Government Maps and Charts

NOAA Central Library's (NCL) map collection contains cartographic material published by government agencies. Most of these maps and charts are received through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and are cataloged under the SuDocs classification system. You will find the maps in the flat file cabinets and shelf files located in the southeast corner of the library.


NOAA Nautical Charts

NOAA's National Ocean Service produces nautical charts that contain information about the nature and form of the coast, the depths of the water and general character and configuration of the sea bottom, locations of dangers to navigation, the rise and fall of the tides, locations of navigation aids, and characteristics of the earth's magnetism. To learn more about nautical charts, go to the Office of Coast Survey site.

NCL maintains a large collection of NOAA nautical charts, both current and past editions from about 1993 when it became a Federal Depository Library. The library also recently acquired earlier editions of some Pacific and Atlantic coast nautical charts published in 1969 by one of NOAA's predecessor agences - U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Nautical charts are accessed by five digit number as found in the Nautical Chart Catalog. (Exceptions to this five digit number are chart numbers 50, 411, 500, 501, 530, and 531). You can access the Nautical Chart Catalog online via the Office of Coast Survey website. Once you have the chart number you can check its availability at NCL using the catalog record for NOAA nautical charts [Nautical chart, C 55.418/7: ]. Contact the reference desk if you cannot find the chart you need. You can also view NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts or NOAA Raster Navigational Charts online.

Dates of Latest Editions: NOS Nautical Charts & Misc. Maps is an important tool that helps identify current editions of nautical charts. Charts with edition dates prior to those listed in this publication are obsolete for use in navigation. The charts are listed by number, so you have to consult chart catalogs to identify chart titles you need.

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NOAA Historical Map and Chart Collection

The Historical Map and Chart Collection of the Office of Coast Survey 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 digital images of these charts and maps are available for free via the Image Catalog.

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Nautical Charts by Other Agencies

These non-NOAA nautical chart products are not part of the Federal Depository Program and therefore do not have a SuDocs number.

British Admiralty Charts

An agreement exists between the NOAA Central Library and the UK Hydrographic Office concerning the charts that are sent to us under Reciprocal Exchange. These charts are filed in flat file cabinets in the map area and are labeled British Admiralty Charts. Note that some of these charts are also considered part of the International Chart Series (see note below). They are currently filed within the correct drawer but not in correct order. Library retains the latest edition of these charts. Use Admiralty Online Catalogue to identify the chart number you need.

Canadian Hydrographic Service

Canadian nautical charts published by Canadian Hydrographic Service and distributed by NIMA were received through the Federal Depository Program (item number 0378-E-21). Library keeps the latest revision. These charts haven't been cataloged and are filed in the flat file cabinets in no particular order.

German Hydrographic Office

Nautical charts received from German Hydrographic Office (Bundesamt fuer Seeschiffahrt und Hydrographie) are not cataloged. Small craft charts which are small in size are filed in a small flat file cabinet; regular ones are in a large flat file cabinet.

NGA (former NIMA) Charts

These charts are located in 3 drawers of a large flat file cabinet underneath the later part of the NOAA nautical flat charts. These maps have not been cataloged in the NOAA Central Library.

NOTE: The International Map Series is a series of nautical charts that is comprised of charts from many agencies throughout the world. It is run under the auspices of the International Hydrographic Organization. These charts are labeled with an INT number in addition to the number assigned by their producing agency.

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Federal Aviation Administration Aeronautical Charts


These aeronautical charts used to be published by NOAA's National Ocean Service until the publication was taken over by the Federal Aviation Administration in October 2000. Only a few of these charts are held in print format at NCL, but they are available to view and order online through the FAA website.

Chart descriptions are taken from the FAA online catalog.

North Atlantic Route Charts

North Atlantic Route Charts are designed for FAA Controllers to monitor trans-Atlantic flights. This 5-color chart shows oceanic control areas, coastal navigation aids, oceanic reporting points, NAVAID coordinates and reporting points. Full Size Chart: Scale 1 inch = 113.1nm/1:8,250,000; 39 x 28 inches, shipped flat only. Reduced Size Chart: Scale 1 inch = 150.8nm/1:11,000,000; 29-3/4 x 20-1/2 inches, shipped folded to 5 x 10 inches only. Revised every 56 days.

North Pacific Route Charts

North Pacific Route Charts are designed for FAA Controllers to monitor trans-Pacific flights. The 5-color charts show established intercontinental air routes, including reporting points with geographic positions. Composite Chart: Scale 1 inch = 164nm/1:12,000,000; 59-1/2 x 41-1/2 inches. Area Charts: Scale 1 inch = 95.9nm/ 1:7,000,000; 59-1/2 x 41-1/2 inches. All charts are shipped flat. Revised every 56 days.

Sectional Aeronautical Charts

Sectional Aeronautical Charts are designed for visual navigation of slow to medium speed aircraft. The topographic information featured consists of the relief and a judicious selection of visual checkpoints used for flight under visual flight rules. The checkpoints include populated places, drainage patterns, roads, railroads, and other distinctive landmarks. The aeronautical information on Sectional Charts includes visual and radio aids to navigation, airports, controlled airspace, restricted areas, obstructions, and related data.

VFR Terminal Area Charts

Terminal Area Charts depict the airspace designated as Class B airspace. The information found on these charts, while similar to that found on Sectional Charts, is shown in much more detail because of the larger scale. These charts should be used by pilots intending to operate from airfields within or near Class B airspace or Class C airspace.

