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International Hydrographic Organization

From Openwaterpedia

noun - The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) is an intergovernmental consultative and technical organization that was established in 1921 to support safety of navigation and the protection of the marine environment.


The goals of the IHO are to:

1. Coordinate the activities of national hydrographic offices
2. Establish the greatest possible uniformity in nautical charts and documents
3. Adopt reliable and efficient methods of carrying out and exploiting hydrographic surveys
4. Develop the sciences in the field of hydrography and the techniques employed in descriptive oceanography


The official representative of each Member Government within the IHO is normally the national Hydrographer, or Director of Hydrography, who, together with their technical staff, meet at 5-yearly intervals in Monaco for an International Hydrographic Conference. The Conference reviews the progress achieved by the Organization through its committees, sub committees and working groups, and adopts the programmes to be pursued during the ensuing 5-year period. A Directing Committee of three senior hydrographers is elected to administer the work of the Organization during that time.

The Directing Committee, together with a small international staff of technical experts in hydrography and nautical cartography, makes up the International Hydrographic Bureau in Monaco. The IHB is the secretariat of the IHO, coordinating and promoting the IHO's programmes and providing advice and assistance to Member States and others.


Formation of the International Hydrographic Bureau[edit]

International cooperation in the field of hydrography began with a Conference held in Washington in 1899, followed by two others in Saint Petersburg, in 1908 and 1912. In 1919, twenty-four nations met in London for a Hydrographic Conference, during which it was decided that a permanent body should be created. The resulting International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB) began its activity in 1921 with nineteen Member States. At the invitation of H.S.H. Prince Albert I of Monaco, a noted marine scientist, the Bureau was provided with headquarters in the Principality of Monaco. The Organization has remained in Monaco ever since, thanks to the continuing and very generous support of the Prince's successors.

IHB Changes its Status to an International Organization[edit]

In 1970, an intergovernmental Convention entered into force which changed the Organization's name and legal status, creating the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), with its headquarters (the IHB) permanently established in Monaco. The Organization currently has a membership of eighty maritime States, with several others in the process of becoming Members.

It publishes the Limits of Oceans and Seas.

External links[edit]