FIG Commission 4 - Hydrography



Commission 4 at FIG Congress 2022

September 2022

The XXVII FIG Congress took place from 11-15 September in Warsaw, Poland.

Read the Commission 4 report of the congress

There were three sessions of General Assembly held with the first one held online on 4 September 2022. Each Commission Chair presented their achievement in the last four years of holding the chair.

Read the Commission 4 report to the General Assembly 2022

Click here for the agenda of the General Assembly 2022

Commission 4, Chair Elect

August 2021

The General Assembly elected Mr. Malavige Don Eranda Kanachana Gunathilaka from Sri Lanka, SISL, as the Chair Elect of Commission 4, the elected Chair Elect term as the Chair of the Commission will be initiated at the FIG Congress 2022 for the period 2023-2026.

In the report from the General Assemble, you can also access the video presentation of the Candidate, Mr. Malavige Don Eranda Kanachana Gunathilakai.

Commission 4 at FIG Working Week 2021

August 2021

The Working Week took place online, 20-25 June 2021. Commission 4 held its annual meeting with outset in their prepared Report and Agenda.

Commission 4 was also involved in several sessions covering Commission 4 areas within the theme of Smart Surveyors for Land and Water Management.

To read more about Working Week 2021 in general, the full report FIG e-Working Week 2021 is available.  

FIG e-Working Week 2021

June 2021

Rear Admiral Luigi Sinapi is the International Hydrographic Organization’s Director from 1 September 2020 for a period of six years. Previously, he was the Director of the Italian Hydrographic Institute from October 2015 to July 2020.

Rear Admiral Sinapi will be giving a presentation at the FIG e-Working Week 2021 in the technical session’s Oceans and Seas = SDG14 and a Smart Future.

The title of his presentation is “Oceans’s Knowledge: the Role of the International Hydrographic Organization in the Incoming Decade”.

Article: Key Global and Technology Drivers Impacting Surveying

February 2021

The article was published in GIM International. As the FIG commission chairs are near the halfway point in their terms, they reflect on the global and technological drivers influencing their work. This article describes the breadth of work across the FIG commissions as well as the common areas. The discussion is also informed by global reports such as the UN-GGIM’s Future Trends in Geospatial Information Management and the RICS Futures Report 2020. Enjoy the article

Vacancy for a FIG Representative to the FIG/IHO/ICA International Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical (IBSC)

June 2020

FIG has four seats at ISCB. One of the FIG representatives, Prof. Dr. Keith McGowan Miller, University of the West Indies, is now stepping down after impressive 8 years on the board. FIG sends a very special thanks to Prof. Miller and to his University for his dedicated work and help to the surveying community through FIG and for the support from the university.  

FIG Commission 4 is therefore now looking for a new FIG representative replacing Prof. Miller.
FIG Commission 4 would suggest that the fourth IBSC representative is from the academic/educational background, taking into account his/her geographical location, but this call is open to all eligible and qualified candidates.  

Please see:

  1. Letter from IBSC on the resignation of Prof. Dr. Keith McGovan Miller from the University of West Indies
  2. IBSC's Terms of Reference and Rules of Procedure

It is our hope to find the FIG representative as fast as possible due to the activities of the board. It is expected that the FIG representative attends the 44th Meeting of the IBSC scheduled to take place in March/April 2021.

 FIG activities are solely based on volunteering and volunteers which means that unfortunately, there is no funding from FIG connected to this position. FIG is dependent on the support from the candidate and his/her organisation, hoping that there will be a mutual benefit for the candidate, the organisation/employer and for FIG.

Please send your expression of interest to Louise Friis-Hansen at incl CV and a short motivation soonest possible - and the latest by 10 July.

FIG Working (from home) Week 2020 - Proceedings

May 2020

During the conference days a range of articles highlighting the hot-topics, the ground breaking research, and the hidden gems in the proceedings was published.

The 2019-2020 year has been a busy one with the Working Groups focussing on representing FIG at a number of events and forum to gain insight to develops generally and also to deliver and present on the work of FIG. Through all its Working Group, Commission 4 has been actively involved in implementing its policy by working in close cooperation with relevant organisations and institutions.  Read the article

FIG Working Week 2020 has been cancelled

March 2020

It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the cancellation of this year’s FIG Working Week in Amsterdam due 10-14 May.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly and there are two overriding concerns that have caused us to make this decision at this time. 

