Since President Thomas Jefferson asked for a survey of the coast in 1807, Coast Survey has been the nation’s nautical chartmaker. Using the water depths and other data acquired by NOAA hydrographic surveys, Coast Survey creates and updates over a thousand charts covering 95,000 miles of U.S. coastline, publishes the United States Coast Pilot, and responds to navigational emergencies in U.S. waters and at our nation’s ports.
All approved U.S. nautical charts, regardless of who sells them, are created and updated by the Office of Coast Survey.
A NOAA Corps officer traditionally leads the Office of Coast Survey, and the director simultaneously serves as the U.S. National Hydrographer. Kathryn Ries is currently the acting director.
Most of the Coast Survey staff, cartographers, and physical scientists are located at 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. Navigation managers are stationed in port areas around the U.S., and navigation response teams are deployed, based on set priorities, to areas needing surveys. Additionally, the Atlantic Hydrographic Branch is located in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Pacific Hydrographic Branch is in Seattle.