Surveys & Wrecks  
  Hydrographic Products  
     •   Survey Data  
     •   Wrecks and Obstructions  
  Standards and Requirements  
     •   Field Procedures Manual  
     •   Specifications and Deliverables  
     •   XML Hydrographic Reports  
     •   Hydrographic Survey Manual  
     •   IHO Standards  
     •   Survey Vessels  
     •   Hydrographic Survey Priorities  
     •   Contract Hydrographic Surveys  
  Learn About Hydrography  
     •   What is Hydrographic Surveying?  
     •   History of Hydrographic Surveying  
     •   Side Scan Sonar  
     •   Multibeam Echo Sounders  
     •   LIDAR  
     •   Horizontal & Vertical Positioning  
     •   Dangers to Navigation: Notice to Mariners  

Survey Data
Office of Coast Survey conducts surveys of the ocean floor, creating detailed hydrographic maps of depths and features. Here you can download that survey data directly, getting additional details on the ocean floor not shown on the nautical charts. We have historic surveys going back hundreds of years, providing snapshots and trends in sea floor change.
View and Download Current Survey Data
Bathymetry Data Viewer The primary tool for viewing and downloading NOAA survey data is the Bathymetry Data Viewer (link for Viewer: http://maps.ngdc.noaa.gov/viewers/bathymetry/). It provides a map of all NOAA surveys, current and historic.

Several different datasets can be selected within the Data Viewer:
Surveys with BAGs – Recent NOAA surveys from last 10 years, in the latest data formats. These include the bathymetric data, images, and survey reports. This is the primary source for Coast Survey data.

Surveys with Digital Sounding Data - All NOAA surveys over last 100 years, using a variety of historic data formats.
Multibeam –  Data from US Coast Guard, research groups, and others.  Data is roughly 1990-current.
Single-Beam – Most data pre-1990 was single beam, though some recent surveys may be Single-Beam.

The format of the surveys varies depending on the survey year, and may include PDF, GeoImage PDF, XYZ, A93, and BAG, plus survey metadata. Click here for detailed descriptions of the file formats, listed under “Data Products”. (link for Data Products description: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/bathymetry/hydro.html)

View and Download Historic Survey Data
Office of Coast Survey historic charts are available via the web or mail on the following portals.
Bathymetric and Fishing Maps Bathymetric and Fishing Maps
Download detailed contour maps of US waters. These maps have not been updated since 1990, but they may provide additional detail of the sea floor, and are useful for fishing and undersea exploration. They are not for navigation.
Link: Ocean maps
Link: Great Lakes maps
Coast Survey Historical Maps and Charts Coast Survey Historical Maps and Charts
Every prior edition of every chart in the full Coast Survey catalog is available here, going back hundreds of years. This includes charts with historic features, such as LORAN-C lines (typically available on chart editions released prior to 2010).
Also archived are products processed from past hydrographic surveys, as well as other source data that went into chart production. 
Link: Historic Charts
National Archives and Records Administration National Archives and Records Administration
NARA is the permanent archive for original hard copy hydrographic survey records, such as descriptive reports and smooth sheets. Record location information for many surveys is available in the Rap Sheet metadata view through Bathymetry Data Viewer as described above.
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi RoError! Hyperlink reference not valid.ad College Park, Maryland 20740; carto@nara.gov

Library of Congress
Holds a limited number of hydrographic survey field records. These records are listed in the Library’s catalog.

Library of Congress Geography and Map Division
101 Independence Avenue, S.E. Washington D.C.20540; (202) 797-6277

Non-OCS Ocean Floor Data
Many other US government agencies and private organizations collect data on the ocean floors.
Below is a short list of resources that may be of use.
IHO Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry The International Hydrographic Organization Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry (IHO DCDB) is the steward for worldwide bathymetric data. Here you’ll find survey data spanning much of the world’s waters, including NOAA data on US waters. (http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/iho/)
Trackline Geophysical Data Viewer Provides access to bathymetry (single-beam), magnetics, gravity and seismic reflection data collected during marine cruises from 1939 to the present. Data sources include US and non-US oceanographic institutions, universities, and government agencies with worldwide data coverage. (link: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/geodas/trackline.html)
US Geological Survey:
Coastal and Marine Geology
Detailed seafloor maps, useful for identifying undersea erosion, shoreline change, faults, and movement of sediment and pollutants. (link: http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/pacmaps/index.html)
NCEI Data Portals NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information is NOAA’s primary data steward, collecting data from across NOAA and many partner organizations. See their full list of data portals here. (link: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/bathymetry/relief.html)
US Army Corps of Engineers USACE are responsible for surveying much of the US inland waterways and ship channels. Each district maintains their own database of survey sheets, select a location and district to find files available for download. (link: http://www.usace.army.mil/)

Data Files and Formats
Survey data and products available from NCEI via the Bathy Data Viewer vary depending on the age of survey, but generally include Descriptive Reports (DRs), smooth sheet images, survey data images, and gridded digital bathymetric data for use in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The NOSHDB also contains bathymetric data digitized from smooth sheets of hydrographic surveys completed between 1837 and the mid-1970s, and higher resolution digital data for surveys acquired and processed electronically since the early 1970s. Some survey records may also include raster images of side scan or multibeam sonar backscatter mosaics.
BAG (Bathymetric Attributed Grid) Detailed georeferenced file of soundings captured in survey. These files are useful for building complex charts, and are included in most NOAA surveys conducted in last 10 years. These files require a GIS viewer (Geographic Information Systems), of which NCEI provides a sample list of programs (link: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/bathymetry/multibeam.html).
Geoimage PDF Detailed georeferenced survey data, overlaid on a PDF image. Can be viewed using Adobe PDF viewer. Allows access to the full dataset without the use of high-end GIS software. When downloading a survey in the Bathy Data Viewer, these are filed under the ‘Images’ tab.
Descriptive Report Narrative document describing the conditions under which the work was performed and factors affecting the adequacy and accuracy of the results. Scanned as PDF.
Smooth Sheet Narrative document describing the conditions under which the work was performed and factors affecting the adequacy and accuracy of the results. Scanned as PDF.

Page last edited: January 9, 2017

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