NOAA Frequently Asked Questions Sunday, February 9, 2003
What is a NOAA Chart?

The NOAA Charts on Atlas are nautical charts. As stated by the NOAA Mapfinder Web site:

"Nautical charts are fundamental navigational tools required for safe passage of waterborne commerce. They can also serve as base maps for resource management and shoreline development planning. Charts depict the location of the shoreline, minimum water depths, aids to navigation, hazards to navigation and much more. They are the primary product of the NOS Coast Survey."
For more information about NOAA Navigational Charts, visit

For more information about other products avaiable from NOAA, visit the NOAA NOS Mapfinder at

What areas of the state are covered?

The NOAA charts on Altas cover mostly the coastal areas and the Mississippi River.
What is the format of the charts? The charts are stored as black and white TIF files. They do NOT include world files or Geotiff headers. The resolution of the files vary.
What is the time period of the charts? Most of the current charts are from 1852 to 1916. Only a few are from 1995 to 2000.
Atlas shows NOAAG and NOAAS as two collections of NOAA charts. What is the difference?

The NOAAG and NOAAS designations are Atlas designations to distinguish the charts that cover large areas of the Gulf of Mexico (NOAAG) from the charts that cover a portion of Louisiana and surrounding states (NOAAS)..

How can I view the charts? Any program that can display a TIF file can view the charts. However, GIS applications such as Intergraph Geomedia and ESRI ArcView will NOT be able to register them since there is no registration information.
How do I get color digital charts?
How do I get registered charts?
How do I get more recent charts?
Visit the NOAA NOS Mapfinder site at for more information about getting charts in color, for ordering paper versions, and for obtaining georeferenced charts. Also, check this site for information on NOAA charts and other products for other parts of the United States.