First, the Dutch Government announced new measurements to control the COVID-19 outbreak. In the Netherlands all gatherings are prohibited until 1 June.

Second, our primary concern is always the wellbeing of you, and we would not take on the responsibility, during these times, to bring so many surveyors from all over the world together.

Report to the General Assembly

March 2020

FIG Commission 4 has prepared a written report to the General assembly.

The full agenda is available

The General Assembly has been cancelled and postponed to 2021.

FIG Working Week 2020 and FIG Commission 4

February 2020

The theme Smart Surveyors for Land and Water Management is both relevant in a world where drinking water is a scarce resource, waste water needs to be recycled rather than seen as waste, where the sea needs to be better mapped and managed, where land resources need to be protected against sea-level rise, and where land-based fresh water habitats are threatened.

Commission 4 is planning the following sessions:

Commission 4 event 18-19 November 2019

FIG Commission 4 in collaboration with PEJUTA and UTM wil be organising a hydrography seminar on 18-19 November 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The event will be supported by the National Hydrographic Centre, Malaysia and the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia. Together with the seminar, the Commisison 4 Annual Meeting will be held.
Web site:

Commission 4 at FIG Working Week 2019

The Working Week took place in Hanoi, Vietnam 22-26 April 2019. Commission 4 held its yearly meeting and was involved in several sessions covering the commission 4 areas.

Ocean Teacher Global Academy: OTGA/VLIZ Research Data Management Training Course

4-8 December 2017, Oostende, Belgium

Research Data Management (RDM) covers the planning, creating, storing, organizing, accessing, sharing, describing, publishing and curating of data. RDM is mandated by many funding agencies and increasingly by governments to provide access to funded research results. The management of data, particularly large-scale data, has many challenges, and the roles of researchers, facilities that manage marine data, repositories and libraries are coming together to provide access, preservation and archive of this data and the scholarly products associated with it.

The period for applications for the Training Course is open between  11 August – 30 September 2017. Apply through their web site: 


Commisson 4 at the FIG Working Week 2017 in Helsinki, Finland 29 May - 2 June

Commission 4 had its annual meeting during the FIG Working Week 2017 in Helsinki, Finland 29 May - 2 June 2017

Commission chairs 2015-2018 at their meeting during the FIG Working Week, 29 May-2 June in Helsinki, Finland: Remy Boudon(comm. 6) Volker Schwieger (comm. 5), See Lian ONG (comm. 10), Angela Etuonovbe (comm. 4), Steven Nystrom (comm. 9), Kwame Tenadu (comm. 8), Enrico Rispoli (comm. 3), Gerda Schennach (comm. 7), Fahria Masum(comm. 2), Brian J. Coutts (comm. 1)

News from IHO

Dear friends and colleagues a Happy New Year from Commission 4.  

Please find a circular letter from IHO relating to the creation of a technical Project Team to develop new and updated Standards for Hydrographic Surveys.  

As FIG has observer status with IHO it may be possible for FIG to have a representative (or two) who would be the points of contact for the technical standards development and relay, disseminate and provide updates, on the work of the Project Team, to FIG Commission 4 members.  

As time is short and nominations need to be with IHO by 15th February it is suggested that, if you are interested in representing FIG, you email the undersigned with an expression of interest and a brief outline of current work/Standards experience. This is a non-funded activity that will involve numerous meetings at several international locations so any applicant is advised to identify appropriate financial support.  

It would be helpful if you are planning submitting a nomination directly with your own organization to let us know in order to get an idea of the scope of the FIG interests.

