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SWIMS help guides
About the SWIMS database.
SWIMS data model
Projects, monitoring stations, fieldwork events, finding data.
Surface water viewer
Launch Application: Click Here
Great Lakes data
Beach stations, projects, grants, and data.
River & stream data
Stations, projects, results.
Wetlands data
Wetlands data in SWIMS.
Aquatic invasives
Aquatic invasives in Wisconsin.
Citizen lake data
Explore citizen lake monitoring datasets.
Citizen stream data
Volunteer stream monitoring.
Wisconsin Data Exchange
Water Quality Exchange (WQX) Network: [exit DNR]Click here
Contact information
For information on this page, contact:
Molli MacDonald
SWDV File Manager
Water Division

Surface Water Data Viewer

Little St. Germaine Lake, L. Helmuth

Little St.Germain Lake, L. Helmuth

The Surface Water Data Viewer (SWDV) is a Wisconsin DNR data delivery system that provides interactive webmapping tools for a wide variety of datasets including chemistry (water, sediment), physical, and biological (macroinvertebrate, aquatic invasives) data.

The new interactive web mapping application for surface water resources has nearly all the capabilities as the old version as well as a number of new features. One major difference between the old and new versions is that the new interface has tabs which group similar sets of tools (similar to MS Word or Excel). Turning on layers, panning and zooming are more seamless; with much shorter page loading times. Other new features include more drawing tools, the ability to add a CSV or Shapefile, and the ability to change coordinate systems.

Note: web browser requirements

To use these interactive maps, you will need Internet Explorer 8 or higher with the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in. If you do not have the Silverlight plug-in installed, Internet Explorer will prompt you to install it.

  • Browsers Google Chrome (starting with version 45) and Microsoft Edge do not support Silverlight and these interactive maps will not work with these browsers.
  • Windows 10 users with Microsoft Edge can choose to view this site with Internet Explorer 11. Open Internet Explorer from the “Tools” menu of Edge.
  • Google Chrome version 44 and lower support the Silverlight plugin.

Launch Surface Water Data Viewer web mapping application

SWDV themes

The SWDV has seven different “themes” or versions. The default is the general theme in which you manually select the datalayers you would like to view. The other themes preselect datalayers for you. Learn more about and explore the following available themes.


The wetlands theme portrays the state’s wetlands and related information upon opening the application. The featured datasets include the Wisconsin Wetland Inventory (Digital version) and a Wetlands Indicators datalayer. These datalayers are designed to help users determine if wetlands are likely present at their site. To learn more information about each layer click on its title. To determine if on-line wetland inventory maps are available for the county you are viewing, click on the Wisconsin map in the left side margin to begin your search.

Layer use suggestions

  • With the Find Location tool, search by either Township, Range, Section, or Civil Town to bring your area of interest into view.
  • Use the Zoom In, Zoom Out, and Move buttons to narrow your focus right on the property.
  • Click on Identify, then click on either an yellow area to find out what kind of wetland is there, or a pink area to find out what kind of soil type is there. Print maps to save for later reference.
  • Visit DNR Wetland Regulatory Programs for more information about wetland permits, and Locating Wetlands for more information about finding wetlands on your land.

Launch Surface Water Data Viewer - Wetlands and Wetland Indicators Theme


The Dams Theme portrays the state’s dams automatically. This online interactive map allows access to the dams inventory in Wisconsin. As an added bonus you can also view Air Photos (for all but six counties) and USGS Topographic Maps. You can turn on or off other datalayers but the dams are the featured dataset. To download the dams datalayer, go to Dams data downloads.

Launch Surface Water Data Viewer - Dams Theme


The Floodplain specialized theme portrays the state’s floodplain mapping datasets including: Floodplain Analysis Data, Digital FIRMs (new format), FIRM Images (old format), Cross Sections, Base Flood Elevations, and FIRM Panel Index. This set of floodplain data, which is continually updated through federal-state partnership work, provides a detailed representation of the most up-to-date floodplain delineations in the state.

Launch Surface Water Data Viewer - Floodplain Program Theme

Designated Waters

An additional specialized "theme" is one that portrays the state’s Designated Waters (critical habitat and other sensitive aquatic resource areas). A Designated Water is a waterbody that has special designations that affect permit requirements.

Please note that Areas of Special Natural Resource Interest (ASNRI) waters and Public Rights Features (PRF) waters are also considered Priority Navigable Waters (PNW). Use the maps on this site to determine whether the lake or stream where you plan a project has a special designation.

How to find Designated Waters:

  • Use the Zoom In, Zoom Out, and Move buttons to navigate the map.
  • From the Find Location menu, select Waterbody Name and County to search for a named waterbody in a particular county.
  • Click on the Identify button, then click on a waterbody on the map to access specific waterbody information and designation details.
  • Go to Print to generate maps of your online information. Visit DNR Waterway and Wetland Protection for additional information.

Launch Surface Water Data Viewer - Designated Waters Theme

Construction Permits

The Construction Permits Theme portrays the state’s online permitting tool. This online interactive map allows access to the datalayers that are involved in proposed permits.

Launch Surface Water Data Viewer - Construction Permits Theme

Fish Advice

The Fish Consumption Advice Theme portrays the state’s existing recommended fish consumption levels. This online interactive map allows access to the datalayers that are involved in different levels of advice.

Launch Surface Water Data Viewer - Fish Consumption Advice Theme

Last revised: Wednesday September 23 2015