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The United States Geological Survey (USGS) creates and maintains the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), which portrays the surface water of the nation. The NHD surface water network provides a framework for linking data sources such as, hydrologic observations, natural resource surveys and other water-related datasets.

USGS is currently creating new methods by which hydrologic observations can be referenced to the NHD and shared as map services. For example, the USGS is creating a flexible data schema, called the Hydrography Referenced Data (HRD), that can be used for any kind of hydrologic observation. USGS is also designing a Hydrography Referencing Tool (HRT) which will be a browser-based tool that allows linear referencing and flexible indexing of any kind of hydrologic observation to the NHD.

The HRT and HRD are both aligned with the vision of the National Hydrography Infrastructure and the Internet of Water. Supporters of these initiatives are collaborating on web tools and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for discovery and search of community-generated HRD through a future-designed web portal.

This poster shows how the new HRD and HRT projects at the USGS fit within a collaborative community of data holders of data related to the NHD.

Science Support Framework Category: Communities of Practice

Author(s): Michael Tinker ( and Kevin McNinch (

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