GSDA:Obtaining Coastline Data from NOAA NGDC

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  1. Select the, "Obtain coastline data from NOAA NGDC" link, or go directly with this link http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/shorelines/shorelines.html. This will take you to the NGDC shoreline/coastline databases webpage.
  2. Click the Coastline Extractor link in the middle of the page. It will take you to the extractor tool.
  3. Input the bounding coordinates of the coast you wish to get data points for. If you don't know the correct coordinates use the Java Map. Another helpful map is the NGDC Coastal Relief Model.

    As an example use the following coordinates, 121.5° to 123.5° West and 46.5° to 49°North. These correspond to Puget Sound in Oregon.

  4. Once you have specified an area you must now select a database. Default database is set at 1:250K. Since Puget Sound is located in the USA choose the NOAA/NOS Medium Resolution Coastline in the Coastline data base dropdown box. This is the best resolution at 1:70K scale.
    NOTE: There are three more coastline databases which include world data, but range from 1:250K scale at best to 1:5M scale. The 1:70K scale dataset is only available for US coastal data.
  5. Defaults for compression, format, and preview should be: none, Mapgen, and GMT Plot respectively. Leave them defaulted and click the SUBMIT – Extract the Coastline File button. This will open up a page displaying your requested data and a link to the equivalent data file.
  6. Right-click on the data link and select Save Target As. Then save the file to your computer.
    HINT: Select a more proper name when you save it, like pugetsound. It is possible to save the file as *.DAT or as *.txt; either will be readily assimilated into SMS.

The coastline data that you have sought is now yours. It is possible to import it into SMS models.