National Shoreline Data Content Standard

Document number

not applicable

Maintenance authority

not applicable


The location of our national shorelines is a baseline for legal boundaries, nautical charts, and commercial and natural-resource utilization and management. Effective use of shoreline data requires a highly defined logical data structure that is interoperable, efficient and applicable to a broad base of government and private sector demands. Current practices have lead to a highly variable shoreline data infrastructure. This standard is intended to enhance the shoreline framework by providing technical guidance on shoreline semantics, data structures and their relationships to builders and users of shoreline data.


The geographical scope to the proposed standard comprises shorelines within navigable coastal and inland waterways for the United States, its Commonwealths, and Territories. The functional scope of the standard includes the definition of data models, schemas, entities, relationships, definitions, and cross walks to related standards. Legal controversy has historically surrounded shoreline definitions because of the boundary implications. This standard will provide a framework inclusive of multiple shoreline interpretations, and will not attempt to resolve disputed terminology. Data discovery, transmittal, display, and delivery are not currently part of this standard. This shoreline standard is applicable to any U.S. organizations that generates or modifies shoreline delineations of the navigable coastal and inland waterways.

Project history

Document Version Date Custodian
 Proposal 2004-06-01
FGDC Standards Working Group
 Working draft
 2.0 2006-08 National Geodetic Survey
 Committee draft
2007-01 FGDC Standards Working Group
 Public review draft
2007-03-07 FGDC Secretariat
 Final draft 2010-05 FGDC Standards Working Group
Second public review draft
2013-03 FGDC Standards Working Group