World Data Service for Geophysics
About the Databases:
The National Geophysical Data Center provides access to a variety of shoreline/coastline data sets. NGDC is the official distribution point for both the online coastline extractor and the downloadable desktop extractor. We are a mirror site for the GSHHG database and also provide links to a variety of coastline resources (both NOAA and non-NOAA sources). All datasets are in WGS84 geographic (simple latitudes and longitudes; decimal degrees) horizontal datum.
The GSHHG is a high-resolution geography data set including coastlines, political borders, and rivers available for file download in either ESRI shapefile format or in a native binary format.
The desktop extractor imports and exports any shoreline or boundary file in shapefile format or various standard ASCII formats. This includes the coastlines listed below as well as GSHHS and various other coastlines, such as those listed in the panel on the right.
Warning: Coastlines available through the online extractor are not updated, not authoritative, and most are deprecated. We highly recommend using the GSHHG coastline database which is maintained, updated, and extractable using the NGDC Desktop Tool (above).
The online extractor offers subsetting of the four (static) coastline datasets listed below, and exports into various standard ASCII output formats.
- World Coastlines and Lakes (Crude resolution), global, suitable for map scales of 5,000,000 or smaller.
- World Data Bank II (Fair resolution), global, suitable for map scales of 2,000,000 or smaller. Includes international and internal political boundaries and rivers.
- World Vector Shoreline (Better resolution), global, suitable for map scales of 1:250,000 or smaller. The controlling vertical datum is North American Vertical Datum of 1929 (NAVD29) and references the mean high (MHW) shoreline position on the published Nautical Charts.
- NOAA/NOS Medium Resolution Digital Vector Shoreline (Best resolution), United States coverage digitized from NOAA nautical charts, suitable for map scales of 1:70,000 or smaller. The controlling vertical datum is North American Vertical Datum of 1929 (NAVD29) and references the mean high (MHW) or mean higher high (MHHW) shoreline position on the published Nautical Charts.
How to Cite:
NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Coastline extracted (eg: WVS, GSHHG), Date Retrieved, http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/shorelines/shorelines.html.
Coastline products distributed by NGDC are in the public domain and are not subject to copyright protection within the United States, except for the GSHHG Database, which is released under the GNU Lesser General Public license.