NOAA Shoreline Website

A Guide to National Shoreline Data and Terms

About This Site

The purpose of this website is to provide clear information about vector shoreline data generated by federal agencies, as well as easy access to these data. The home page provides direct access to shoreline-specific information and, for those who need more background, simple explanations of the common uses of shoreline data. A frequently asked questions section explains some commonly misunderstood topics, and a glossary defines shoreline terms.

The original intent of this site was to alleviate confusion about shorelines generated by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) agencies. However, the scope was expanded to include other commonly used federal shorelines. As a result, the site includes detailed descriptions for seven federal vector shorelines, many of which are derived from the same raw data sources. Because the characteristics of these shorelines can be similar, the differences among them can often be explained best by describing the specific purposes for which they were created.

This website is a culmination of the longstanding efforts of several NOAA branches and offices and other federal agencies to provide the public with accurate and useful shoreline data. The site was developed and designed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management in cooperation with NOAA's National Geodetic Survey, Office of Coast Survey, as well as the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.