Useful links and tools

In this section, I will list a series of tools and resources that I have found useful when working and doing research on River Habitat Survey and GIS data, species distribution and geomorphology.

RivEX tool for processing river networks

RivEX is a very useful tool for quality controlling and processing vector river networks for extracting network or site level data. It also contains tools for complex sampling and survey strategy design (random, regular and stratified sampling strategies) across digitised river networks. It is designed to work in Esri ArcMap 10.6 or higher.

I have used it for

  • Quality controlling the CEH river network and correcting mistakes;
  • Extracting data such as distance to source, distance to mouth for individual RHS sites;
  • Linking points on the river network such as RHS data points and biological sampling points;
  • Generating random points across the river network for statistical analysis and survey;

There is a lot more that RivEX can do for you if you work on a daily basis with river networks using GIS.

The WFD49 tool for deriving map data

The WFD49 tool was developed by GeoData Institute as part of a project with SNIFFER for implementing MImAS river typology. It was designed on ArcGIS 9.x and was adapted for the implementation of a river reach segmentation technique (more info in a future blog) used as part of ToolHab. It enables the automated extraction of GIS data such as slope, river sinuosity, geology, confinement, channel and floodplain width for points on the river network and the application of an algorithm for typing rivers.

Data input tools

There are a few data input tools for RHS data available on the web. Check this section as we may add more in the future.


Rapid 2.1 is a digital data entry system designed to capture and store River Habitat Survey data in the field using a Tablet PC. The application will calculate HQA and HMS values for completed surveys. It can also be used as a desk-based application for entering and storing RHS data from paper field sheets. The database woks with Microsoft Access 2003.
Check the terms of conditions as there are limitations to its use for commercial purposes.

As part of the GeoRHS project (see the Research section for more information) run by GeoData Institute on behalf of the Environment Agency, a database for inputting RHS data was developed. A hyperlink to the database may be added in the near future for download pending authorisation.

Web sites

The STAR (STAndardisation of River Classifications) project was a research initiative funded by the European Commission and was completed in 2005. The main aim was to provide standard biological assessment methods compatible with WFD requirements. It also set out to develop a standard for determining the class boundaries of ‘ecological status’ and another one for inter-calibrating existing methods. In Austria, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany and Italy ‘core’ RHS sites were chosen to reflect a gradient in habitat and morphology degradation. Results from the STAR project were published in a special issue of Hydrobiologia in 2006.


The river management blog by Trevor Bond