June 19, 2019

Hydrographic information driving marine knowledge [World Hydrography Day 2019]

Posted by Laura Guertin

I have previous blog posts relating to hydrographic surveying [Science communication about hydrography – Captain America to the rescue! and Dr. G’s #AGU15 Spotlight – XPRIZE for hydrography], but this post is dedicated to the global celebration of hydrography that takes place annually on June 21!


If you are unfamiliar with the field of hydrography, NOAA has produced the great infographic at the right (also available on NOAA’s webpage What is hydrography) and provides the broad definition of “the science that measures and describes the physical features of bodies of water.”

Back in 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution “by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) of the World Hydrography Day, to be celebrated annually on 21 June, with the aim of giving suitable publicity to its work at all level and of increasing the coverage of hydrographic information on a global basis, and urges all States to work with that organization to promote safe navigation, especially in the areas of international navigation, ports and where there are vulnerable or protected marine areas” [see the IHO WHD page]. Global celebrations began in 2006 and is viewed as an opportunity to increase public awareness of the vital role that hydrography plays in everyone’s lives.

This year’s theme for World Hydrography Day is Hydrographic information driving marine knowledge. The IHO is encouraging outreach, discussions, and further research on such topics as how the request for hydrographic information is expanding, comprehensive mapping of the deep sea, and the work and contribution of hydrographers. You can read the full description in the briefing notes.

The IHO has published a video for World Hydrography Day 2019.

No surprise that NOAA also has a video to celebrate World Hydrography Day

And a great video to share with students interested in science (especially ocean science) is Hydrography as a career, from The Royal Institution of Australia.


Some additional resources you may be interested in checking out include NOAA’s hydrographic survey projects for the 2019 field season, and ESRI’s StoryMap on The Ocean. Be sure to check out the hashtag on Twitter for #WorldHydrographyDay.

*Personal note  —  Having World Hydrography Day the same month and World Oceans Day, World Sea Turtle Day, World Reef Day, etc. – I get it. It’s just too bad that American universities are now no longer in session, and K-12 schools are just about or have already finished up. It is a missed opportunity for outreach and education!


Previous themes

For those that are curious, the previous themes of World Hydrography Day have included:

  • 2019: Hydrographic information driving marine knowledge
  • 2018: Bathymetry – the foundation for sustainable seas, oceans and waterways
  • 2017: Mapping our seas, oceans and waterways – more important than ever
  • 2016: Hydrography – the key to well-managed seas and waterways
  • 2015: Our seas and waterways – yet to be fully charted and explored
  • 2014: Hydrography – much more than just nautical charts
  • 2013: Hydrography – underpinning the Blue Economy
  • 2012: International Hydrographic Cooperation – supporting safe navigation
  • 2011: Human Resources – The important element to the success of hydrography
  • 2010: Hydrographic Services – the essential element for maritime trade
  • 2009: Hydrography – Protecting the marine environment
  • 2008: Capacity Building, a vital tool to assist the IHO in achieving its mission and objectives
  • 2007: Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs); an essential element of safety at sea and efficient maritime operations
  • 2006: Highlighting 85 years of the IHO Advancing Worldwide Safety of Navigation [first celebration]

Image from the NOAA Office of Coast Survey celebrating the World Hydrography Day theme of 2018,

Bathymetry – the foundation for sustainable seas, oceans and waterways