World Hydrography Day

Every year on June 21st, the world celebrates “World Hydrography Day.” The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) established this day as an annual commemoration of hydrographers’ efforts and the importance of hydrography. The International Hydrographic Bureau was founded in 1921 with the goal of providing a framework for states to confer on issues such as technical standards, safe navigation, and marine environment conservation. The name of the organization was changed to the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) in 1970. The IHO is working hard to develop standards and interoperability, especially in light of the challenges posed by digital technology. Hydrography aids in nautical charting and the transmission of the tide, current, and water level data for safe maritime transit, as well as marine conservation, identifying the continental shelf limits of a country, and much more. Economic development, security and defense, scientific research, and environmental protection are all supported by hydrography. The United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution A/60/30 in 2005, honoring the International Hydrographic Organization’s creation of World Hydrography Day. This day allows Coast Survey to celebrate the outstanding job that NOAA and other organizations’ hydrographers do to maintain our nation’s waterways safe, our economy robust, and our communities resilient. The anniversary of the creation of the International Hydrographic Organization was chosen as the date for World Hydrography Day.

The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) was founded in 1921 as the International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB). The IHB (renamed the IHO in 1970) was founded to provide a framework for government engagement on issues such as safe navigation, technical standards, and marine environment conservation. The World Hydrography Day was first commemorated in 2006. This day is seen as a chance to raise public awareness about the importance of hydrography in everyone’s life. To raise awareness of the IHO’s work on an international level, and to encourage all countries to collaborate with the IHO to promote safe navigation and marine life preservation. On or around June 21st each year, member states of the IHO, as well as international and national hydrographic organizations and agencies around the world, participate in a variety of activities to commemorate World Hydrography Day. These include:

  • Awards
  • Conferences
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Lectures
  • Dinners
  • Public events
  • Demonstrations
  • Promotional material

Autonomous technology are nothing new; for decades, seafarers have relied on devices like autopilots. Unmanned vehicles, such as wave gliders, have recently aided in the advancement of ocean sciences. However, we are seeing a rise in autonomy and a wider range of applications. Norway, for example, is conducting successful testing with driverless ships. Autonomous survey vessels are also revealing new and surprising details about the seabed. Drones using lightweight Multibeam Lidar sensors can now give high-accuracy, high-resolution bathymetry data for nearshore and coastal areas. This would assist enhance the coverage of under-surveyed areas while also serving as a test bed for new technologies. The International Hydrographic Organization’s Member States choose a topic for each “World Hydrography Day,” with the goal of promoting the relevance of hydrography internationally, multilateral cooperation, and effective collaboration in data interchange, charting, and standard creation.