I've been using the USGS National Map viewer (http://viewer.nationalmap.gov/viewer/) for getting data for QGIS, but the download system is driving me insane. I enter my email address and [sometimes] get a notice that my data will be available in up to 2 days. If that email does arrive, occasionally the URLs are linked to a 0 byte file and I'm out of luck.

Is there any other place to get the data?

This "click and hope your data arrives in 2 days" system keeps getting me in trouble and behind on my work. I don't understand why I can download multiple GBs of elevation data from USGS on demand but hydro data that's a fraction of the size requires a waiting period.

I'm specifically looking for hydro, transport and land cover for Kittitas Valley in Washington state.


3 Answers 3


GIS Data Depot has statewide vector data, including hydro data. I routinely look to the state DNR for GIS data too, for example the Minnesota DNR GIS Data Deli has a wealth of data.

USGS Earth Explorer is one of the best sites for remote sensing data.

Hydro1k Database from EROS has a good selection of hydro related data including:

  • Elevation
  • Compound Topo Index
  • Slope
  • Flow Direction
  • Streams
  • Drainage Basins
  • Flow Accumulation
  • Aspect

The attached image is the Earth Explorer interface.

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Most of the data that's available on the National Map is available elsewhere too but where to get it depends on what dataset you're after. You specifically mentioned hydro data, the National Hydrography Dataset is available here in file geodatabase format by state. The high-resolution NHD is what's used on the National Map site.


If your area of interest is limited to a specific State, you MAY find that a local government source has the same data available for free download. Start with State agency or State GIS organization websites. The Ramona GIS Inventory may also be helpful, assuming that State and/or local govt's in your area of interest had added their information to the site.

Note that finding such sources may be easy or impossible, depending upon the specific State(s).

  • The link is broken
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 0:16

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