Best regards

FIG Commission 4

News from IHO

OGC Marine DWG Meeting - Vancouver, Canada, January 30, 2017

The next OGC Marine Domain Working Group meeting is scheduled for January 30th, 2017, 0900-1600.
Location: Metropolitan Hotel Vancouver, 645 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada

OGC meeting page with Agenda:

Register here:

Sponsored by: IIC Technologies

You are invited to attend a meeting of the OGC Marine Domain Working Group (DWG) in Vancouver, Canada, January 30th 2017. The Marine DWG was established to address the gap in the OGC baseline with regards to marine geospatial data and to ensure knowledge is exchanged effectively between the relevant standards organizations, the OGC membership and the broader geospatial community. Although this group will not be the platform for creating new standards, it will be the platform to discuss and understand any issues, concerns, or barriers to interoperability to ensure that marine data can be effectively shared by the wider community.

With the recently finalized IHO/OGC Memorandum, this is a great opportunity to bring the community together. The Marine DWG meeting will be held the day before the IHO MSDI working group meeting, which will be held at the same location, from January 31st to February 2nd, 2017. This meeting will introduce the Marine DWG to the representatives of the MSDIWG, discuss areas of focus for the Marine DWG, develop a Work Plan, and collect feedback from MSDIWG Representatives and Marine DWG Members.

The high level activities of the DWG are expected to include;

  • Discuss the content of a conceptual model for a MSDI.
  • Discuss the types of OGC services that might be useful in providing hydrographic and seafloor survey data e.g. chart features, high resolution bathymetric coverages through standardized interfaces.
  • Define any areas for standardization and create necessary Standards Working Groups to address the gaps in the OGC, IHO and IOGP standards baseline.
  • Explore the potential for an interoperability pilots and testbeds that help define the workflows for ensuring that marine geospatial data can be used for purposes other than navigation. This will include identifying potential sponsors.
  • Determine the Big Data potential for marine data and identify relevant standardized interfaces and experiment with testbeds.
  • Promote the development of OGC best practices and standards to meet the technical needs of MSDI

This Marine Domain Working Group is open for all and we encourage any interested organizations to register and attend.

We hope to see you there!

Marine DWG Chairs

Andy Hoggarth: Sebastian Carisio: Jonathan Pritchard:

Commission 4 at the FIG Working Week 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand 2-6 May

Commission 4 had five  technical,   inspirational  and thought provoking sessions. The Blue Economy Session as well as the other technical sessions was very interesting, well attended and great contributions were made. Of notes were -

  • The Hydrographic Surveyors role and contributions to the sustained management of our Sea's and Oceans.
  • Harnessing the data collected for science and the data collected for Hydrography.

As a follow up on promoting the importance of the Blue Economy for sustainable development, FIG commission 4 will be having a one day workshop on Blue Economy during the Ocean Business conference in April 2017.

Angela Kesiena Etuonovbe,
Chair of Commission 4,
making her report to the General Assembly

The Blue Economy Conference

14 April 2015 in Southhampton, United Kingdom

Blue Economy event was organised by FIG Commission 4 and IHO, and took place during the conference Ocean Business 2015.

23-25 November 2015, Cape Town, South Africa

FIG Commission 4, IHO and ICA are the organisers of the IBSC Stakeholder Seminar on Training and Education in Hydrography and Nautical Cartography. 

Web site:

Commission 4 at the FIG Working Week 2015 in Sofia, Bulgaria 17-21 May 2015

Ms. Angela  Etuonovbe, Chair of commission 4 making her report to the General Assembly
Commission 4 had its annual meeting during the FIG Working Week 2015 in Sofia, Bulgaria, 17-21 May 2015.

Commission 4 Newsletters in Hydro International

A Career in Hydrography

Watch this brilliant video made by various representatives from Australia and New Zealand to promote the career as a hydrographer:


Commission 4 Newsletter June 2014

Commission 4 annual meeting 2014

Commission 4 will be having its annual meeting at the FIG Congress 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 17 June 2014 at 8:00 - 9:00. Commission 4 hopes to see many at the meeting.


Commission 4 at the FIG Working Week 2013 in Abuja, Nigeria 6-10 May 2013

Angela Kesiena Etuonovbe, Chair elect of Commission 4 making her report to the General Assembly.

Commission 4 had its annual meeting during the FIG Working Week 2013 in Abuja, Nigeria, 6-10 May 2013. 

