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[From National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) documentation - The completeness of the data reflects the content of the sources, which, in the initial release of the National Hydrography Dataset, most often are U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps. Features found on the ground may have been eliminated or generalized on the source graphic because of scale and legibility constraints. In general, streams longer than one mile (approximately 1.6 kilometers) were collected. Most streams that flow from a lake were collected regardless of length. Only definite channels were collected so not all swamp/marsh features have stream/rivers delineated through them. Lake/ponds having an area greater than 6 acres (approximately 2.4 hectares) were collected. Note, however, that these general rules were applied unevenly among maps during compilation. Some map quadrangles have a much sparser pattern of hydrography than do adjoining maps and these differences continue in the digital rendition of these features. Transport reaches are defined on nearly all features of type stream/river, canal/ditch, artificial path, pipeline, and connector. Waterbody reaches are defined on the subset of lake/pond features that were identified as waterbodies during the development of Reach File Version 3. Most attention in applying geographic names was given to transport reaches that follow stream/rivers and waterbody reaches. Near the international boundaries with Canada and Mexico, only the parts of features within the United States are delineated. Detailed capture conditions are provided for every feature type in the Standards for National Hydrography Dataset (USGS, 1999), available online through <http://mapping.usgs.gov/standards/.>]
This process generated the "features" data. Build reaches: The basic steps for building reaches are as follows: 1. Convert RF3 [Reach File Version 3] to RF3" (RF3 double prime). This batch operation processed Reach File Version 3 to delete duplicate reaches, reassign reaches to the correct cataloging unit, validate geographic names assigned to reaches against data from the Geographic Names Information System (December 1996 extract), apply updates supplied by the States of California and Arizona, redelineate reaches on the basis of standards used for the NHD, and identify inflow/outflow points where transport reaches entered and exited waterbodies. 2. Create artificial paths. Using waterbodies from the feature data and inflow/outflow points extracted from RF3", this process automatically generated the centerlines used to delineate artificial paths within waterbodies by using subroutines within the ARC/INFO® GRID module. 3. Blind pass. This batch step conflated features and RF3" reaches and transferred reach information (reach code, reach date, name, stream level, and flow relationships) to the features. It also integrated the artificial paths generated in the previous step with the other features, built reaches on the artificial paths, and assigned geographic names (February 1995 extract) to waterbodies. 4. Quadrangle-based visual pass. During this interactive step, analysts ensured that the data developed in the previous batch processes conformed to reach delineation rules and that reaches were assigned to the appropriate cataloging unit. Batch procedures identified and developed a list of possible errors. (Errors not detected by the software may continue in the data.) Using the list, software presented each case to analysts to make appropriate edits to the data. Analysts recorded notes about repairs that could not be made and about other errors in the data. (These notes are encoded in the cataloging unit digital update units.) 5. Build superquads. After the quadrangle-based visual pass was complete, all quadrangles that cover all or part of each cataloging unit were paneled into a superquad. In this batch process, reaches that cross quad boundaries were corrected to conform to reach delineation rules. 6. Cataloging unit-based visual pass. As they did with the quadrangle-based visual pass, analysts ensured that reaches conformed to reach delineation rules. Batch procedures identified and developed a list of possible errors. (Errors not detected by the software may continue in the data.) Analysts examined each error and corrected the data. Analysts recorded notes about repairs that could not be made and about other errors in the data. (These notes are encoded in the cataloging unit digital update units.) 7. Central quality assurance/quality control. This step (1) confirmed that integrity checks were performed successfully during the visual pass activity, and (2) assessed statistics gathered during the earlier processes to determine if additional review of data was needed. A check of data from the cataloging unit-based visual pass was run in batch; any data that did not pass the procedure were reviewed interactively. If substantive changes were required, the data were reprocessed using procedures (as required) described in previous steps. The edited data then were rechecked using the central quality assurance/quality control process. 8. Data preparation and database load. This batch procedure performed final processing to the data emerging from the quality assurance/quality control step. Some of the activities included assigning the final reach codes, building waterbody reaches, adding final artificial paths in waterbodies, and implementing any recent changes in standards for the NHD. The spelling of geographic names was replaced using the March 1999 data extract from the Geographic Names Information System. After this, reaches, features, characteristics, geographic names, and relations were loaded into the database that holds the NHD. 9. Flow relation correction and validation. The flow relations were checked for consistency through a batch procedure, which generated a list of possible errors. Software presented possible errors to analysts, who corrected flow relations and, occasionally, the delineation of reaches. Changes were posted to the database. 10. Extract distribution copies of data. Data for a cataloging unit were extracted from the database and converted into an ARC/INFO® workspace containing coverages and other files. Data available in the Spatial Data Transfer Standard format were developed from the workspaces. The workspaces and the Spatial Data Transfer Standard-formatted files were made available to the public.
Outside the United States, please direct all inquiries to your local ESRI International Distributor. This information can be found at <http://gis.esri.com/intldist/contactint.cfm>.