Hydrographic Information Driving Marine Knowledge - 21/06/2019

Today, as every year on June 21st, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) celebrates World Hydrography Day. This is an opportunity to raise public awareness of the vital role that hydrography plays in everyone's lives. This year's theme is: 'Hydrographic information, the engine of knowledge of the marine environment’.

Wide Range of Activities

The Hydrographic Offices of the IHO Member States use a wide range of activities to publicize hydrographic work and services, including:

  • The reminders of the first Hydrographic Conference held in London in 1919 when representatives of 26 countries met at Trinity House in London to discuss and agree on future technical cooperation in hydrography.
  • The International Symposium on the Historical Approach to Measurement and Protection oceans and waters of the world, in cooperation with Piri Reis University, Istanbul, Turkey and with the Oceanographic Institute - Albert I Prince of Monaco Foundation.
  • The joint efforts of the IHO and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, as parent organizations of the Global Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) Project project which aims to map the world's oceans.
  • Recognition of the award-winning GEBCO-Nippon Foundation Alumni team Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE! This 14-nation team has integrated existing technologies and ocean mapping experience into an unmanned, robust, low-cost surface ship, along with a new cloud-based data processing system Allowing a quick visualization of the seabed.
  • Adoption of the new IHO branding including a new logo.
  • The fact that World Day marks the 98th anniversary of the creation of the Organization today called the IHO.

Annual Celebration

World Hydrography Day was adopted by the IHO as an annual celebration to publicize the work of hydrographers and the importance of hydrography. The International Hydrographic Bureau was established in 1921 for the purpose of providing a mechanism for consultation between governments on such matters as technical standards, safe navigation and the protection of the marine environment. In 1970 the name was changed to the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). 


The IHO is actively engaged in developing standards and interoperability, particularly in relation to the challenges brought about by digital technologies. In 2005 the IHO adopted the concept of a World Hydrography Day, which was welcomed by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution A/RES/60/30 Oceans and the law of the sea. The date chosen for World Hydrography Day is the anniversary of the founding of the IHO.

Suitable Publicity to IHO’s Work

World Hydrography Day was adopted, in the words of the UN, with the aim of: ... giving suitable publicity to IHO’s work at all levels and of increasing the coverage of hydrographic information on a global basis ... Translation of this aim through World Hydrography Day is achieved by the nomination of a theme for each year's celebration. Once a theme is agreed, the IHO Member States, international and national hydrographic organizations and services develop activity programs and events that highlight the annual theme.

Importance of Hydrography

A theme for each World Hydrography Day is determined by the Member States of the IHO and is intended to promote the importance of hydrography internationally, multilateral cooperation and effective collaboration in data exchange, charting and standards development.

Photo lighthouse by Anand Dandekar from Pexels.

Last updated: 28/08/2020