NOS Office of Coast Survey

Q: What is a historical chart?
A: Historical charts are nautical charts that contain older information.  Because these charts do not contain the latest safety information, we caution users against using these images for coastal and offshore navigation. 

Q: Can I buy a printed version of the chart?
A: NOAA's Office of Coast Survey does not print historical charts. We recommend contacting your local print shop, which should be able to provide those services with a downloaded copy of the JPG image on CD or web link to the image you require.

Q: What size are the scanned images?
A:The sizes of the charts and maps in the collection vary. When recorded in our database, we provide the document dimensions in the image preview as well as in a supplemental TXT file that accompanies each image download. The average size is 35 x 32 inches.

Q: Can I use these charts to navigate?
A: No! Historical Charts are Not for Navigation. Screen captures of Historical Charts do not fulfill chart carriage requirements for regulated commercial vessels under Titles 33 and 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations. For navigational charts, please visit the Office of Coast Survey website.

Q: Is usage of these images limited by copyright laws?
A: The images are in public domain, so they can be used for any purpose (except for navigation), free of charge. All that we ask is that you cite the website in some way. The preferred format for citation is as follows:

Image from
NOAA's Office of Coast Survey Historical Map & Chart Collection

Q: I cannot find a specific chart or map. How should I search the Collection?
A: Please see search tips page.

Q: I can’t view the entire image preview window on my computer screen.   how can I fix it?
A:   Try increasing your screen resolution to a height greater than 800.

The Historical Map and Charts team is looking for your feedback. Please let us know if you have any comments, questions, or concerns by submitting an inquiry. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
Web site owner: United States Office of Coast Survey