The International Association of Institutes of Navigation (IAIN) - 19/01/2008

Captain R.A. Smith, President of the IAIN

The IAIN is a non-governmental, non-profit-making organisation with the objective of uniting national and multinational institutes and organisations that aim to foster human activities at sea, in the air, in space and on land, and that may benefit from the development of the science and practice of navigation and related information techniques.<P>

The International AssociationofInstitutes of Navigation (IAIN) is registered in The Netherlands as an international association and comprises Institutes of Navigation (IONs) worldwide, Associate Members, Corporate Members and Corresponding Members. There are 19 national/regional IONs that are members of IAIN, one Associate Member and three Corresponding Members (see web reference 1).

Beginning in 1957, a series of conferences sponsored by the British, French and German IONs were held at three-year intervals to discuss technical navigation issues. The separation of vessels in highly congested areas was of primary concern. In 1964, the International Maritime (then Consultative) Organ­isation (IMCO) accepted a report prepared by the three IONs on Traffic Regulation in the Dover Strait. In 1968, a further report on the Separation of Traffic at Sea was accepted by the Maritime Safety Committee of the IMCO.
The three IONs thus pointed the way for establishing standards in the international maritime community and could be expected to influence future international developments in marine navigation. It was also clear that a properly constituted international body with consultative status at the IMCO was needed. This matter was brought before all IONs in 1969 by the presidents of the British and American IONs. They proposed the formation of an international council of IONs and distributed a draft constitution for discussion.
Early in 1975, the presidents of the IONs in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA agreed to the formal declaration of an IAIN. The first General Assembly was held in London, and the first constitution was adopted on 15th October 1975. In 1976, the IAINwas granted consultative status to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Since then, many proposals and technical papers on different subjects have been put forward to the IMO on matters such as traffic separation, collision regulations, accuracy standards for navigation and matters affecting the use of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).
In 1985, the IAIN was given consultative status to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Recommendations on the use of a worldwide geodetic system were made by the IAIN, which were adopted by the ICAO Future Air Navigation System (FANS) Committee.
Since 1982, as a member of the International VTS Organisation Committee, the IAIN has been taking an active part in the congresses held at Bremen, Marseille, Göteborg and Vancouver.
International Congresses of the IAIN were held in Cambridge, MA, in 1976; Brighton (UK) in 1979; Paris in 1982; Tokyo in 1985; Sydney in 1988; Cairo in 1991; Beijing in 1994, Amsterdam in 1997; San Diego, CA, in 2000; Berlin in 2003; and Jeju, South Korea, in 2006. The next IAIN congress will be held in Stockholm (Sweden) in 2009.


Present Situation
The IAIN is presently promoting an international institutional solution for a GNSS in the International Committee on GNSS (ICG) of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and is encouraging the interoperability of a navigation and communication system infrastructure for use on land, at sea, in the air and in space.

The president of the IAIN, Dick Smith of the Royal Institute of Navigation, is participating as international Board Member in the US National Positioning, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board.

IAIN representatives participate in the IMO, IHO and ICAO where IAIN has consultative status.


Air Commodore Norman Bonnor, IESSG, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK. Phone: +44 115 9513918;



Last updated: 02/06/2020