USGS Launches Streamer Version 2

Field & Stream called it a “…very cool tool and quite a bit of fun.” MinnPost described it as a “…high-tech illustration of Norman Maclean’s timeless view that, ‘Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” And Popular Science noted that, “There’s something especially satisfying about clicking a stream that…shoots its way across multiple states to empty into the ocean.”

These publications are all describing Streamer, the popular on-line mapping program from the U.S. Geological Survey. Streamer is a powerful, yet easy way to explore our major waterways. With a simple map click, anyone can trace rivers and streams from a starting point all the way downstream to where a stream drains. Even more impressive, they can click on a stream and trace all others that drain to that point. Streamer also produces a report that includes a map and information about the people and places encountered along the streams traced.

As good as Streamer was when it launched last summer, it just got better. Four major enhancements and dozens of small improvements have been made. These include:

  • A new map layer displays the locations of real-time streamflow stations across the country. Streamer updates this information hourly and symbolizes these stations to illustrate current streamflow conditions compared with each station’s observed mean streamflow on the same day of the year.
  • You can tell at a glance whether conditions are above, below, or at normal levels at each station.
  • Links are provided from Streamer directly to selected stations for additional information and data.
  • Another new map layer has been added that shows weather radar across all 50 States.
  • Useful improvements to Streamer’s detailed reports have been added.  One of these lists the names of waterbodies (lakes, reservoirs, etc.) along the path of your trace.
  • Congressional Districts encountered along your trace have been added.
  • A mouse click takes you from the Streamer report to additional information from the Census Bureau about socioeconomic conditions in each District.
  • Searching for locations on Streamer’s map by place name, zip code, geographic coordinates and more is greatly enhanced.

It’s fascinating to explore the connections among our major streams and rivers using this improved new edition of Streamer.  In its first eight months in service, Streamer users traced more than 2.9 billion river miles.

The USGS announced in February that it is ending production of the National Atlas on September 30, 2014 and that some of its products and services would transition to The National Map.  With this release, Streamer becomes the first of these National Atlas products and services that The National Map will offer.  For cartographers and geospatial information professionals, Streamer’s surface water data is available for download at no cost.

For more information:

Reprinted from the USGS Blog.

Published Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Written by Adena Schutzberg

Published in


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