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U.S. Geological Survey - National Geospatial Program: User Engagement - Water Resources

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COU Coordinator: Water Resources
Steve Aichele Stephen Aichele
New Cumberland, PA

Water Resources Liaisons
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National Map Liaisons - Water Resources

About Partner and User Engagement
An addition to the long-standing partnership functions of The National Map is an emerging initiative to systematically reach out to priority user communities. The goal of user engagement is to gather feedback on the products and services of The National Map so that future development will best meet USGS and Department of the Interior science objectives and provide the greatest value and impact for the Nation. Priority user communities include Geologic Mapping, Geologic Hazards, Natural Resources Conservation, and Water Resources.

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Community of Use (COU): Water Resources

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been providing the Nation with water resources data, methods, and analytic techniques for over 100 years. Many of the analysis techniques used to analyze the data require geospatial information - watershed boundaries, hydrography, elevation, land cover. The Water Resources Community of Use assists the National Geospatial Program in developing better, user-friendly data and tools for USGS hydrologists and Federal, State, and local water resource managers across the Nation.

The Water Resources Community of Users include:

  • Engineers and floodplain managers interested in identifying flood risk areas
  • Water resource managers handling water rights
  • Water resources field data collection staff
  • Watershed modelers
  • Fisheries managers and scientists
  • State natural resource and environmental protection agencies


The National Map products and services are the basis for most water resources modeling activities, including SPARROW water-quality modeling of nutrients and StreamStats modeling of stream flow. The National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program makes extensive use of the Watershed Boundaries Dataset (WBD) and the National Landcover Dataset (NLCD). NOAA’s operational prediction service, the National Water Model ( is based on the NHDPlus. Finally, the Flood Inundation Mapping Initiative (FIMI) is heavily reliant on high quality elevation data to describe floodplain morphology and to delineate areas of inundation. Finally, the Flood Inundation Mapping Initiative (FIMI) is heavily reliant on high quality elevation data to describe floodplain morphology and to delineate areas of inundation.

Initial Community of Use Areas of Interest

  • Reliability of The National Map Viewer services
  • Integration of the National Hydrography Dataset and 3D Elevation Program to produce logically consistent drainage channels
  • Replication of the National Hydrography Dataset to USGS Water Science Centers
  • Cartographic modifications to the tiled base map cache, particularly at large scales
  • User needs for elevation derivatives

Technical Committee

The Water Resources COU Technical Committee met for the first time in January 2012. The Technical committee assists the COU coordinator in understanding and prioritizing enhancement requests submitted by users. Initially USGS mission areas are heavily represented within the COU technical committee, however as the process matures more external users will be included representing other Federal agencies, state and local users, academia, and private sector users as appropriate.

Future Plans

In the coming year, plans are to add to the Community of Use at least two representatives of other Federal agencies and two representatives of either State agencies or academic institutions.


NGP active in WaterSmart Initiative

April 10, 2013

The National Geospatial Program (NGP) is an active partner in the DOI WaterSmart Initiative, providing the geospatial framework for tracking diversions of water, as well as providing tools and expertise to linear reference data from the Site-specific Water Use Database (SWUDS) to the National Hydrography Dataset. Geospatially enabling the SWUDS database and mapping diversions will significantly improve both the efficiency and accuracy of water-use reporting and modeling activities.

NGP, WaterSmart, and the Georgia Water Science Center are collaborating on a pilot effort in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint watershed in southwest Georgia. The results of that pilot should provide the framework for a national effort in Fiscal Year 2014 and 2015.

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Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 26-Sep-2017 17:47:21 EDT