About Us


The North Carolina Coastal Atlas is an online mapping and investigation system that provides both static and interactive maps and related data and information for exploration, analysis and learning about coastal issues and resources for  students, managers, scientists, teachers, and the public. The Atlas combines physical, ecological and human use data to support education, management and decision-making. Thematic maps allow non-technical and advanced users to examine and interact with geospatial information on topics such as coastal hazards or shoreline change.  The maps will allow users to select their area of interest, cartographic layers, and also search for reference, archival, and research data.  Careful cartographic design paried with GIS functionality allows for real-time remote access via a web browser or desktop GIS (via WMS and WFS services) and the ability to produce high-quality output maps for print or download.  Most importantly, the users are provided with explanatory text, background information, and access to references and research that will enable them to delve as deeply as desired into the topic of choice.

Geographic Extent

The NC Coastal Atlas covers the entire coastal plain, including the twenty Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) counties, the estuaries and rivers, and adjacent marine areas.


NC Coastal Atlas is built upon a core of ESRI ArcGIS Server technology providing the underlying scientific and cartographic layers and open-source consumable map layers.  We use custom maps but also support Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) servers to collate these and other interoperable layers for users of desktop GIS.  This infrastructure links to ECU databases, the internet and other reference resources to connect to a wide array of information.


The NC Coastal Atlas is produced by a team committed to sharing and promoting the use of coastal geospatial data and technology for education, broad public use and decision-making. The Atlas project is managed by a steering committee providing overall governance, standards and procedures, and data stewardship.. The steering committee determines the design, data, and tools to offer end users, and is committed to the use of best practices for data management and accessibility for the public good. Data contributions are welcome but will be reviewed and approved before use, and metadata is required for all submitted data. The steering committee is comprised of Tom Allen (chair, ECU), JP Walsh (ECU/CSI), Joseph Thomas (ECU), Michael Reece (ECU), Robert Howard (ECU), and Tancred Miller (DCM).


The Atlas is supported by grants and contracts from stakeholders and in-kind contributions from the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management, NOAA, North Carolina Sea Grant, RENCI @ ECU, ECU Academic Library Services, ECU Center for GIScience, and the ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy. 


Geospatial data and information provided on this site are accurate to the best of our knowledge and subject to change and/or removal on a regular basis, without notice. Our coasts are dynamic, and ECU cannot and does not warrant that the information on this website is absolutely current or continuously available, although every effort is made to ensure that it is kept as current as possible and that the servers are as accessible as is feasible. We cannot and do not warrant the accuracy of these documents beyond their sources, although every attempt is made to work from authoritative sources. Links to related sites are provided as a courtesy, but we are not responsible for their availability, content or policies. By use of these tools, users acknowledge and accept these limitations.