Measuring and Mapping Navigable Waters, Beaches and Shorelines

The U.S. was only three decades old when President Thomas Jefferson ordered a survey of the nation’s coasts. The Survey of the Coast, an organization dedicated to providing nautical charts to the maritime community, was established, and hydrographic surveying became instrumental in supporting the nation’s economic and environmental well-being.

Hydrographic surveying is the process of measuring and mapping beaches, shorelines and navigable bodies of water.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), more than three-quarters of all U.S. goods and supplies are transported via water. Imagine the danger posed to ships if outdated nautical maps fail to show waterway obstructions or accurate water depth. Or think about a community trying to prevent beach erosion without fully understanding where sand is eroding or building up.

Hydrographic surveying ensures that coastal resources are kept healthy and safe, and supports the U.S. economy by providing safe passage for ships transporting products around the globe.

Hydro Collage