New Esri book shows how to analyze and map surface water features

Jun 26, 2018

Esri has published GIS for Surface Water: Using the National Hydrography Dataset, the only book of its kind detailing how to use geographic information system (GIS) technology to visualize and analyze the dataset.

Written by Jeff Simley, an award-winning cartographer and the former lead of the Hydrography Program at the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the book examines the complexities of surface water systems. It also shows readers how to use Esri ArcGIS software, together with the USGS’s National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and the Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) and the USGS’s and Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) NHDPlus dataset to better study and manage the vast surface water system in the United States.

GIS for Surface Water grounds scientists, managers, and students in the knowledge they need to analyze surface water data using GIS. The book thoroughly examines the representation of water features and their attributes in a GIS and then turns its attention to how that data is structured in the NHD, WBD, and NHDPlus datasets. After seeing how surface water hydrography can be modeled in a GIS, readers then learn how to use these tools to solve real-world problems, including to model a chemical spill in West Virginia and protect and restore the fisheries habitat in Washington State.

While this book focuses on the surface waters in the United States, readers will learn methods for applying the science of surface water to any nation. Instructions guide readers to create surface water flow-volume maps that show how much water flows through any given river system.

“This book is unique in that it is the most comprehensive, authoritative source for the NHD,” well-known hydrologist David Maidment says in the book’s foreword. “But it is more than that: it is a monument to the intellectual craft and dedicated effort of a generation of digital mapmakers who devoted their professional careers to the completion of this enormous task.”