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Environmental Modeling Community of Practice

BASINS Download and Installation

BASINS was originally introduced in 1996 with subsequent releases in 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2010. The current version of BASINS 4.1 was released in 2013. This page describes the installation requirements for BASINS 4.1, as well as a brief history of the previous versions of BASINS. BASINS 4.1 is the only version of BASINS currently supported by EPA.

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Hardware Requirements and Installation

BASINS is distributed as a single installation program. The setup program provides a software wizard which guides the user through the setup process. BASINS 4.1.1 Executable(1 pg, 154 MB, 2015-09-15) is available for download.

  • Hardware and Software Requirements
    BASINS Version 4.1 provides a suite of plug-ins that customizes MapWindow GIS, providing an application that integrates environmental data, analysis tools, and modeling systems.

    BASINS can be installed and operated on IBM-compatible personal computers (PCs) equipped with the software, random access memory (RAM), virtual memory, and hard disk space presented in the table below. BASINS 4.1 is 64-bit and Windows 8 compatible.


Minimum Requirements

Preferred Requirements

Processor 1GHz processor 2GHz processor or higher
Available hard disk space 2.0 Gb 10.0 Gb
Random access memory (RAM) 512 Mb of RAM plus 2 Gb of page space 1 Gb of RAM plus 2 Gb of page space
Color monitor 16 bit color, Resolution 1024x768 32 bit color, Resolution 1600x1200
Internet Connection WiFi DSL or better
Operating system Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 Same

Installing BASINS 4.1

The BASINS installation program copies BASINS system files, tools, documentation, and models, and it also sets up BASINS icons automatically.

The BASINS installation program allows the user to install the BASINS system and associated models. The BASINS system installation program installs all of these components to the local hard drive in a fixed directory structure. It also sets up a Windows BASINS program group that includes icons for the BASINS components.

When running the installation program, follow the instructions on the screen.

Tip: The BASINS installation program does not copy any BASINS data (except the optional tutorial) to your hard drive.
Tip: If you have multiple hard drives or partitioned drives, you may have only one BASINS directory in each partitioned or physical drive.
  • Note: It is recommended that the BASINS system be installed at the root of a drive. The user must have write access to the folder in which BASINS is installed. Be sure you have administrator privileges before starting the installation. Since some new system files are included in this release, you may need to restart Windows after some files have been updated before continuing with the installation.
  • If you have BASINS 4.0 installed already (or a beta version of 4.1), uninstall it before installing BASINS 4.1. BASINS 4.0 project files and data will not be deleted during the uninstall process. BASINS 4.0 projects (MapWindow .mwprj files) will not open correctly in BASINS 4.1, but the map layers may be loaded into new BASINS 4.1 projects.

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Version History

BASINS 4.1.1

  • BASINS 4.1.1 is a maintenance release of minor fixes.  It also includes updates to the URLs of downloaded datafiles. EPA went through a web server migration which means that data files are now available at a address. This release of BASINS may require the user to run BASINS As Administrator for downloads to work properly.


  • The current release of BASINS is built upon the latest stable release of the non-proprietary, open-source GIS MapWindow GIS (MapWindow website Exit). Along with the update to the underlying GIS platform, the BASINS automatic watershed delineation tools have been updated to use TauDEM version 5 from Utah State University.

    The major functionality of two utilities, GenScn and WDMUtil, have been incorporated into the BASINS user interface. BASINS 4.1 now includes DFLOW, a tool to estimate design stream flows for use in water quality studies. BASINS 4.1 is 64-bit and Windows 8 compatible.


  • The first version of BASINS to be primarily based on a non-proprietary, open-source GIS foundation. MapWindow GIS (MapWindow website Exit) is the lightweight open-source GIS upon which BASINS 4.0 is built. While not being dependent upon any proprietary GIS platform, the core of BASINS 4.0 is designed to complement and interoperate with enterprise and full-featured GIS systems. BASINS 4.0 can import and export projects from ArcView 3.x and ArcGIS 9.x. This interoperability allows users access to features available in these systems but not BASINS 4.0. Along with the change to the underlying GIS platform, the BASINS extensions were refactored as they were ported to the new system.

BASINS 3.0 and Earlier

Information about prior versions of BASINS is provided in the BASINS 4.1 User Manual(1 pg, 27 MB, 2013) .

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