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International Hydrographical Organization

Adequate and accurate Hydrographic Surveys and Nautical Charts are essential for the safe Navigation of ships throughout the world shipping lanes. Ship Masters and management of Ports and Terminals rely on this information to make Berthing, ship manoeuvre and routing decisions that will safely accommodate today’s ships. Nautical charts produced from data collected a decade ago may now be of little use to today’s shipping industry because of often profound changes in the geography of the sea bed.

As an over-arching organisation that supports safety in navigation and the protection of the marine environment, the International Hydrographical Organization (IHO) ensures that data collected today is as good as it possibly can be. It does this by co-ordinating the activities of national hydrographic offices, encouraging the adoption of reliable and efficient methods to carry out hydrographic surveys, and, importantly, by fostering the greatest possible uniformity in nautical charts and documents.

The IHO’s unfaltering work to achieve maximum standardisation of nautical products, services and survey practices has seen its members adopt consistent colours, symbols, nomenclature and general presentation in charts they produce – crucial for the shipping industry. And with the ever-increasing size of ships, changing maritime trade routes and the pressing need to protect the marine environment, precise hydrographic data more important today than it has ever been.