Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Data Series 781

California State Waters Map Series Data Catalog

Compiled by Nadine E. Golden

Figure 1. Index map of California, showing locations of 110 CSMP map blocks (red squares), 83 of which are along the mainland coast and 27 are for offshore islands, each to be published at 1:24,000 scale. Published map blocks are shown with gray fill.


In 2007, the California Ocean Protection Council initiated the California Seafloor Mapping Program (CSMP), designed to create a comprehensive seafloor map of high-resolution bathymetry, marine benthic habitats, and geology within the 3-nautical-mile limit of California's State Waters. The CSMP approach is to create highly detailed seafloor maps and associated data layers through the collection, integration, interpretation, and visualization of swath sonar data, acoustic backscatter, seafloor video, seafloor photography, high-resolution seismic-reflection profiles, and bottom-sediment sampling data.

CSMP has divided coastal California into 110 map blocks (fig. 1), each to be published individually as USGS Scientific Investigations Maps (SIMs) at a scale of 1:24,000. The map products display seafloor morphology and character, identify potential marine benthic habitats, and illustrate both the seafloor geology and shallow (to about 100 m) subsurface geology.

This CSMP data catalog contains much of the data used to prepare the SIMs in the California State Waters Map Series. Other data that were used to prepare the maps were compiled from previously published sources (for example, onshore geology) and, thus, are not included herein.


Datasets within the data catalog have been compiled by various individuals (names are provided in the metadata for each dataset).

GIS Data

For each map block, CSMP has created geographic information system (GIS) data layers for bathymetry, bathymetric contours, acoustic backscatter, seafloor character, potential benthic habitat, and offshore geology. In addition, CSMP has compiled regional-scale data layers for sediment thickness, depth to transition, transgressive contours, isopachs, and predicted distributions of benthic macro-invertebrates, as well as visual observations of benthic habitat from video cruises over the entire state.

The GIS data layers are listed below. Note, however, that not all data layers are available for all map blocks, owing to insufficient data. Also, some map blocks may include additional data layers that record certain unique characteristics or features not present in other areas.

GIS Data Layers:

  • Bathymetry
  • Bathymetry Hillshade
  • Contours
  • Acoustic Backscatter
  • Offshore Geology and Gemorphology
  • Faults
  • Folds
  • Potential Marine Benthic Habitat
  • Seafloor Character
  • Depth to Transition
  • Trangressive Contours
  • Sediment Thickness
  • Isopachs
  • Predicted Distributions of Benthic Macro-Invertebrates
  • Visual Observations of Benthic Habitat from Video Cruises

Additional GIS Data Layers [available for selected map blocks only]:

  • Paleoshorelines
  • Submarine Landslide Scarps
  • Curvature
  • Slope

Data Catalogs:

The GIS data layers for a particular CSMP map block or region are accessible from that area's individual data catalog, listed in the table below by geographic area, from north to south. Links to that area's published SIM, which contains additional interpretive material, are provided in the table as well. In addition, video observations for the entire state have been compiled, and some of them are accessible from "California State Waters Map Series Data Catalog--Video Observations" (listed last in the table below). [Note that the video observations datasets from the remaining areas will be made available as the SIMs from those areas are published.]

Each individual data catalog lists the available GIS data layers with a brief description, a small image, and links to the metadata files and the downloadable data files. Information on file format and file size is given as well. The data were compiled in ArcMap (versions 10.0 and 10.1, ESRI, 2011, 2012). Raster data layers are registered TIFF images and are in either the UTM Zone 10 or UTM Zone 11 coordinate systems, with datum WGS84. Point, line, and polygon features are in shapefile format and are projected in either the UTM Zone 10 or UTM Zone 11 coordinates, with horizontal datum WGS84.

The downloadable data files have been compressed with the "zip" command, and they can be unzipped with Winzip (or other tool) on Windows systems. The .zip file for a TIFF image includes the image (.tif), the world registration file (.tfw), and the text (.txt) and XML (.tif.xml) versions of the metadata. The .zip for a shapefile includes the .aux, .dbf, .shp, .shx, .sbx, and .sbn files, as well as the text (.txt) and XML (.shp.xml) versions of the metadata. We recommend that you create a single new folder within which to unzip the files you want to use.

Other individual data catalogs and their GIS data layers will continue to be added to this Data Series as map blocks are published as SIMs.

CSMP Study Area
[listed from north
to south
Data Catalog Associated
Scientific Investigations Map (SIM)

[contains PDFs of map sheets and accompanying pamphlet]
Offshore of Santa Barbara California State Waters Map Series Data Catalog—Offshore of Santa Barbara, California SIM 3281, California State Waters Map Series--Offshore of Santa Barbara, California, by Samuel Y. Johnson and others.
Offshore of Carpinteria California State Waters Map Series Data Catalog—Offshore of Carpinteria, California SIM 3261, California State Waters Map Series--Offshore of Carpinteria, California, by Samuel Y. Johnson and others.
Offshore of Ventura California State Waters Map Series Data Catalog—Offshore of Ventura, California SIM 3254, California State Waters Map Series--Offshore of Ventura, California, by Samuel Y. Johnson and others.
Hueneme Canyon and Vicinity California State Waters Map Series Data Catalog—Hueneme Canyon and Vicinity, California SIM 3225, California State Waters Map Series--Hueneme Canyon and Vicinity, California, by Samuel Y. Johnson and others.
Santa Barbara Channel California State Waters Map Series Data Catalog—Santa Barbara Channel Region n/a
Video Observations [for the entire state] California State Waters Map Series Data Catalog—Video Observations n/a

First posted August 8, 2013

Revised March 10, 2014

Data Catalogs [listed in alphabetical order]:

For additional information:
Contact Information
Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Pacific Science Center
400 Natural Bridges Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Part of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Also of Interest

California Seafloor Mapping Program Video and Photograph Portal

Suggested citation:

Golden, N.E., compiler, 2013, California State Waters Map Series Data Catalog: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 781,

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: GS Pubs Web Contact
Page Last Modified: Monday, March 10, 2014, 02:58:06 PM