Streamer Yukon River TraceThe United States Geological Survey (USGS) has released a new way to visualize stream flow online with Streamer. This online mapping system allows water flow to be traced up or downstream from its source to where it empties into the ocean. Streamer relies on map data resolved at one million scale from the National Atlas of the United States.

Streamer displays data scaled at one inch to 15.8 miles, which will leave out some smaller streams. Tracing the Yukon River upstream with the application maps a remarkable drainage basin that would grow even more at a finer scale resolution. An example of a map generated by Streamer for the Yukon River is at the head of this post.

The reporting feature of the site details information on water bodies and streamflow gauging stations along the traced stream. This report also provides other geographic data for the areas encountered by the stream.

This is an example of the information provided for a trace of the Yukon River downstream from the Canadian border:

Trace Details

Trace Direction: Downstream
Trace Origin Stream Name: N/A
Trace Origin (latitude, longitude): 64.893, -141.144
Trace Origin Elevation (feet): 1,536

Water Features

Total Length of Traced Streams (miles): 1,400
Outlet Waterbody: Pacific Ocean
USGS Stream Gages (count): 5
Stream Names (count): 7

Political Features

U.S. States (count): 1
U.S. Counties (count): 4
Total County Population (2010): 37,089
Cities (count): 21

The USGS notes these features are available to Streamer users:

  • Streams can be located by their latitude and longitude or by using a stream or place name
  • Streams can be located through use of a streamflow gauging station identification number
  • Names of river, streams and water bodies can be found by clicking on them
  • Maps of traced streams can be printed
  • Detailed reports for traced streams can be created
  • Information concerning historic or current streamflow is available

Streamer is part of a greater effort of the USGS to provide improved public access to geographic data and information that is collected by the government. It would be great to see cooperation in this effort with Canada and be able to trace transboundary rivers like the Yukon and Stikine to headwater sources.

Copyright © 2013 by Alan Sorum

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