A global, self-consistent, hierarchical, high-resolution shoreline database


  • Pål Wessel,

  • Walter H. F. Smith


We present a high-resolution shoreline data set amalgamated from two databases in the public domain. The data have undergone extensive processing and are free of internal inconsistencies such as erratic points and crossing segments. The shorelines are constructed entirely from hierarchically arranged closed polygons. The data can be used to simplify data searches and data selections or to study the statistical characteristics of shorelines and landmasses. The data set can be accessed both electronically over Internet and from the National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder, Colorado; it comes with access software and routines to facilitate decimation based on a standard line-reduction algorithm.