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October 10, 2018

Greetings Colleagues,

I have the pleasure to open this week's newsletter with a brief note highlighting Coast Survey’s international activities.

Did you know nearly two dozen of our Coast Survey colleagues are involved in representing our office (and the United States in general) internationally? Coast Survey engagement comes via bilateral cooperative relationships where we share operational and research information (Craig Winn just returned from a month in the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, for example). But most of our international engagements stem from our treaty commitments as a member state of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).

The International Hydrographic Organization, an intergovernmental consultative and technical organization, was established in 1921 to support safety of navigation and the protection of the marine environment. The current 89 coastal states come together to:

  • coordinate activities of national hydrographic offices
  • promote the greatest possible uniformity in nautical charts and documents
  • adopt reliable and efficient methods of carrying out hydrographic surveys
  • advance the science of hydrography

The director of Coast Survey serves the function of national hydrographer for his/her role producing and maintaining the suite of nautical charts, publications, and services for US waters.

This week, Rear Adm. Smith will be chairing the second meeting of the IHO Council in London, attended by nearly half the IHO membership. As chair, Rear Adm. Smith will facilitate discussions during what is considered the senior executive oversight board of the IHO. These discussions include not only the financial and overall work program of the IHO and its working groups and commissions, but also two particularly critical topics before the community at this time. First, the council is actively revising the strategic plan of the IHO. Second, the membership will begin discussing the implications of the new generation of hydrographic data modeling, management, and product development. John Nyberg will be leading the U.S. delegation which includes our former director, John Lowell, now serving as Senior GEOINT Authority for Maritime at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. I will be supporting Rear Adm. Smith and the U.S. delegation wearing a dual hat as Coast Survey staff and IHO Secretariat support. Wish us luck!

And lastly, if you wish to learn more, please do not hesitate to let me know. I will be updating the content of our Navigator International Program webpage over the next few months, but in the meantime, if you are interested to have a little taste of the variety of tasks day-to-day, please visit this page. The IHO home page is also very informative.

Jonathan Justi
Senior International Affairs Specialist

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