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World Data Service for Geophysics

Shoreline/Coastline Resources

The National Geophysical Data Center provides access to a variety of shoreline/coastline data sets. NGDC is 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.

Downloads

  • Global Self-consistent, Hierarchical, High-resolution Geography Database (GSHHG)
    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.

  • NGDC Desktop Coastline Extractor
    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.

How to Cite

NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Coastline extracted (eg: WVS, GSHHG), Date Retrieved, http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/shorelines/shorelines.html.

Restrictions

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.

Other Resources

Warning: the Online Coastline Extractor is no longer updated or supported. 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.

Related Data at NGDC

Coastal Relief Models at NGDC

Related NOAA Links:

NOAA Shoreline Website

NOAA Shoreline Data Explorer

NOAA Shoreline Data via the National Geodetic Survey Coastal Mapping Program

NOAA Historical Shoreline Survey Viewer

Related non-NOAA Links

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Digital Nautical Chart

CIA World DataBank II (Rivers and Political Boundaries