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Best Source for Lakes & Rivers Shapefiles?

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#1
cityprints

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Hi Cartos, 

 

I having trouble finding a good free shapefile for waterways - mainly lakes and rivers in the US. I'm using QGIS. I have searched and downloaded a bunch, but they fall into two categories:

 

1. Inaccurate polygons

2. SHP files that I can't open in QGIS for some reason

 

I'd love to hear your favorite sources for downloading shapefiles like this. Thanks so much!

 

Tony


Edited by cityprints, 17 May 2013 - 10:23 AM.


#2
SteveR

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This depends on the extent of the area for which you need shapefiles.  Some US states have really good GIS data, and some US counties have even better.

 

For me, I frequently find what I need among the Digital Line Graphs at Earth Explorer, though it takes some effort to do a successful search.  The DLGs are shapefiles extracted from USGS maps at 1:24,000 and 1:100,000 scale.  To actually download the data, you have to register.  Here's a link:

http://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

 

Steve Richardson

2i3D Stereo Imaging



#3
cityprints

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Thanks Steve, that looks like a great tool. I appreciate your time and help. 

 

I just went through the process to download an area, but the resulting file is an OPT or a DDF file that QGIS can't recognize. Is there a process I should follow to get a format I can open with QGIS?

 

Thanks again. 

 

Tony



#4
moe.ron37

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Tony,

 

Go check the US Geological National Hydrography Dataset. Easy to download data, either by state, subregion, or by you creating a polygon to capture an area. Will come to you in a geodatabase. I just downloaded some the other day. All I needed to do was change the coordinate system and the extents domain to match my county's data standards. Worked like a charm.

 

http://nhd.usgs.gov/data.html


Tommy Maggard
Indianapolis

#5
cityprints

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Thanks for the response Tommy. I'm afraid that's a big over my head. I can't seem to find a filetype that QGIS will let me import. I believe my lack of knowledge is not allowing me to take advantage of Steve's advice above as well. Up to this point, I've only worked with SHP shapefiles, so if I download something not in that format, I'm clueless. 

 

I'll keep working at it, thanks for your time guys. 

 

Tony



#6
mfarmer

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You can get the NHD from http://datagateway.nrcs.usda.gov/. Be patient, and poke around the interface to this website. You can get a lot in various format. I find it very useful



#7
Dennis McClendon

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What scale do you need?  The folks at USGS have been doing some nice work for 1:1 million datasets offered through The National Map.


Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#8
katzmoye

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What about Natural Earth?

 

http://www.naturalea....com/downloads/



#9
cityprints

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Thanks guys, I'll check out all these options. Thanks so much for the resources!

 

Tony






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