The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) contains detailed geospatial information about the Nation’s surface water. Ensuring the accuracy of these data is an ongoing task as the landscape changes and users demand greater accuracy.
Just as building the NHD required a large partnership across the nation, maintaining the NHD also requires an extensive partnership, and can best be accomplished by those closest to the hydrography. Updates to the NHD are made by NHD stewards, transmitted to the USGS, processed, and made available to the general public in the national dataset distribution.
Stewardship is facilitated through an update process that has previously been performed through a suite of tools known as the NHD GeoEdit Tools. These tools have been particularly difficult to install, cumbersome to use, and the process is so complicated that stewardship tasks were often limited to a designated full-time NHD expert.
In order to support and grow the NHD stewardship program, the USGS has reinvented both the process and tools involved in maintaining the NHD. This new process is known as the NHD Update Process. Also, with travel restrictions in place due to budget restrictions, training new stewards is a challenge that is being solved by the creation of online tutorials, video demos, and user guides. The new update process will be released in mid to late January and will include enhancements in the tool installation process, data management process, quality control process, editing environment, utilities, user interface, and help portal. The new tools and process are being released initially for ArcGIS version 9.3.1 with high priority immediately following the January release to develop a version compatible with ArcGIS version 10. These improvements will enable the USGS to expand and strengthen the Stewardship program by providing stewards with a simplified and streamlined process, making it easier to update the NHD.
Special thanks to Kathryn Isham for providing this post. Questions for Kathy: firstname.lastname@example.org