usgs logo
USGS StreaMail - Background Information

The USGS StreaMail system provides a method for you to query a USGS gaging site via email, cell phone (via email or text messaging), or handheld device, such as a Blackberry, for gage height and streamflow. You send your request to StreaMail and in a few minutes you should get a reply showing river stage and streamflow.

You can use StreaMail by using either email or cell-phone text messaging.

Important disclaimer: StreaMail is a "beta" product and is not meant to be used in emergency situations. Currently, there can be up to a 5-minute delay before you receive a return message from StreaMail.

Using StreaMail with Email:

To use StreaMail by email, simply send an email to "This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.". In the "Subject" line put a USGS station number, such as "02336300"

You need to use the USGS site number to make use of StreaMail. You can obtain a list of streamgage site numbers at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/rt. Select your state from the drop down menu in the top blue bar. Then select "Streamflow Table".

You will get a return email like this:

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) StreaMail:
The latest river stage and streamflow values you requested from StreaMail.

Site: 02336300
Station name: PEACHTREE CREEK AT ATLANTA, GA
Date: 09/30/2009
Time: 09:00:00
Stage: 2.95 feet
Streamflow: 90 cubic feet per second (cfs)

Link to charts for 02336300:
Stage: http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/wwapps/zchart.php?i=nwis2&&vt=uv&&cd=00065&site_no=02336300
Streamflow: http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/wwapps/zchart.php?i=nwis2&&vt=uv&&cd=00060&&site_no=02336000

Using StreaMail with text messaging on a cell phone:

Using StreaMail with text messaging is more complex than the email method. Cell phone text messages are limited to about 140 characters, so the return information is limited to just the stage and flow values. Also, text messaging methods are different for different types of phones and service providers. For example, some cell phones use a "Subject" line as the text input area while others have a message body area for their input. If your cell phone has both of these it is safest to put in your station number in both fields.

For text messaging you still want to send your message to "This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.". But, it is non-standard to send a text message to an email address. By default, text messages go to a phone number. So, when you first start your text message, you have to change the input method from numbers to letters or words. One of the "hot" keys on your phone will let you change the input format.

After you put in the email address hit "OK" and you will be asked to enter your actual text message. Here, you have to change your input method to numbers (the default will be letters). Just enter the USGS station number and hit "Send".

The output to a cell phone will look like:

From: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Site 02336300 09:30
Stage: 3.29
Flow: 34

If you have any questions, contact Howard Perlman at the Georgia Water Science Center, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.