The role of the Hydrographic Offices needs to change. This is the message conveyed by the Secretary-General Robert Ward of the International Hydrographic Organization in Monaco in this issue of Hydro International. It’s not the first time that Captain Ward promotes a much broader role for the Hydrographic Offices of the Member States of the IHO. He bases his ideas on the ever-growing role of the Maritime Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDIs), that part of the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) concerning the coastal zones and the seas, in supporting the policy-making of governments all over the globe. A big push behind it is the initiative of the United Nations gathering in the Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) and its derivatives on regional level. A major part of the discussions within UN-GGIM are always about the fact that geodata supports and boosts economic development and the increasing welfare of citizens, and therefore contributes to the earlier Millennium Development Goals and the new Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. Geodata have hit the heart of governments, which is a very good thing for our sector. Many of the Hydrographic Offices are embracing a bigger and broader role beyond chart making, There are also a few that don’t, a concern for Captain Ward, but also a concern for those citizens living in coastal areas covered by those HOs. They deserve to also have the HOs in their regions are take on the role that supports their lives, well-being and welfare!
On a completely different note: it was with great sadness that we learned of the passing away of Adam Kerr on August 8 of this year. He was the former director of the International Hydrographic Bureau in Monaco, but also a long-time contributor in many ways to Hydro International and not to forget The Electronic Chart – a book published by Geomares Publishing for which Adam served as editor and as conscience for the authors of the book in many ways. As one of the pioneers in ECDIS he kept abreast of developments until the very end, and not just in this field. We had many, many chats over the years on hydrography, chart making, sailing, restoring old and monumental fisherman’s ships and numerous other things… Adam deserves our utmost respect and his family our sincerest condolences on his passing away. You will find an obituary by our contributing editor RADM Giuseppe Angrisano, who worked very closely with Adam Kerr when they were both director at the IHB in Monaco.
The title of this editorial is ‘Chart Maker, Fisherman and Sailor’, which is a tribute to Adam Kerr, who really was all three of them. It is also a referral to the obituary that Angrisano wrote. It is also a befitting referral to the direction that Robert Ward sees for the Hydrographic Offices in particular, and hydrography in general: hydrography and the HOs need to serve everyone and in particular the chart maker, the fisherman, the sailor and all who use the sea and wish to be guided by the gatherers of geodata in the best possible, most respectful and wisest way.