21 June: World Hydrography Day

Wednesday 22nd of June 2016

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World Hydrography Day (WHD) is being observed annually on 21 June to publicise the work of hydrographers and the importance of hydrography.

The observance of the day emphasizes importance of hydrography particularly in protection of marine reserves and also promotion of safe navigation in international waters and ports.

2016 Theme: “Hydrography – the key to well-managed seas and waterways“. It seeks to highlight the fundamental importance of hydrography. It also seeks to boost our knowledge of the shape, nature and depth of the seafloor as a fundamental requirement for the safe, sustainable, proper and cost effective use of the world’s seas, oceans and waterways.


The idea of observing World Hydrography Day was mooted by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) in 2005. It was officially instituted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by passing resolution A/RES/60/30 Oceans and the law of the sea in 2005.

IHO: It was established as the International Hydrographic Bureau in 1921. It was used as a mechanism for consulting governments on matters of technical standards, protection of marine environment, safe navigation etc.

Hydrography: It is the science of surveying and charting bodies of water, such as oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers.

A theme for each World Hydrography Day is determined by the member states of the International Hydrographic Organization and is intended to promote the importance of hydrography internationally, multilateral cooperation and effective collaboration in data exchange, charting and standards development.

The theme for 2016 is "Hydrography - the key to well-managed seas and waterways".

Previous themes were:

  • 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

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