Archive for the ‘software’ Category

Well, it’s September and it appears as though this update was released in back in March.  In any event, the latest version of PeakFQ is now 7.1 and it is available for download here:


Be sure to read the version history which will discuss the new functionality in the program.

You might also want to read about what the Subcommittee on Hydrology, Hydrologic Frequency Analysis Work Group’s piece on Determining Flood Frequency using Expected Moments Algorithm here:



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Every year, ESRI hosts its annual users group meeting in San Diego.  For several years now, the day before the big conference opens, the hydro/water resources folks at ESRI host a 1 day seminar.  All the videos from that one day event can be viewed here:


Updates to ArcHydro, GeoRAS and GeoHMS are provided.

Thank you ESRI!

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Earlier this year, the USGS has released a web mapping service called Streamer.


It’s a fairly straightforward tool.  A user can either trace a channel upstream or downstream. From there, users can get a summary or detailed report that has some basic information such as how many states the river is in, or how many USGS gages are on the trace.

A bit more background on the tool is available here: http://nhd.usgs.gov/newsletters/News_July_13.pdf

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Dr. Andrew Simon pulls together an excellent set of ideas in this presentation:


For several years, I’ve struggled with the idea of a reference stream. He lays out some of the problems with the approach.  I like how he introduces the idea of a hydrologic floodplain and a topographic floodplain.  I also like how he highlights the notion that “bankfull” discharge applies to a stable channel.

One of the best questions he asks is: “How does the channel respond?” Answer: “It depends”  The figure below was pulled from Janet Hooke’s 2003 Geomorphology article titled “Coarse sediment connectivity in river channel systems: a conceptual framework methodology”  I think the image does a good job of supporting Dr. Simons’ question about how a channel would respond. Clearly the spatial variability that all rivers have dictate that a thorough inspection of a site and its context within a watershed is warranted.


I also always like a presentation that goes back and explicitly states first principals in geomorphology:

Applied (Driving) Forces vs. Resisting Forces.

I was first exposed to this idea as an undergraduate at Middlebury College in the early 1990’s thanks to my advisor Jack Schmidt and it is still true as it ever was today.

I like the way Mr. Simon thinks and presents his ideas. Keeping these ideas in mind the next time a restoration project comes along would be excellent, especially at the early stages so that that all parties can better understand the river adjustment dynamics at a project site.

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The World Water Online group on ArcGIS.com has added NRCS SSURGO soil survey database to its group of maps.  You can read about it here:


One of the features that I really enjoy about ArcGIS online is how well integrated it is with ArcGIS Desktop.  Any map I’m developing with shapefiles and feature classes stored on the local network can easily include a map that is on ArcGIS online.

Now when working on a restoration site, access to soil data is literally just a few clicks of the mouse away.

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I’m an active voluneer for the Ipswich River Watershed Association. One of their programs is a volunteer monitoring program that collects temperature and dissolved oxygen at over thirty sites throughout the watershed once a month.  Now that several years of data have been collected, a nice data set has been developed.  I also follow some of the developments that CUASHI HIS has undertaken, namely the development of HydroDesktop and the WaterML standard.  In the past month, the monitoring data have been put onto CUASHI’s servers and now when one searches for either dissolved oxygen or temperature in the Ipswich River watershed using HydroDesktop, all the monitoring locations show up and the data can be downloaded.  I think that’s a great development for the program.  Way to go IRWA!

There are several professors at universities around the country who are active with CUASHI HIS, there is a CUASHI offices in Medford, MA and Washington D.C and the company Kisters is also active with the CUASHI HIS community.  The point being, if you are aware of some water quality monitoring that is being collected on your stream or river of interest, there are plenty of resources available to help you get your data published and made available to a wider audience.

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Since about 1997 or so, I’ve been looking at USGS daily flow data.  I also started using ESRI’s GIS software around that time as well.  Despite being released last December, I just found out about this tool only a few days ago. Now that I’ve given it a spin, I am very impressed.  ESRI’s latest version of ArcGIS (version 10) and the USGS NWIS Snapshot tool are perfect companions.

Here’s a link to the 2 page summary of the USGS tool: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2011/3141/

This link will take you to the download and software support page: http://txpub.usgs.gov/snapshot/default.aspx

Assuming you have ArcGIS Desktop version 10, installation is pretty straight forward.  The only additional data a user would likely need is a shapefile or feature class for a watershed area of interest. The documentation walks a user through the process of searching for surface water sites and obtaining the mean daily flow values.  Once those data have been obtained, it’s just a matter of personal preference how a user would then want to use that data. ArcGIS has some built in graphing options, the data could be imported into Excel, or a user could use another graphing piece of software.

The Snapshot tool is one of the easiest to learn tools that I’ve seen in terms of being able to obtain mean daily flow data from USGS gages.  In under ten minutes, I was able to create hydrographs of five stations that have collected flow data within the Ipswich River watershed.  Personally, I think that’s pretty amazing.

CUASHI has developed HydroGET (http://his.cuahsi.org/hydroget.html) and HydroExcel (http://his.cuahsi.org/hydroexcel.html) which in many ways will ultimately do the same thing for a user as far as obtaining mean daily for values from the USGS is concerned.  HydroExcel can search WebServices other than just the USGS  and HydroGet will search for precipitation stations. Nevertheless, I think the NWIS Snapshot tool has the best user interface and is the easiest to execute.

The Snapshot tool along with CUASHI’s HydroDesktop (http://hydrodesktop.codeplex.com/) allow hydrologists to discover water resource data sets rather quickly using a GIS software.  Generating graphs with these tools is also a fairly quick affair.  Weather working on a pre-project proposal or if you are in the depths of a project, these two pieces of software should prove rather handy and time saving tools.

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