NOAA 50th Anniversary
Office of Coast Survey
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

Coast Survey Celebrates World Hydrography Day

You may be surprised to learn how much hydrography matters in our everyday lives. Over a billion metric tons of cargo move in and out of our nation’s ports annually. How do we keep our nation’s marine transportation system functioning in a safe, efficient, and environmentally sound manner? Hydrography. Hydrography underpins marine activities, including economic development, security and defense, scientific research, and environmental protection.

In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/60/30, recognizing the establishment of World Hydrography Day by the International Hydrographic Organization. This day provides Coast Survey the opportunity to recognize the great work that hydrographers in NOAA and other organizations do to keep our nation’s waterways safe, our economy strong, and our communities resilient.

World Hydrography Day 2020

This year's theme: Hydrography – enabling autonomous technologies

Global image of unmapped areas.

A message to hydrographers: Your time is now
By Rear Adm. Shep Smith, Director, Office of Coast Survey

There has never been a better time to be a hydrographer. Our skills, data, and technology are in high demand globally, driven by an increased emphasis both on supporting the blue economy and of protecting the ocean upon which all life on earth depends. Read more

Image of puzzle piece with surface currents inside.

Precision marine navigation surface current dissemination trials
By Erin Nagel, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Visiting Scientist

NOAA is preparing to release a prototype of the new Precision Navigation Data Dissemination System in July, and the S-111 surface current forecast guidance will be the first prototype service available in this new system. Read more

HD chart of berthing space in the Port of Long Beach.

High-definition charts advance precision marine navigation
By Craig Winn, HD Charting Portfolio Manager

For large vessels entering port where there is next to zero margin for error, pilots and shipmasters are looking for the highest resolution data available to help them navigate these tight spaces safely and efficiently. Read more


Webinar recording: An autonomous approach to ocean mapping: A Saildrone, USM, and NOAA collaboration
In 2019, the University of Southern Mississippi, NOAA's Office of Coast Survey, and Saildrone began a collaboration to test the accuracy and longevity of the Saildrone platform for shallow-water multibeam bathymetry in an effort to develop new technologies to address gaps in ocean mapping and exploration in the U.S. EEZ. During this webinar, the project partners discuss the origins of the project, the technology innovation and the achievements of the first year of collaboration, and a preview of future development plans. (webinar transcript)

Glen Rice

Coast Survey spotlight: Meet Glen Rice
Glen is the technical team lead for NOAA’s National Bathymetric Source Project. Critical to our national infrastructure, this project aims to serve the best available bathymetry to support NOAA, other federal agencies, and the public. Read more

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson with DriX autonomous surface vessel.

Video: World Hydrography Day 2020
It's World Hydrography Day! Today we recognize the great work that hydrographers in NOAA and other organizations do to keep our waterways safe, our economy and blue economy strong, and our communities resilient.

  • World Hydrography Day 2019

    This year's theme: Hydrographic information driving marine knowledge

    NOAA Coast Survey Ocean Mapping Capablities document cover

    Ocean Mapping Capabilities
    Coast Survey’s seafloor mapping program comprises a comprehensive set of capabilities that range from not just data collection, but rigorous quality control, an expert workforce, and ability to collaborate widely. Learn more about our ocean mapping capabilities.

    Kurt Mueller

    Coast Survey spotlight: Meet Kurt Mueller
    As a physical scientist and eleven-year veteran of Coast Survey, Kurt Mueller works to ensure that hydrographic data coming from NOAA ships, as well as other data from external agencies, meets the rigid standards required to build an accurate and reliable nautical chart. Read more

  • World Hydrography Day 2018

    This year's theme: Bathymetry - the foundation for sustainable seas, oceans and waterways

    Gulf of Mexico

    From seaports to the deep blue sea, bathymetry matters on many scales
    By Rear Adm. Shep Smith, Director, Office of Coast Survey

    On Thursday, June 21, we celebrate World Hydrography Day. This year’s theme—Bathymetry - the foundation for sustainable seas, oceans and waterways—is very timely as many hydrographic organizations worldwide are focusing on bathymetry at local and global scales... Read more

    Gulf of Mexico

    World Hydrography Day Reddit "Ask Us Anything"
    Join us on Thursday, June 21, 2018, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EDT) for a Reddit "Ask Us Anything" featuring Rear Adm. Smith, director of the Office of Coast Survey and Lt. Cmdr. Greenaway, chief of Coast Survey’s Hydrographic Systems and Technology Branch as they answer your questions on how NOAA maps the U.S. seafloor.

    Starla Robinson

    Coast Survey spotlight: Meet Starla Robinson
    Starla Robinson was drawn to Coast Survey by her desire for adventure on the high seas, exploration, and also a desire to balance it with time on land. As a physical scientist, she plans, coordinates, and communicates the details of hydrographic survey projects. Read more

    bathymetric data sources infographic

    Creating a picture of the seafloor: Bathymetric data sources
    From lidar and hydrographic survey data to remote sensing and crowdsourced data, NOAA uses data from many sources to obtain accurate depths of the seafloor and to update nautical charts. Click the image for a larger view.

    Brian Martinez

    Coast Survey spotlight: Meet Brian Martinez
    After graduating with a bachelor of science degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Brian landed a job as a contractor for Coast Survey and has been there ever since. As a lead cartographer, Brian ensures that the nautical products Coast Survey updates and maintains are high quality. Read more

    multiple uses of bathymetric data infographic

    Multiple uses of bathymetric data
    The value of bathymetric data extends beyond navigational products. Fisheries management, military and defense efforts, and our knowledge of tides, ocean circulation patterns, and underwater geohazards can all be informed by bathymetric data. Learn more from this infographic.

Revised: 6/21/2020