NOS Office of Coast Survey
Office of Coast Survey
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
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Welcome to Office of Coast Survey's Historical Map & Chart Collection

Start your publication search from this page. The publications include Annual Reports, Chart Catalogs, Reports on Special Topics, and much more. They provide context to our Collection.

part of a chart showing a star symbol and a triangle symbol.

For example, on this chart we find a triangle and a five-pointed star and are curious about their meaning and want to find more information. We begin by filling in the appropriate search fields.

Image showing the websites search inputs

Because the chart was published in 1902, we want to find related documents from the same time period. We add Year Min : "1890", Year Max : "1910". We also want to limit our search to publications that contain the word; "symbols", so we added Keyword : "Symbols". Next, we review the results by clicking the open link to open the pdf in a new window.

Image showing the websites results table

Finally, we search the pdf. If the pdf has been through an optical character recognition program, the text is searchable and we can use the pdf search function. Depending on our browser, this step may be done automatically because your keyword search is passed to the pdf by the URL. If it is not done automatically, press " Ctrl & F " keys together to bring up the search field. As a result of the search, we find the five-pointed star symbol represents a lighted beacon and the triangle symbol represents a beacon that is not lighted.

part of a pdf showing list of Hydrographic Signs

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. Submit an Inquiry
Web site owner: United States Office of Coast Survey