World Hydrography Day is celebrated each year on 21 June, which is also the beginning of the summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This year’s event signals the start of centenary celebrations in our industry; 2019 marks one hundred years since the 1st International Hydrographic Conference, which was held in London in 1919. The festivities will culminate in two years’ time, when World Hydrography Day will coincide with the IHO-100 Symposium in Monaco, marking the 100th anniversary of the International Hydrographic Organization which was established in 1921. 

On 17 June, just a couple of days before this year’s event at the Oceanographic Museum and a few kilometres further along the southern coast of France, the International Federation of Hydrographic Societies is organizing a workshop under the Oceans 2019 conference banner. During the workshop, hydrographic experts are talking about survey standards, crowdsourcing bathymetry, data rescue, hydrographic courses and education. 

And earlier this summer, during the grand final of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPrize, the GEBCO-Nippon Foundation Alumni Team was announced as the winner of the US$4 million prize for its groundbreaking entry in the competition that has been initiated to accelerate the mapping of the ocean floor. So we’re clearly in the geospatial era and gathered hydrographic data holds an important key to prosperity, sustainability, and security. 

The clear and growing need for hydrographic data, as celebrated this summer at the above-mentioned events, should put a smile on the face of every hydrographer because it means a bright future for our profession. Looking further ahead, the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development – proclaimed by the United Nations – will officially commence in 2021. Running until the end of 2030, this dedicated decade will put the importance of knowledge about the oceans for a better, safer and more sustainable world in the spotlight for a whole ten years... and that prospect should put an even bigger smile on the face of every hydrographer! 

Durk Haarsma,
director strategy & business development

[email protected] 

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