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BASINS 4.0 – Flexible Integration of Components and Data for Watershed Assessment and TMDL Development

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BASINS is a multipurpose environmental analysis system designed for use by regional, state, and local agencies in performing watershed and water quality-based studies. This system makes it possible to quickly assess large amounts of point source and nonpoint source data in a format that is easy to use and understand. Installed on a personal computer, BASINS allows the user to assess water quality at selected stream sites or throughout an entire watershed. This invaluable tool integrates environmental data, analytical tools, and modeling programs to support development of cost-effective approaches to watershed management and environmental protection, including TMDLs.

The latest release of BASINS is version 3.1. Like the previous release, BASINS includes a data extractor, projector, project builder, GIS interface, various GIS-based tools, a series of models, and custom databases. But instead of including that data on multiple CDs as in version 3.0, data are available entirely through a web data extraction tool. This web data extractor provides a tool for dynamic downloading of BASINS data from a variety of sources. Other significant enhancements in version 3.1 include a new tool to archive and restore BASINS projects, updated data holdings, and a tool to update the BASINS software interactively.

The design of the BASINS 3.1 components lends itself to a more significant restructuring in the release of version 4.0. One of the major challenges in the development of BASINS 4.0 will be the accommodation of different GIS software platforms, while removing the current ArcView software as prerequisite to the use of BASINS. A new software product in BASINS 4.0 will tie all of the BASINS components together through a single software component not based upon any proprietary software package. This new software component will be known as the BASINS System Application.

The BASINS 4.0 System Application will encompass all of the existing BASINS components and more through a single new interface. As in BASINS 3.1, independent access to individual components will still be available, but these components will be tied together into one interface. The System Application will identify which (if any) ArcView products are available on the user's computer, and will thus indicate the GIS-based functionality available to the user. This design provides a migration path from the ArcView 3.x components to the ArcView 8.x components.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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