U.S. Gulf Coast VFR Aeronautical Chart

U.S. Gulf Coast VFR Aeronautical Chart is designed primarily for helicopter operations in the Gulf of Mexico area. Information depicted includes offshore mineral leasing areas and blocks, oil drilling platforms, and high-density helicopter activity areas, 55x27 inches folded to 5x10 inches. Revised annually.

Helicopter Route Charts

Helicopter Route Charts are three-color charts that depict current aeronautical information useful to helicopter pilots navigating in areas with high concentrations of helicopter activity. Information depicted includes helicopter routes, four classes of heliports with associated frequency and lighting capabilities, NAVAIDS, and obstructions. In addition, pictorial symbols, roads, and easily-identified geographical features are portrayed. Since helicopter charts have a longer life span than other NOAA products, all new editions of these charts will be printed on synthetic paper. These charts are updated as requested by the Federal Aviation Administration.

World Aeronautical Charts

World Aeronautical Charts cover land areas at a standard size and scale for navigation by moderate speed aircraft and aircraft operating at high altitudes. The topographical information includes city tints, principal roads, railroads, distinctive landmarks, drainage patterns and relief. The aeronautical information includes visual and radio aids to navigation, airports, airways, restricted areas, obstructions and other pertinent data.

IFR Enroute Low Altitude U.S.

IFR Enroute Low Altitude Alaska

Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Enroute Low Altitude Charts provide aeronautical information for navigation under instrument flight rules below 18,000 feet MSL.

IFR Enroute High Altitude U.S.

IFR Enroute High Altitude Alaska

Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Enroute High Altitude Charts (Conterminous U.S. and Alaska) are designed for navigation at or above 18,000 ft MSL.

IFR Area Charts U.S.

Area Charts show congested terminal areas at a large scale.

All IFR charts are revised every 56 days.

IFR/VFR Low Altitude Planning Chart

IFR/VFR Low Altitude Planning Chart is designed for preflight and enroute flight planning for IFR/VFR flights. The chart is printed front-East, back-West, with insets for the east coast from Washington, D.C. to Boston and on the west coast, the Los Angeles/San Diego area. Information includes the depiction of low altitude LF/MF and VHF airways and mileages, navigational facilities, airports, special use airspace areas, cities, time zones, major drainage, a directory of airports with their airspace classification and a mileage table showing great circle distances between major airports, 40 x 36 inches. Revised annually.

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National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Charts

These charts are produced by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (formerly National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), formerly DMA) and distributed by NOAA.

Tactical Pilotage Charts (TPC Charts)

The Tactical Pilotage Chart supports high-speed, low-altitude radar, and visual navigation of high-performance tactical and reconnaissance aircraft from low to medium altitudes. It is designed to assist close air operations by providing visual and radar navigation information. The knowledge of map symbology becomes important to understand cultural features depicted on the chart.

The library retains select editions of TPC charts (1980-2003). NOAA no longer produces and distributes these charts. Since October 2000, responsibility has been transferred to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). For current editions, please contact the FAA's Distribution Division. Historical versions of the Tactical Pilotage Chart series may also be available via University of Texas Libraries.

Jet Navigation Charts (JNC Charts)

JNC charts are in shelf files next to the TPC charts. The primary purpose of the Jet Navigation Chart is to support high-altitude computer assisted radar navigation/bombing by strategic aircraft. Information considerations are selected to support celestial, radar, and dead reckoning navigation.
Like TPC charts, the library retains the latest editions of JNC charts.

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U.S. Geological Survey Cartographic Products

These U.S.Geological Survey products were received through the Federal Depository Library Program.

U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Reports

I 19.91:
These products are map and text products packaged in one folder (usually manila). There are several series to these products CP, GQ, HA, I and MF. These are cataloged as individual items in NOAALINC and are housed in shelf files in the map area.

U.S. Geological Survey Topographic Quadrangles

I 19.81:
We have the 7.5 minute topographic quadrangles for the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. They are in small flat file cabinets in alphabetical order by state.

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Online Map Resources

  • The National Map - The Nation's Topographic Map for the 21st Century. Access to high-quality, geospatial data and information from the USGS as well as federal, state, and local partners. (USGS)
  • National Atlas of the United States - Explore or download a comprehensive collection of small-scale geospatial data from federal agencies.
  • National Ocean Service Bathymetric and Fishing Maps - Provides an interactive map (ArcIMS) graphic selection page. Map previews in .pdf form and full-size compressed .TIFF images of maps are available for free download through the ArcIMS interface or from a list of maps. (National Geophysical Data Center)
  • USGS Geo Data Portal - One-stop portal for federal, state, and local geographic data. (USGS)
  • Nautical Chart Catalog - State, regional, sailing, and general charts from the Office of Coast Survey, NOAA.
  • NOAA's On-line Chart Viewer - Up-to-date nautical charts you can view on the internet. (Office of Coast Survey, NOAA)
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) - Descendant of the Defense Mapping Agency/National Imagery and Mapping Agency.
  • FAA Digital Products - This online catalog provides product descriptions and indices depicting product series coverage for civil aeronautical charts and flight information publications produced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO).
  • TopoZone - Free interactive USGS topographic maps of the entire United States from a USGS Digital Cartographic Business Partner.
  • MapMachine - Satellite, street maps, and more in the online atlas of National Geographic.
  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection - Current interest, general interest, historical map collection.

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