River File download

04-29-2011 01:39 PM
Labels (1)
New Contributor
I am a student in GIS and I had a project where I needed to find river files for US rivers.  The task was to use flood plane layers and compare them at a half mile buffer from the river.

I did not find a good river file that had the whole length of rivers intact, instead there were sections unnamed in the middle, others sources were missing segments entirely.  In the end I put two layers together and then "connected the dots" by drawing in the river over an image. 

Do any of you folks know of a source for all US rivers that the Army Corps of Engineers have reservoirs along that is complete and available for free use?  I have googled all sorts of combinations and found nothing that fit the bill and I don't think I am asking for something too unrealistic. 

Also if you know of any sources how would I find them without asking in a forums?  I have tried all manner of search term combinations to get this figured out.

Thanks ahead of time.
Tags (2)
0 Kudos
3 Replies
New Contributor III
USGS is the keeper of the data and monitors waterways.

The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) should have everything you need.  Its found here: http://nhd.usgs.gov/data.html

Use the viewer to zoom to the area you are interested in and download the NHD data.
0 Kudos
New Contributor
The NHD has all the information I need, however it has the same dificiency as what I already had used.  

I am wanting some select major rivers of the Mississippi river basin (Red, Kansas, Misouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Mississippi obviously) to display in the MS basin.  The NHD had extensive stream information but I have to download nearly 60 zip files to get all the HUC-4s, and sort throught the gdb for a single flowline set and then extract just the major river segment and much of even the major rivers were not named along their entirety, which puts me back at where I was prior to this data source.

Is anyone aware of a source that is perhaps less sophisticated, but lists major rivers?  Also because finding the correct data seems to be the greatest challenge in some of my work can I get any recommendations on search terms? 

In google searched I have used combinations of shp, Mississippi basin, US rivers, gis data, and each of the rivers names.  Also I had searched US surface water and Hydrology GIS, spatial, and Geospatial.  Interestingly I have found exactly the type of data I need for the Middle East and Europe, but not the US.
0 Kudos
New Contributor
Found it!!


Lots of simple layers, easy downloads and at least the rivers seem complete and accurate. 

Thanks for your help, I imagine in my more advanced classes I will have to swim with the dreaded Geodatabase.  But for right now I am happy splashing in the kiddie pool.
0 Kudos