FIG Commission 4 - Hydrography

Term 2015-2018

Highlights Commission Chair

Any success of this Commission cannot be solely claimed by the Commission Chair because it is the accomplishments of the Commission’s membership that make the Commission’s successes. This opportunity is taken to deeply thank all Commission Chairs and members who positively contributed to the Commission since 2015 – their efforts are acknowledged and greatly appreciated, especially in spite of their busy professional commitments and in light of all the setbacks! Rising from a fall is victory!

Angela Etuonovbe
E-mail: aetuonovbe[at]  

Working Group 4.1 - Standards and Guidelines for Hydrography

WG 4.1 has committed itself to a number of specific outcomes based on these agreed objectives over the period of the work plan as follows:

  • Broaden the membership of WG 4.1

  • Support the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) through the work of its HydrographicServices and Standards Committee (HSSC) by participating in HSSC working groups to review hydrographic standards and guidelines, primarily:

    •  S-44 – IHO Standards for Hydrographic Surveys (the most recent version is the 5th Edition, February 2008).

    • S-100 – IHO Universal Hydrographic Data Model (January 2010)

  • Support FIG members on the FIG/IHO/ICA International Board of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers (IBSC) in reviewing and updating competency standards, namely:

    • S-5A – Standards of Competence for Category ‘A’ Hydrographic Surveyors (August 2016).

    • S-5B – Standards of Competence for Category ‘B’ Hydrographic Surveyors (February 2015).

  •  Represent Commission 4 on the FIG Standards Network and other international fora where appropriate.

  • Support the work of other FIG Commissions and Working Groups, and participate in Commission 4 events where possible.

Working Group 4.2 - Maritime and Marine Spatial Information Management

This Working Group was inactive as no work done throughout the period and no report submitted.

Working Group 4.3 – Blue Economy

Blue Economy has over the last three plus years performed the usual duties of the position related to maintaining communication among Commission 4 members, communicating with the public on Commission 4 business, and handling the administrative tasks of the Commission. Mr. Johnston has been and still is an active member and FIG representative of the FIG/IHO/ICA International Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers (IBSC). Mr. Johnston also acts as the de facto FIG-IHO Liaison, and since 2011 has worked to strengthen ties between the two organizations.

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 - Standards and Guidelines for Hydrography

Policy issues

  • Assist in the development and recognition of standards of competency for hydrographic surveyors;
  • Assist in the development of technical standards and guidelines;
  • Assist with the review of standards and guidelines.
  • Promote the need for and benefits of, professional hydrographic surveyor certification.


Peter Barr (Australia)
e-mail: pb.barmarine[at]

Michael Beard
e-mail: michaeljbeard[at]

Simon Allen (Australia) 
e-mail: simon.allen[at]

Simon Ironside (ex-officio member)
Chair SSSI Hydrography Commission (New Zealand) 
e-mail: Simon.Ironside[at]


More about the Working Group


Working Group 4.2 - Maritime and Marine Spatial Information Management

Policy issues

  • Assist in the development and promotion of marine and coastal spatial information management issues supported by hydrography and hydrographic data and information.
  • Cooperation with sister organizations and other appropriate bodies.
  • Cooperation with other FIG Commissions.


Jonathan Li, PhD, PEng, SMIEEE
Professor of Geomatics
Department of Geography & Environmental Management
e-mail: junli[at]

Working Group 4.3 – Blue Economy

Work Plan for “The Blue Economy” 2015 until 2018 is based upon the continued work of Commission 4. The Blue Economy can be a diverse and wide ranging topic but for FIG Comm 4 it shall be primarily in developing and promoting the need to manage our oceans and seas in a sustainable manner based upon good data, good environmental principles and good management practices. In this way the WG shall seek to promote and engage with IGO’s and other NGO’s to increase the understanding and awareness of the importance of the marine and ocean areas. High on the agenda will be to engage with UN-FAO and World Bank to determine how these organisations perceive the importance and benefits of managing the marine and ocean areas.

Gordon Johnston

E-mail: gordon.johnston1[at]