Raster Charts XL

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Dataset Description:

The Raster Charts XL product provides official nautical charts, as originally published by National Hydrographic Offices worldwide (e.g. UKHO), as a series of georeferenced raster digital images.  The chart images provide comprehensive marine backdrop mapping, containing a set of familiar features and related symbology.  The Raster Charts ‘XL’ (eXcluding Land) product has been further manipulated to remove areas of yellow land and other chart details (title blocks, information panels, and scale bars) to leave just the marine data.  The non-marine areas are provided as transparent pixels which then allows the data to easily be combined with digital land mapping data (such as aerial imagery, National Mapping Agency data, OpenStreetMap, or Google Maps) in order to display a full map depiction of land and sea, if required.

The product is supplied as individual charts at different scales and geographic coverages (as originally published by the originating source, with availability of charts outside British Waters being dependant on permissions granted by contributing nations worldwide).  For areas within British Waters, the UKHO website defines all the individual charts available, their scales, and coverages.  There are many different scales of charts altogether, so OceanWise have defined three scale ‘bands’ for this product:


Band Chart scale range Geographic Coverage (UK) Geographic Coverage (Globally)
 Small-scale Charts  1:150,000 or less  British Waters (complete)  As available
 Medium-scale Charts  1:30,000 – 1:150,000  British Waters (incomplete)  As available
 Large-scale Charts  1:30,000 or more  Individual estuaries and harbours (as available)  As available


The charts are provided as individual image files, and named according to the original chart number.  Where the original chart contained smaller charts (known as panels) on the same sheet, each panel chart is provided as a separate image, named with a suffix.  The charts have been standardised to the WGS84 Datum and World Mercator projection.  All charts are provided with the appropriate georeferencing metadata, and symbolised using the international standard ‘INT1’ (see the PDF link below).


Dataset Thumbnail:


Dataset Specification:

Product Name

Raster Charts XL

Data Provider





Global (incomplete)

Data Structure





Offshore mapping


OceanWise Licence

Update Frequency


Dataset Resources:

Product site
Marine and Coastal Data Products User Guide (pdf)
Symbols and Abbreviations Used on Admiralty Charts 5011 (pdf)
Sample Data request site