Links and References


Hydrographic Programs - U.S. Government

USACE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (USACE) is rated one of the best hydrographic sites, because of their policy of making their numerous manuals and procedures openly available for downloading in PDF format. Be sure to visit the Army Geospatial Center (AGC) and AGC's Survey Engineering and Mapping Center of Expertise for info on free software and other publications. If the links to the manuals do not work, try this one.
NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA's National Ocean Service is the home of three offices that provide infomation important to hydrography; Nautical Charts (Office of Coast Survey), information on Tides and Water Levels (Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services), and the National Spatial Reference System (National Geodetic Survey). The Coast Survey is the Nation's official Chartmaker. It is the oldest scientific organization dating back to 1807. For a bit of Coast Survey history. One of four Divisions within the Coast Survey, is the Hydrographic Surveys Division. This site contains numerous references to information on hydrographic surveying as it pertains to nautical charting. A second Division within Coast Survey is the Coast Survey Development Laboratory (CSDL). The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) collects, analyzes and distributes historical and real-time observations and predictions of water levels, coastal currents and other meteorological and oceanographic data. You can view Near Real-time Tides and see how they compare with Predicted Tides by clicking on Tides Online on the opening page. The National Geodetic Survey (NGS) develops and maintains the National Spatial Reference System. This system is a consistent national coordinate system that specifies latitude, longitude, height, scale, gravity, and orientation throughout the Nation. There is lots of good stuff on this site. Be sure to checkout softwarewhich can be downloaded.
Naval Oceanographic Office The Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO), located at John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, is comprised of approximately 1,100 civilian, military and contract personnel responsible for providing oceanographic products and services to all elements within the Department of Defense. NAVOCEANO is the largest subordinate command under the Commander, Meteorology and Oceanography Command which is a third echelon operational command reporting to Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Their headquarters is also located at John C. Stennis Space Center.
U.S. Coast Guard U.S. Coast Guard The Navigation Center (NAVCEN) is the United States Coast Guard's Navigation Center of Excellence. NAVCEN is located in Alexandria, VA, south of the Washington Beltway, on the grounds of the Coast Guard Telecommunications and Information Systems Command (TISCOM) facility. NAVCEN operates the Navigation Information Service (NIS), the Nationwide Differential Global Positioning System (NDGPS), and LORAN. In addition, NAVCEN serves as the civilian interface for the Global Positioning System and manages other navigation-related projects. A collection of links concerning Marine Safety, Security, and Environmental Protection.
NGA National Geospacial-Intelligence Agency The National Geospatial-Intelliegnce Agency provides geospspatial intelligence in support of national security objectives. Its' Maritime Safety Informationcenter collects, evaluates, and compile worldwide marine navigation products and databases.
U.S. Geological Survey The Coastal and Marine Geology Program is the home for hydrography in the U.S. Geological Survey.

Data Centers

NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) located in Boulder, Colorado, provides scientific stewardship, products, and services for geophysical data. Information on obtaining NOAA's digital hydrographic surveys (GEODAS) is available on this site.
National Geopsatial Data Clearinghouse. The Geospatial Data Clearinghouse is a collection of over 250 spatial data servers, that have digital geographic data primarily for use in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) , image processing systems, and other modeling software. These data collections can be searched through a single interface based on their descriptions or "metadata".

Academic Institutions

UNB The University of New Brunswick The University of New Brunswick's (Canada), Ocean Mapping Group , hosts a vast amount of information on multibeam sonar technology. Under the leadership of the legendary Dr. John Hughes Clark this site is one to bookmark for regular return visits !!
UNH The University of New Hampshire, in cooperation with NOAA's Ocean Service, established the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (C-COM)/ Joint Hydrographic Center (JHC) aimed at creating a national center for expertise in ocean mapping and hydrographic sciences. The center offers Ocean Mapping options on the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Ocean Engineering and Earth Sciences. The program has been certified by the FIG/IHO at the Category A level.
USM The University of Southern Mississippi The University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Marine Science offers a unique opportunity for hydrographers seeking a master's degree in hydrographic science. This one-year master's program is certified by the FIG/IHO at the Category A level. To advance research in the field of hydrography, Southern Miss created the Hydrographic Science Research Center to develop new ocean charting and navigation technology.

