Remembering Richard Michael ‘Mike’ Eaton - 15/12/2014

Canadian Hydrographic Association


Mike Eaton passed away at his home in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada on Thursday 9 October 2014. Richard Michael Eaton was born in England in 1928. He joined the British Royal Navy in 1945. Up to 1957, he contributed to surveys for nautical charts in home waters and around Zanzibar and Borneo.

After leaving the Navy, he joined the Canadian Hydrographic Service. He spent two years surveying in Hudson Bay followed by five years in the Arctic Ocean and Archipelago where he developed new charting methods. This led him to be elected a fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America.

He married Rosemary Gilliat, and moved to a home overlooking Cole Harbour. Rosemary passed away in 2004. Mike planted much of the property with trees but maintained a view of the harbour.

Mike joined the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) and earned a Physics degree from Dalhousie University, graduating in 1970. He started a Navigation Group at BIO and contributed to the development of the Loran-C Navaid. He was awarded the Medal of Merit from the International Loran Association in 1983 and the Canada Marine Safety Award from the Canadian Marine Advisory Council in 1988.

In the 1980s, Mike saw the Electronic Chart (EC) as a breakthrough in navigation and he supported developing, promoting and advising on the installation of these systems. One of his accomplishments was the creation of an Electronic Chart Test bed on a launch in Bedford Basin working together with CARIS and a steering group of Halifax area mariners. Doing so laid the foundation for the IHO’s ‘Specifications for ECDIS’ (S-52), serving as the basis for the IMO’s ’ECDIS Performance Standards’. From 1989 until he retired in 2004 Mike was the chairman and chief developer for the International Hydrographic Organization’s working group on the design of ECDIS display.

More information

Read the interview with Mike Eaton published in Hydro International, June 2005:

Last updated: 24/02/2017