mapped

0203

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
02020101 Not mapped
02030102 Not mapped
02030103 Not mapped
02030104 Not mapped
02030105 Not mapped
02030201 Not mapped
02030202 Not mapped

0204

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
02040101 Not mapped
02040102 Not mapped
02040103 Not mapped
02040104 Not mapped
02040105 Not mapped
02040106 Not mapped
02040201 Not mapped
02040202 Not mapped
02040203 Not mapped
02040205 Not mapped
02040206 Not mapped
02040207 Not mapped
02040301 partial
02040302 partial

0205

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
02050101 Not mapped
02050102 Not mapped
02050103 Not mapped
02050104 Not mapped
02050105 Not mapped
02050106 Not mapped
02050107 Not mapped
02050201 Not mapped
02050202 Not mapped
02050203 Not mapped
02050204 Not mapped
02050205 Not mapped
02050206 Not mapped
02050301 Not mapped
02050302 Not mapped
02050303 Streams

0206

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
02060001 Not mapped
02060002 Not mapped
02060003 Not mapped
02060004 Not mapped
02060005 Not mapped
02060006 Not mapped
02060007 Not mapped
02060008 Not mapped
02060009 Not mapped
02060010 Not mapped

0207

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
02070001 Not mapped
02070002 Not mapped
02070003 Not mapped
02070004 Not mapped
02070005 Not mapped
02070006 Not mapped
02070007 Not mapped
02070008 Not mapped
02070009 Not mapped
02070010 Not mapped
02070011 Not mapped

0208

Watershed NHDFlowline NHDWaterbody NHDArea NHDLine NHDPoint
Watershed Status
02080102 Not mapped
02080103 Not mapped
02080104 Not mapped
02080105 Not mapped
02080106 Not mapped
02080107 Not mapped
02080108 Not mapped
02080109 Not mapped
02080110 Not mapped
02080201 Not mapped
02080202 Not mapped
02080203 Needs fixup
02080204 Not mapped
02080205 Not mapped
02080206 Not mapped
02080207 Needs fixup
02080208 Needs fixup

03 - South Atlantic Gulf Region

04 - Great Lakes Region

05 - Ohio Region

06 - Tennessee Region

07 - Upper Mississippi Region

08 - Lower Mississippi Region

09 - Souris-Red-Rainy Region

10 - Missouri Region

11 - Arkansas-Red-White Region

12 - Texas Gulf Region

13 - Rio Grande Region

14 - Upper Colorado Region

15 - Lower Colorado Region

16 - Great Basin Region

17 - Pacific Northwest Region

18 - California Region

19 - Alaska Region

20 - Hawaii Region

Territories


See also

External links