  • Blue Economy Seminar, 09 April 2013 and The Ocean Business Exhibition Week, 09-11 April 2013, Southampton, United Kingdom

    FIG and IHO bring their one-off exclusive seminar to Ocean Business. The President of the IHO and The National Hydrographer for the UK will be in attendance at the ?Blue Economy? Seminar. Organised in partnership with FIG (International Federation of Surveyors) and IHO (International Hydrographic Organisation) alongside Ocean Business, this one off seminar is setting a forward looking strategy for the ?Blue Economy? and looking at the combined views of both governmental and non-governmental organisations.

  • Hydro 2012, 13-15 November, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

  • New publications
The Electronic Chart: Functions, Potential and Limitations

A Textbook for ECDIS Use and Training
By Horst Hecht et al.
Published by Geomares Publishing
Read more
Web site: 

  • David Neale of Trinidad and Tobago passed away on 7 June 2011
David Neale was a former Commission 4 Vice-Chair Administration (2007-2010). Until his passing, he was an active member the FIG/IHO/ICA International Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers (IBSC), and as well the Chairman of RICS Caribbean (2009-2011). He was also a part-time lecturer on Hydrography in the Department of Geomatics Engineering and Land Management, Faculty of Engineering, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Commission 4 at the FIG Congress 2010 in Sydney, Australia, 11-16 April 2010

Click picture for bigger format.
Michael Sutherlan

Commission 4 had its Annual Meeting during the FIG Congress 2010 in Sydney, Australia, 11-16 April 2010. The General Assembly appointed Dr. Michael Sutherland from Canada as the Chair of Commission 4 for 2011-2014.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Geomatics group and FIG (Comm 4 -Hydrography) have launched a guide on Developing a Vertical Reference Surface for Hydrography. It is a useful document on what a vertical reference surface is and how it can benefit stakeholders.

This guide is directly related to the more complex and in-depth FIG publication # 37 - FIG Guide on the Development of a Vertical Reference Surface for Hydrography.

Over the last few years it has become apparent to many in our profession that some form of recognised formal career development, above and beyond an initial degree or course of study, is becoming more and more desirable – if not necessary. Read the whole article from Adam Greenland, Chair of Commission 4.

The FIG Article of the Month in November 2005 is written by Adam J. Kerr, United Kingdom. His paper "Hydrography and Disaster Management" has been for the first time presented at the FIG Forum at the Intergeo 2005 in Düsseldorf, Germany, 4 October 2005.

Click for bigger image The South East Asian Survey Congress (SEASC) occurs every four years. This report covers the Congress in Hong Kong in November 2003. The Congress involved over 250 delegates from 25 countries. Commission 4 Technical Programme, Wednesday 5 November, 2003. All technical papers are available free of charge.

Full report by Adam Greenland on the Hydrography related papers and technical tour. FIG Commission 4 enjoyed a highly successful congress, which included 8 papers and a full day technical tour to the Hong Kong Civil Engineering Department (CED) and Hydrographic Office (HKHO). Lik-shan LAM, CED Surveyor and Kwok-chu NG, Hydrographer HKHO organised and hosted the tour, which was attended by approx. 70 persons attended the technical sessions which included papers on Chart datum & Tidal datum from GPS, GPS buoys for monitoring sea state, Current IHO activities and Marine Cadastre.

  • FIG Commission 4 ‘Hydrography’ visit to IHB, Monaco, Friday 14 November, 2003
Click picture for bigger size Adam Greenland, Chair of FIG Commission 4 visited the IHB office on Friday 14 November 2003, and met with Capt. Hugo Gorziglia, Director 2, responsible for FIG and IHB liaison. This was the first opportunity to meet since the IHB and FIG elections last year in 2002. The discussions centred on areas of future co-operation such as education, training, capacity building and generally building closer links and lines of communication. The meeting proved a great success and I would like to thank all at the IHB for their kind hospitality. The framework for future co-operation is outlined in the new IHO/FIG MoU, which will be signed at the FIG WW in Athens next year, May 2004 (
  • Report as a .pdf-file with pictures.
  • Hydro2002 - Sounding the Future - 13th Hydrographic Society Biennial International Symposium - 8-10 October, 2002, Kiel, Germany
  • Commission 4 Meeting at the Canadian Hydrographic Conference in Toronto 30 May 2002

Articles about Commission 4