Have you ever wondered what the Seattle Harbor Chart looked like in 1901?
NOAA is scanning over 30,000 charts from their 150++ year history and releasing the high quality scans free to the public for Students, Historians, Researchers and anyone to download and print. The 300 dpi scans make the files a bit on the large side, however NOAA has done a good job making it easy to download the charts.
NOAA’s Historic Charts web site lets visitors search for charts by name or area on a map. I clicked on Alki Point in West Seattle and they listed almost 500 charts!
The charts are listed with a preview mode to let you see what the chart is before downloading it. The charts can be downloaded one at a time or added to a shopping cart. Don’t let the title “Shopping Cart” fool you, the downloads are free. If a chart is added to the shopping cart, all the selected charts will be put in a zip file and only one file needs to be downloaded. Also downloaded with the chart files is a text file with additional information about the selected chart.
NOAA has also put together a rotating collections section highlighting various historic areas and events. As I write this the collections cover Charting a More Perfect Union, 1861 – 1865, New York Bay and Harbor, Washington DC Plats and a series of maps covering part of the boundary between Alaska and Canada.
NOAA also has a links page with links to historic Coast Pilots going back to 1796, Historic current survey data, and much more as well as links to other sources of historic maps and charts and historic resources for other government agencies.
All original images are from NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey Historical Map & Chart Collection http://historicalcharts.noaa.gov
I would like to thank the entire NOAA team for the more than a decade of work so far in getting the charts available to the public, with 30,000 charts scanned and the number of charts rising every year, the sorting, indexing and making sure the best copy is scanned as well as duplicates sorted out. Truly a monster of a task. A special thanks also to Meredith Westington, Chief Geographer, NOAA/NOS/Office of Coast Survey and Nick Perugini – NOAA Affiliate, for answering several questions I had for this article.
NOAA also has over 1,000 Free BookletCharts™ available for free download in PDF format for printing yourself. BookletCharts™ are 8.5 by 11 inch reduced scale nautical charts designed for recreational and small boats.
I have downloaded and converted a few selected charts from the Puget Sound / Seattle area to PDF format for your convenience.
Click on the chart image to see a larger size sample image or download the PDF file.
The chart from 1798 from the George Vancouver expedition is one of my favorites and the favorite of my friends and teachers. Several have the chart hanging on their walls at home or in the classroom.
Chart of the Pacific Ocean
Exhibiting the Tracks and Researches of the U.S. Exploring Expedition. 1844
Puget Sound 1841
Navigation Chart of Admiralty Inlet, Puget sound, and Hoods Canal, Oregon Territory
Navigation Chart of Washington Sound and Approaches, Washington Territory 1866
Seattle Harbor Chart 1901
Seattle / Alki Chart 1901
Seattle to Bremerton Chart 1948
Seattle Harbor Chart,
Puget Sound, Washington Territory 1879
South Puget Sound Chart 1905
Navigation Chart of Puget Sound, Seattle to Olympia, 1905
Thanks for your interest in and support of boating safety
– c / m –