The NOAA 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.
Today's Office of Coast Survey traces its charting efforts back to 1807, when President Thomas Jefferson founded the Survey of the Coast. To celebrate and preserve this long history, NOAA started assembling the collection in 1995 as a data rescue effort. NOAA continues to preserve charts and maps produced by NOAA's Coast Survey and its predecessors, especially the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey and the U.S. Lake Survey (previously under the Department of War).
The collection also covers many areas that most people may not realize were once a part of early Coast Survey history. As the first federal scientific agency, the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (as the agency was known from 1878 to 1970) produced land sketches, Civil War battle maps, and aeronautical charting from the 1930s to the 1950s.
The Historical Map & Chart Project scans each map or chart and offers the images free to the public via the Coast Survey web site. The Project is managed by the Cartographic & Geospatial Technology Program of the Coast Survey Development Laboratory.
Office of Coast Survey's Historical Map & Chart Collection covers the land and waters of the United States of America, including territories and possessions (past and present). The images are free to download, and may be used for commercial or educational purposes. Although not required, we encourage users to cite "NOAA's Historical Map & Chart Collection" when using the image(s).