provides world-class information products and services to aid domestic
and global commerce, promote safe and efficient marine and air transportation,
and add to our understanding of the world's oceans in the form of:
charts essential for navigating all U.S. coastal waters,
the Great Lakes and the U.S. territories.
Office of Coast Survey's Historical Map & Chart Collection
contains over 20,000 maps and charts from the late 1700s to
present day. The Collection includes some of the nation's earliest
nautical charts, hydrographic surveys, topographic surveys,
geodetic surveys, city plans and Civil War battle maps. The
Collection is a rich primary historical archive and a testament
to the artistry of copper plate engraving technology of the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Historical Map &
Chart Project scans each map or chart and offers the images
free to the public via the Coast Survey web site.
and tidal current tables and real-time water levels
and currents in ports and harbors to aid in timely and cost-effective
shipping of $500 billion worth of cargo annually.
Surveys Hydrographic surveys are conducted to determine
the configuration of the bottoms of water bodies, especially
as it pertains to navigation. This includes the detection, location
and identification of wrecks and obstructions primarily through
the use of side scan sonar and multibeam sonar technology. Using
this technology, NOAA played a crucial role in finding the wreckage
F. Kennedy, Jr.'s plane and EgyptAir
of the Coast Survey National Survey Plan
Navigational Charts are perhaps the most anticipated
and most critical component of NOAA's suite of navigation tools.
Built to international standards, ENCs are essentially a database
of vector chart features that can be intelligently processed
and displayed by electronic charting systems. As "smart charts,"
ENCs give the user much more information than the paper chart
can. They can be incorporated with Global Positioning System
satellite data and other sensor information (water levels, winds
and weather) to significantly improve navigation safety and
efficiency by warning the mariner of hazards to navigation and
situations where the vessel's current track will take it into
began its release of prototypes of digital vector ENCs for
testing and evaluation by the public. The ENCs are available
solely via the Internet at no cost to any interested party
seeking to download this data.
— This division in the NOAA National Geodetic Survey
provides airport geodetic control, runway, navigational aid,
obstruction, and other aeronautical data that is critical to
the operation of the national airspace system; plans and acquires
aerial photography and compiles shoreline data, primarily for
application to the nautical charts produced by the NOAA Office of Coast
Survey; and conducts research and development using LIDAR
and aerial photography, which was used to map the World
Trade Center disaster site. A
geographic reference network which is the standard for all surveying
and mapping in the U.S. and essential for accurate surveying,
reliable engineering and safe construction; Cooperative
Chart Updating or "Adopt-a-Chart — There are big-hearted
people in this world who adopt children and many more who adopt
pets. However, it takes a special blend of devotion and tenacity
to adopt a nautical chart. Aeronautical
charts critical to the safety of millions of air travelers
annually. Please note that this program is now part of the Federal
- About 3,500 ships are involved annually in accidents on our
nation's waterways—a substantial number of them carrying hazardous
materials resulting in oil or chemical spills. In addition about
6,400 recreational boating accidents are reported annually.
The U.S. has more than 95,000 miles of coastline and over 3.5
million square miles of open waters. In the last 50 years, ships
have doubled in length, width, and draft and waterborne commerce
has tripled, leading to increased risk.
||Coastal Aerial Photography
- Aerial photography has been used to create accurate maps
of the nation's coastline since the late 1930's and became the
sole source for coastal mapping in 1980. This valuable resource
of approximately a half million coastal photographs has many
uses including: coastal management, waterfront development,
natural resource identification, coastal change analysis, habitat
identification, and recreational planning.
- Precise surveys of the nation's coast and navigable
near shore waters are the primary responsibility of the National
Geodetic Survey's Remote Sensing Division. The surveys provide
shoreline data for Nautical Chart production, and accurate geographical
references needed for managing coastal resources.
Sensitivity Index Maps - Environmental
Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps are an integral component in oil-spill
contingency planning and assessment. They serve as the first
source of information in the event of an oil spill incident.
ESI maps are a product of the Hazardous Materials Response Division
of the Office of Response and Restoration (ORR).
- a digital raster compilation of NOAA Ocean Service hydrographic
survey data for selected U.S. estuaries. These data provide
an important piece of the mapping puzzle to those managing our
Nations valuable estuarine resources.
Control Points - a consistent national coordinate system
that precisely defines latitude, longitude, elevation, scale,
gravity, and how these values have changed with time. This information
is absolutely essential for ensuring the reliability of transportation,
communication, and defense systems, boundary and property surveys,
land record systems, mapping and charting, public utilities,
coastal zone management, natural resource mapping, and a multitude
of scientific and engineering applications
Maps & Charts of the Office of Coast Survey contains
several thousand historical maps and charts from the early 1800s
into the mid 1900s. The Collection includes some of the nation's
earliest nautical charts, hydrographic surveys, topographic
surveys, geodetic surveys, city plans and Civil War battle maps.
The Collection is a rich primary historical archive and a testament
to the artistry of copper plate engraving technology of the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Survey Outlines - a geo-spatial index of over 10,000
hydrographic and field exam surveys covering the continental
U.S. and territories that span from 1837 to the present. Users
can locate the limits of individual surveys and retrieve additional
survey specific information.
Finder - "one stop shopping" for images and
data from a number of National Ocean Service (NOS) offices.
The cornerstone of NOS MapFinder is a robust set of products
available directly from the Web. These products are offered
by theme (e.g., coastal aerial photography, low resolution nautical
charts, coastal survey maps, environmental sensitivity index
atlases, hydrographic survey outlines, historical maps, water
level station data, geodetic control points, and estuarine bathymetry
Nautical Charts - NOS MapFinder provides a complete
spatial index of nautical charts for the U.S. and its territories.
The entire suite of over 1,000 nautical charts actually includes
over 2,000 individual charts, chart sections, and chart insets.
NOS MapFinder provides almost all of these charts, sections
and insets as preview raster (85 dpi) images. While not suitable
for navigation, these images are suitable for planning and other
Level Stations - The NOS MapFinder features water level
station information for 103 of the coastal locations. This information
includes geographic station location, descriptive location text,
collected data types, and date of the earliest collected water
level data. Further information on this Program and other programs
of the Oceanographic Products and Services Division can be found