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Story Maps

Sometimes a map is worth a thousand words! Explore custom maps that entertain and educate.
NOTE: Most story maps are large, single-page multimedia presentions. When using a mobile device, we recommend viewing over WiFi.

An image showing the Erie Canal at Waterford, New York during a festival. Credit: Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor/Halldor K. Sigurdsson.
Digitizing the Erie Canal

The construction of the Erie Canal was one of 19th Century America’s most significant feats of engineering. Built between 1817 and 1825, the canal provided a water route from Albany to Buffalo, New York, nearly 363 miles to the west. Currently, charts of this waterway are undergoing changes to usher them into the digital era of electronic navigational charts.

A scientist testing a gravimeter instrument
International Comparison of Absolute Gravimeters

Every four years, scientists and researchers from around the world meet for the International Comparison of Absolute Gravimeters (ICAG). In 2023, NOAA's Table Mountain Gravity Observatory (TMGO) in Colorado played host to participants operating 38 instruments to verify the consistency of their measurements.

flooded coastal roads in California
Resilient Coastal Roads

A 20-year partnership between the California Coastal Commission and California Department of Transportation provides an important foundation for the state to more holistically approach the threats that climate change — especially sea level rise — present to critical infrastructure along the California coast.

Field-based Mesocosms: Construction and Deployment
Innovative Tool to Transfer Technology to Spill Responders

NCCOS researchers created a StoryMap that shows oil and chemical spill responders how to build and use a new, spill assessment tool designed by NCCOS.

screenshot of story map, showing the United States and text that says economic impact of marine debris on tourism
Economic impacts

The tourism and recreation sector is the largest employer in the ocean and Great Lakes economy. This sector relies heavily on healthy coastal and ocean resources as well as the aesthetic quality of the environment. Unfortunately, marine debris is a pervasive issue in many coastal areas of the United States.

screenshot of story map, showing Harmful Algal Bloom response activities
Socioeconomic impacts

The human dimensions of harmful algal blooms (HABs) are becoming more apparent as they increase in frequency, magnitude and geographic scope. Preparing coastal communities for emerging and growing hazardous HAB events is key to reducing their impacts. Learn more about how HABs affect coastal communities and economies.

screenshot of story map showing Exxon Valdez responders
The Oil Pollution Act

The 1990 Oil Pollution Act significantly improved measures to prevent, prepare for, and respond to oil spills in U.S. waters. This historic legislation gives NOAA and other agencies the authority to address impacts to natural resources caused by oil spills in U.S. waters and shorelines, and to hold polluters accountable. Thirty years later, take a look back at the major spills in 1989 that led to the Act.

map of united states showing boundaries
Marine Boundaries and Statutes

This story map outlines the history of U.S. marine boundaries, how they have changed over time, and how current boundary data have been developed in support of offshore energy and marine planning communities.

women in a canoe looking through binoculars
Make the Most of the Coast

MPAs are special places set aside to help protect and restore marine life and habitats in the ocean and Great Lakes. These marine parks also provide countless opportunities to experience our ocean and coastal waters.

The Wilmington-East Wind Energy Area (WEA) encompasses approximately 160 square nautical miles (134,000 acres) of the seafloor and is located 20 miles offshore Cape Fear, NC
Mapping Benthic Habitats

North Carolina has some of the best conditions to support offshore wind energy in the Southeast U.S. See how NOAA and partners mapped the sea floor in this area to find the best spots for potential wind energy sites.

map showing track of displaced vessels
Response and Restoration Tools

NOAA provides scientific support to understand, predict, prepare for, respond to, and recover from severe weather events. As part of this, see how we gather and display information about boats that are displaced during hurricanes so responders can efficiently address these threats.

a fishing boat
Commercial Fishing

There are about 120,000 workers in the U.S. commercial fishing industry. Explore the diversity of commercial fishing activities with maps, charts, and photos to see how this is reflected in the workforce.

screenshot of story map, showing the United States and text that says economic impact of marine debris on tourism
An Economic Tour

The Economics: National Ocean Watch (E-NOW) data set provides time series statistics on the ocean and Great Lakes economy. Take a tour with this story map to learn about the six sectors represented in this data.

