FIG Commission 4 - Hydrography

Term 2011-2014

Highlights Commission Chair

Commission 4 had five Working Groups:

  • WG 4.1 resulting in the FIG Publication 62: Ellipsoidally Referenced Surveying for Hydrography
  • WG 4.2 – Standards and Guidelines
  • WG 4.3 on Optimizing Multi-Sensor Systems for Hydrographic Applications
Dr. Michael Sutherland  
  • WG 4.4 – Maritime and Marine Spatial Information Management
  • WG 4.5 – Hydrography in Africa.

Commission 4 representatives have been active in producing publications (both FIG Publications and other), organizing workshops/conferences/ conference sessions, participating in FIG Task Forces, and pertinently representing FIG on international Boards and at international meetings.

In 2014 Commission 4 has been involved in IHO Capacity Building Seminar, Monaco, March 5–6; and FIG/IHO/ICA International Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers (IBSC) meeting, April 11–17.

Mr. Gordon Johnston together with FIG Office organised a joint IHO-FIG-IMO-IOC Strategic Capacity Building meeting in Copenhagen, November.

Commission 4 continues to represent FIG on the FIG/ IHO/ICA International Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers (IBSC) jointly with IHO and ICA with 4 representatives.

Work Plan

Terms of reference

  • Hydrographic surveying
  • Offshore surveying in support of energy, environment, submarine telecommunications, ports and harbours
  • Hydrographic education, training and Continual Professional Development (CPD)
  • Marine Environment & Coastal Zone Management (CZM)
  • Data processing and management of hydrographic data
  • Nautical charting and bathymetric maps - analogue and digital, includes ENCs (Electronic Navigational Charts)

Mission Statement

The mission of Commission 4 is to:

  • 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 - Ellipsoidally Referenced Hydrographic Surveys (ERS)

Policy issues

  • Study and report on the technical aspects of using GNSS to vertically reference hydrographic surveys to the ellipsoid
  • Catalog the methods used to conduct a vertical datum transformation from the ellipsoid to vertical datums used for hydrographic and offshore surveying
  • Develop uncertainty models for both of the above


Jerry Mills
United States
E-mail: Jerry.Mills[at]