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Canadian Hydrospatial Network

View of a lake, with the heading 'Canadian Hydrospatial Network' displayed over top

The Canadian Hydrospatial Network (CHN) is a geospatial data product that represents Canada’s surface water features – lakes, rivers, watersheds and more – and the connections between them.

The network provides opportunities to study how surface water features are related and how they affect people, infrastructure, plants, animals, and the environment. Other applications of the network include:

  • to manage water and watersheds
  • to better understand water-related phenomena such as flooding and drought
  • for hydrologic and hydraulic modelling and other analyses
  • base data in cartography

Data and a draft of the physical model are available on our FTP site.

Improvements and advancements

The CHN, developed by the Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation, is replacing the National Hydrographic Network (NHN) for Canada. Built on the successes of the NHN, the CHN has improved in the following ways:

  • More opportunities for analysis—the CHN network includes catchments, added attributes for modelling, and allows for full network traversing
  • Better accuracy, resolution and elevation alignment
  • Simpler to produce and maintain (only layers and attributes that can be generated and updated mostly automatically are used)
  • Use of open source tools to develop the CHN
  • Creation of the network design, methods, tools, and data collaboratively with many partners including provinces, territories, other federal departments, the United States, and academia.

Would you like to contribute to the CHN network? We welcome new partners and collaborators!

Please contact us:

Data coverage highlights

Highlights of the CHN’s data coverage include:

  • Over 12500 km2 of watershed has been created
Map of New Brunswick showing location of planned work units.
Map of Canada showing work units.

The above maps show the location of the 1st work unit (#1) and next planned ones (#2 to 5), all in New Brunswick.

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