International Organizations

Canadian Hydrographic Association The Canadian Hydrographic Association (CHA) is the focal point of hydrography in Canada. International members are welcome! A recent article (here with permission) in Lighthouse,the Journal of CHA, by Steve McPhee and Rob Hare, discusses suggested changes to IHO S-44 to make it more effective for multibeam surveys. For the History of Hydrography in Canada visit the CHA related web site, Friends of Hydrography
IHO The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) was originally established in 1921 as the International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB). The present name was adopted in 1970 as a result of a revised international agreement among member nations. However, the former name (IHB) was retained for the IHO's administrative body of three Directors and staff at the headquarters in Monaco. The IHO sets forth hydrographic standards as they are agreed upon by the member nations. All member nations are urged to follow these standards in their surveys, nautical charts and publications. Many of the IHO Publications are free to the public and may be downloaded from their website. Links to the Member States. See also Hong Kong.
The International Federation of Surveyors The International Federation of Surveyors is an international, non-government organisation whose purpose is to support international collaboration for the progress of surveying in all fields and applications. FIG (Federation International Geometrique) was founded in 1878 in Paris. It is a federation of national associations and is the only international body that represents all surveying disciplines. It is a UN-recognised non-government organisation (NGO) and its aim is to ensure that the disciplines of surveying and all who practise them meet the needs of the markets and communities that they serve. It realises its aim by promoting the practice of the profession and encouraging the development of professional standards. FIG is comprised of 10 Commissions. Commission 4 - Hydrography, focuses on the marine environment; hydrographic surveying; data processing and management; nautical charts and bathymetric maps – analogue, digital and electronic; other associated tasks.
IFHS International Federation of Hydrographic Societies In 2004, the former Hydrographic Society (International) devolved into national societies under the umbrella of the International Federation of Hydrographic Societies (IFHS), headquartered in Plymouth, England. The current IFHS national societies are:


U.S. HYDRO Conference Proceedings

Hydrographic Manuals

Online Training

Introduction to Hydrography Distance Learning Module. An online, interactive distance learning module entitled “Introduction to Hydrography” has recently been developed by the Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET®). Personnel from NOAA’s Hydrographic Survey Division and the Naval Oceanographic Office provided technical guidance for the course content. The module is very introductory in nature and can be completed in approximately an hour. However, it does provide a good overview for new employees or for interested members of the public. The course can be accessed here Numerous others topics related to oceanography and meteorology are covered in similar modules and can be found here. There are no charges for these training modules, but registration is required.

Books on Hydrography

Hydrography E-Book. Second Edition 2003, Updated 2010, and based on IHO S-44 (Edition 4), this e-book was made available by Houston Chapter member Stewart Cannon who facilitated an arrangement with the authors for distribution to THSOA members. Download (PDF 6,085 k)

Standards and Specifications

IHO S-44
IHO S-57 IHO S-57, IHO Transfer Standard for Digital Hydrographic Data, can be downloaded from the IHO Downloads section. Information on the contents of S-57 and a wealth of information on the Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) may be obtained from the Caris web site.
NOAA, National Ocean Service 2010 Specifications and Deliverables


The IHO Dictionary is available here interactively.


The Global Position System (GPS) is a subject near and dear to every hydrographic surveyor. Here are our favorite links !

Historical References

The Coast and Geodetic Survey Annual Reports 1844-1910 are a valuable historic reference.
U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, Association of Field Engineers Bulletins . Beginning in June 1930 and continuing though December 1939, 13 were published. These bulletins demonstrate humor and professionalism and also serve as a valuable source of metadata for those interested in historical data.
General Instructions, Inshore Hydrographic Work of the Coast Survey (1878). This is the second set of "Instructions" (vice "Manual") published by the Coast Survey and the oldest that we have been able to locate. Despite the title it did include offshore work. The first set of instructions consisted of 28 pages and a probable date of 1860. Download (PDF 790k) See Note **
Hydrographic Manual (Edition 1) - J.H. Hawley. Published in 1931, 170 pages. Download (PDF 2,030k) See Note **
Hydrographic Manual (Edition 2) (Special Publication 143) - K.T. Adams. Published in 1942, 940 pages, a classic reference includes information on European instruments. For your convenience we have extracted and saved the Table of Contents and the Index as a separate document so you can see how the manual is organized and what topics are discussed:
Hydrographic Manual (Edition 3) - Jeffers. Published in 1960, 238 pages. Download (PDF 3,844k) See Note **

NOTE **: THSOA in cooperation with NOAA's Office of Coast Survey, Hydrographic MetaData Project, has made these manuals available, in PDF (Normal) format. PDF Normal means that all text has been cleaned up and suspects corrected during the OCR phase. The Acrobat Reader FIND command can be used. Disclaimer: Although every attempt has been made to proof read these documents it is possible that typographic errors do exist. If you come across any, please e-mail us and we will promptly correct them.