You are here: Home About


The Next Generation Atlas

Based on the idea of a traditional atlas but offered via the Internet by NOAA, the Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas provides answers to questions related to the physical environment, marine resources, and socioeconomic conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.

As plans to restore the Gulf of Mexico after recent disasters have progressed, federal and state agencies have turned to NOAA for data and information about all aspects of the Gulf of Mexico. One of the most requested resources for that data and information has been the "Gulf of Mexico Coastal and Ocean Zones Strategic Assessment Data Atlas" published by NOAA's National Ocean Service in 1985 as a large hardcopy tabletop book. The Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas updates and expands that publication in an online, digital format.

The Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas has data from all five Gulf States (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas). The seaward boundaries of the Atlas extend to the Yucatan Channel and the Straits of Florida. Maps are available in six topic areas:

  • Physical (e.g., bathymetry, climatology)
  • Biotic (chemosynthetic communities, aquatic vegetation)
  • Living Marine Resources (oysters, shrimp, grouper)
  • Socioeconomic Conditions (shipping & navigation, social well-being)
  • Environmental Quality (water quality)
  • Jurisdictions (marine, fishery closures)

Each map has a description, written by recognized subject matter experts, explaining how the data was gathered and how it is relevant. Users can also link directly to the data and to a high resolution image of the original 1985 map if available.

Meeting Shared Goals

The 2011 Gulf of Mexico Atlas pilot is an example of the philosophy of leveraging resources among agencies and activities involved in geospatial data as outlined in the US Department of Interior and Federal Geographic Data Committee "Geospatial Platform Modernization Roadmap v4 - March 2011". The goals of the Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas align with those of NOAA's Next Generation Strategic Plan and the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force's Gulf of Mexico Regional Ecosystem Restoration Strategy. The Atlas also supports goals of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Action Plan II.


For more information about the Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas, please email