Above: 3 views of RI using GIS data in Google Earth. Left panel shows water quality data published by RIDEM. Blue streams are cold water habitat; purple are warm water; black are unattributed. Middle panel shows brook trout habitat quality as estimated by the EBTJV. Right panel shows bedrock lithology in data published by the USGS. All datasets are available for download via this website. Different states have different data available.
Of all of the web pages we revised from the 2006 version of this website, this page may have changed the most.
In 2006, GIS was something practiced by academics and planners using professional tools which were nearly inaccessible to the general public. Except for a tiny cadre of GIS pros, if you wanted to view GIS data, you looked at a map someone prepared for you in advance.
When we created the 2006 site, we spent most of our time generating maps using the primitive tools we then had available.
Today, GIS is much more mainstream. Google Earth, and to some extent Google Maps, are the defacto GIS viewers for the general public. Today, if someone prepares the datasets, you can interact with them, view them in 3D at any scale you want, and control how they’re displayed. We’re spending virtually all of our time preparing datasets (not maps).
It’s a completely different paradigm.
The old page was mostly about tools, and tried to convince you it might be worth setting up a primitive GIS viewer instead of relying totally on the maps we created. I’m not sure anyone listened. This revised page is now about the data resources we’ve made available on this site. The technology has improved so much that you’d be crazy to stick with the old maps, imo.
Most of the data on this site is described on the “Streams” tab for Eastern and Western states, or on the “Natives” tab when it’s specific to a native salmonid species. There are also a few “national” datasets, EPA WATERS, NHD, and Geonames (to name three) that are extremely useful, and are described on the “USA GIS Datasets” selection on the “GIS” tab. ALL can be downloaded from the “Downloads” tab.
Also, if you want to play the same game we do, and start downloading your own “professional” data and massaging it, we’ve created a new page, “GIS Workstation Tools”.