2011 -- Keven Roth, US Geological Survey (retired);
-- Tommy Dewald, US Environmental Protection Agency
The USGS presents the Henry Gannett Award annually to recognize especially distinguished contributions to the topographic mapping of the Nation.
We are pleased to make this second award to Tommy Dewald, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Keven Roth, USGS, Retired, for the development of the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD).
Tommy Dewald and Keven Roth set about the task of developing a surface water dataset of the Nation in the 1990s with a vision to create a solution for the 21st century, when suitable water resources would become critical. What oil was for the 20th century, water would be for the 21st century. They methodically canvassed water scientists across the country to determine the elements that would create the solution they had envisioned. The result of their work then became truly a national hydrography dataset.
Then came the daunting task of actually building their vision. The workload was shared so that by combining the resources of the EPA and the USGS they could achieve what was impossible for each organization individually. As early as 2001 the vast complexity that was the National Hydrography Dataset became a reality. The 1:100,000-scale database for the Nation became available to the American public with no cost for access.
The success of the initial nationwide coverage quickly grew into demand for more detailed coverage at 1:24,000-scale through an even larger consortium. Soon, State after State joined the program and contributed to the effort. When the U.S. Forest Service joined the NHD program with a large influx of funding, the higher resolution dataset was cemented into a fully national production program with many additional States following suit. By 2007 this effort had been completed with over 25 million features in the dataset covering 7.5 million miles of streams and 6.5 million lakes.
By 2007 the number of scientific applications taking advantage of the unique analytical powers of the NHD had grown to cover all aspects of hydrology, pollution control, resource management, and fisheries biology. In the next four years the NHD had become even more widespread throughout the sciences to the point where any serious study of water resources demanded the use of the National Hydrography Dataset.
Just as the current generation of scientists and cartographers using hydrography data have adopted the National Hydrography Dataset as a standard operating practice, the scientists and cartographers of tomorrow will continue to use and enhance this dataset to meet the challenges facing the earth sciences for the remainder of the century and beyond. It is therefore fitting that the Henry Gannett award should be bestowed upon two modern pioneers in mapping, Tommy Dewald and Keven Roth.