Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists are developing a computer application called the River Bathymetry Toolkit (RBT) that automatically extracts quantitative channel shape information from digital maps. This research and development has been funded by the Rocky Mountain Research Station, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Bonneville Power Administration, all of which recognized the Toolkit as an answer to the need for a safer, faster, and simpler way to describe channel structure and habitat. The RBT can measure a channel at thousands of locations on a digital model in place of a researcher wading into the channel at several locations to take only a few samples. The technology can also be used to assess climate change impacts because it allows scientists to map and describe critical areas, such as off-channel habitat, in the current state as well as under different climate change scenarios. The Toolkit benefits the public who is concerned about threatened and endangered species because it informs watershed managers, fish biologists, and aquatic ecologists, allowing them to make better decisions. In combination with new remote sensing methods for mapping channels, this tool gives scientists a much more powerful way to describe aquatic habitat and the physical characteristics of a channel.