NOAA Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

Data and Tools


Geospatial data serve many purposes in the marine planning process, including visual context, spatial analysis, and cartographic representation. Many resources contain data often cited as critical for marine planning. Below is just a sampling of resources for finding and accessing those data.

Other NOAA Resources

MarineCadastre.Gov provides direct access to authoritative marine boundary and other cadastral data from federal and state sources, as well as a searchable database of coastal and ocean legislation. It includes maritime boundaries that delimit the extent of a nation’s sovereignty, exclusive rights, jurisdiction, and control over the maritime areas off its coast, as well as federal georegulations, the spatial footprints representing coastal and ocean laws, regulations, and rules.

Digital Coast provides data and also the tools, training, and information needed to turn these data into the information most needed by coastal resource management professionals.

ERMA is an online mapping tool that integrates both static and real-time data. ERMA provides environmental resource managers with the data necessary to make informed decisions for environmental response.

Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC) support real-time navigation, as well as the needs of the mariner for collision and grounding avoidance information, and accommodate the real-time display of tides and currents essential for large vessel navigation.

Raster Navigational Charts (RNC) are full-color, georeferenced digital images of NOAA navigational charts. Because the images are georeferenced, users can display a vessel’s position on the chart image using a computer-based navigation system connected to a Global Positioning System (GPS).

nowCoast is a GIS-based Web mapping portal providing integrated, one-stop access to online, real-time coastal environmental observations and NOAA forecasts for any region in the coastal United States.

NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (Oceans) archives and distributes global oceanographic data and information. The data are used to preserve a historical record of the Earth’s changing environment for ocean climate research and for operational applications.

NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (Coastal) has a Digital Atlas Portal that displays ocean expedition locations on a global map. Users can search for cruises by year, theme, and/or cruise name, and the results are then displayed on the map as a color-coded dot.

NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (Geophysical) provides products, and services for seafloor and lakebed data, including geophysics (gravity, magnetics, seismic reflection, bathymetry) and data derived from sediment and rock samples.

NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science has digital imagery as well as chemical, biological, and physical measurements that are used to describe ecosystems, forecast current and future ecological health, and evaluate management strategies.

The NOAA Fisheries Essential Fish Habitat Mapper provides access to essential fish habitat, habitat areas of particular concern, critical habitat (endangered species designations), and other designations.

Other Federal Resources

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management provides access to a variety of navigation and marine infrastructure data sets, such as offshore wells, platforms, and pipelines.

The Ocean Biogeographic Information System provides information on where and when marine species have been recorded. The data sets are integrated so you can search them all seamlessly by species name, higher taxonomic level, geographic area, depth, and time, and then map and find environmental data related to the locations.