shipping containers
Driving Economic Activity

The health of our nation's economy is tied to the health of the oceans and Great Lakes. The resources of the oceans and Great Lakes create jobs across the country and increase the quality of life for all Americans.

urbanized areas map
Urban Development

From 1996-2010, about 50 percent of the total population growth of urbanized areas in the nation was in the coastal regions. Take a deep dive into coastal population growth patterns.

fish on a reef
Predicting Cetacean Health

Maps, visuals, and stories help translate scientific whale and dolphin modeled data into more easily understood information needed for making ocean and coastal management decisions.

fish on a reef
Take a Virtual Dive

Scientists at Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary use unmanned submersibles to better keep track of changing conditions. Dive in to see how they do it and what they've found.

Pacific coral reef
2017 Pacific Mission

This story map takes you on a journey through some of the most remote and pristine locations on the planet. Follow along with researchers during an 88-day mission to survey and study coral reef ecosystems.

hurricane matthew
Effect on Atlantic Coast

See how coastal water levels from southeastern Florida to Delaware were impacted by 2016's Hurricane Matthew as the storm traveled along the coast. Water levels at seven NOAA tide stations exceeded historical maximums.

Whale captain in 18th with family
African American History Month

In this story map, NOAA Sanctuaries honors the African American men and women who faced the horrors of slavery and generations of systemic racism to help build the nation's sanctuary communities and our maritime nation.

kids swimming underwater
Pacific Islander/Asian American Heritage Month

Pacific Islander/Asian American Heritage Month was established to recognize the history, concerns, contributions, and achievements of Pacific Islander/Asian Americans.

red herring swimming in river
NOAA 2018 Restoration Efforts

In fiscal year 2018, NOAA reached agreements totaling $34.3 million with cooperating companies across America to restore natural resources damaged by oil spills and industrial pollution. View the year's restoration projects of public resources like fish, wildlife, habitats, and recreation.

illustration of a healthy reef ecosystem
Coral Reef Assessment and Triage

In 2017, major hurricanes Irma and Maria had significant impacts on Puerto Rico, including their coral reefs. This story map highlights data and images collected as part of a recent study examining the impacts to the shallow water coral reefs surrounding the archipelago of Puerto Rico.

destroyed bridge from Hurricane Katrina
Coastal Dynamics of Sea Level Rise

Storm surge results in flooding and has a powerful effect on the coastal zone, but how will storm surge look in the future? This story map shows simulations for storm surge in four areas of the Gulf of Mexico.

coastal sea level rise animation
Coastal Dynamics of Sea Level Rise

As sea levels rise in the 21st century, how will marsh productivity be impacted? And what management actions can be taken now to mitigate these future changes? See how the Hydro-MEM model aims to forecast marsh productivity and mean high water under various sea level rise scenarios.

Marsh Vulnerability in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary
Story Map Highlights Marsh Vulnerability in San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary

An NCCOS-sponsored project, funded in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), has published a “story map” that advances knowledge about tidal marshes in the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary and their vulnerability to sea-level rise.

Vibrio Predictive Models
Vibrio Predictive Models

A story map has been created to describe the different Vibrio Predictive Models produced by NCCOS. These predictive models help ensure oysters are harvested when they are safer to eat, assisting coastal managers and oyster growers in oyster harvest decision making nationwide.

map showing track of displaced vessels
Response and Restoration

Sea lions, seals, dolphins, and whales are some of the marine mammals at risk of oil spills and marine pollution. To prepare for future disasters, NOAA’s marine mammal and oil spill experts worked together to publish "Guidelines for Assessing Exposure and Impacts of Oil Spills on Marine Mammals."

coastal sea level rise animation
Coastal Community Protection

At Swan Island, high rates of shoreline erosion and subsidence have deteriorated the island’s natural habitat and its ability to shelter the nearby town of Ewell, Md., from wave energy. This project will increase the long-term resilience of the island and its capacity to defend adjacent shorelines from wave energy.

OCS report cover
NOAA Office of Coast Survey 2023 Year in Review

In 2023, OCS completed many significant activities with meaningful impacts, in support of OCS fundamental goal of delivering customers authoritative ocean and lakebed mapping information and models, in fit-for-purpose formats, in a timely fashion.