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Shoreline/Coastline Resources

The Global Self-consistent, Hierarchical, High-resolution Geography database (GSHHG) is a shoreline dataset developed by scientists at the University of Hawaii (UH) and NOAA. The UH is the primary GSHHG site, though the dataset can also be accessed through NCEI.


Early processing and assembly of the GSHHG data: Wessel, P., and W. H. F. Smith (1996), A global, self-consistent, hierarchical, high-resolution shoreline database, J. Geophys. Res., 101(B4), 8741–8743, doi:10.1029/96JB00104.

Access Methods

For questions about NCEI’s GSHHG shoreline dataset, contact:

GSHHG is released under the GNU Lesser General Public license.

GSHHG is available in binary, netCDF 4, and ESRI shapefile formats.

Geography data are available in five resolutions:

  • crude(c)
  • low(l)
  • intermediate(i)
  • high(h)
  • full(f)

Data are in WGS84 geographic (latitude and longitude, decimal degrees).