FIG Commission 4 - Hydrography

Term 2003-2006

Hightlights Commission Chair

The Munich Congress marks the end of my tenure as Commission 4 Chair and this is my final report to the General Assembly.

Mr. Adam Greenland

It is my belief that Commission 4 has responded well to some significant strategic challenges over the past four years. The culmination of this work is the Commission 4 Munich programme, and it is notable that pre-eminent organisations such as the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) and the International Federation of Hydrographic Societies (IFHS) will be present.

Commission 4 has organised an ambitious programme to prepare and plan for the future. The economic importance of hydrography, professional recognition and education are important issues that affect all hydrographers.

As a specialist area within our profession, it is essential that organisations representing hydrographic surveyors cooperate more closely together. We have shown that we can work together to demonstrate a strong sense of purpose and clear vision. This is where our strength lies as there is increasing competition for members from marginal organisations.

Since FIG was founded surveyors of all disciplines have worked together to achieve more for the profession and society as a whole. We are very much an international profession and I believe we have the will and passion to continue this work and make a real contribution to the world we live in.

I would like to thank the Generally Assembly for its support and urge the national delegates to participate more fully in the work of the Commissions. This has been a team effort and I could not have accomplished this work without the support and hard work of the FIG Office and my Commission 4 colleagues.


The overwhelming achievement of Commission 4 over the last four years has been to bring credibility to FIG within the wider hydrographic community. The Commission has demonstrated it can deliver on its programme and make a tangible contribution to the profession. We now participate as equals and bring much sought after knowledge, enthusiasm and experience.

Summary of Commission 4 Achievements, 2003 – 2006:

  • Presented in excess of 80 papers at over 20 events and meetings, including 5 technical tours
  • Formal MOU with IHO and IFHS
  • Published over 15 articles and issued 3 Commission CD’s
  • Produced 2 official FIG Publications from WG 4.2 & 4.3
Work Plan

Terms of reference

  • Hydrographic surveying
  • Hydrographic education, training and CPD
  • Marine environment & CZM
  • Data processing and management
  • Nautical charting and bathymetric maps - analogue and digital, includes ENCs (Electronic Navigational Charts).

Mission Statement

  • Promote the aims and objectives of FIG to hydrographers through the active involvement of national delegates from member associations and other interested parties in the activities of the commission.
  • Foster closer links with all sister organisations currently active within the global hydrographic community.
  • Develop guidelines and standards that will assist hydrographers in the provision of their services.
  • Disseminate information relevant to the profession through participation in international meetings, conferences and committees.

Work Plan

Key documents


Working Groups

Working Group 4.1 - Strategic Partnerships

Policy issues

  • Actively pursue closer links with sister organisations, especially IHO and THS
  • Increase co-operation between international surveying bodies (IHO/FIG/ICA Advisory Board)


Mr. Adam Kerr
United Kingdom
e-mail: Adam.J.Kerr[at]

Working Group 4.2 - Vertical Reference Frame (A Joint Working Group with Commission 5)

Policy issues

  • Develop and promote the understanding and realisation of a vertical reference frame for use in hydrography.
  • Examine the demand for a seamless vertical reference frame for use in hydrography and marine navigation.
  • Develop an inventory of vertical reference surfaces used in hydrography in various countries of the international community.


Dr. Ahmed El-Rabbany
e-mail: rabbany[at]


aMs. Ruth Adams
United Kingdom
e-mail: ruth.adams[at]

Working Group 4.3 - Administrating Marine Spaces (A Joint Working Group with Commission 7)

Policy Issues

  • To develop and promote Coastal Zone Management in hydrography to include Ocean Governance and Marine Cadastre.


Michael Sutherland
e-mail: michael.d.sutherland[at]


Working Group 4.4 - Education and CPD (A Joint Working Group with Commission 2)

Policy issues

  • Hydrographic education & CPD.


Adam Greenland
United Kingdom
e-mail: agreenland[at]