World Hydrography Day 2020: Important Dates, Theme, Significance, History of World Hydrography Day, Purpose of Hydrography

World Hydrography Day 2020:  World Hydrography Day has been observed yearly on 21 June since 2006 and it was instituted by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) for the purpose of increasing awareness regarding safe navigation, protection of the marine environment and technical knowledge. Read on to know about the Meaning of Hydrography, Purpose, Themes of 2019, Significance.

Updated: Jun 09, 2020 18:08 IST

World Hydrography Day 2020: Important Dates, Theme, Significance, History of World Hydrography Day, Purpose of Hydrography

Suganya Vedham

What is Hydrography?

Hydrography is the science that is engaged with the physical features of the portion of the Earth's surface that is navigable and also adjoining coastal areas. The role of Hydrography in the smooth running of society is not small.  More than a billion metric tons of cargo moves through ports annually. Hydrography helps to make a  nation’s marine transportation system functioning in a manner that is safe, efficient, and environmentally sound. The study of Hydrography is a necessary basis of all ocean-related activities, which includes economic development, defense, research purposes, and also environmental protection.

What is World Hydrography Day?

The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/60/30 in 2005 which internationally recognized the World Hydrography Day that was the initiative of the International Hydrographic Organization. This day provides an opportunity to appreciate the work done by hydrographers that contribute greatly to keeping every nation’s waterways safe and also helps in strengthening the economy by providing accurate information. 

What is the Purpose of Hydrography?

Hydrography is a branch of applied sciences that deals with measuring and describing the physical features of water bodies. These include oceans, seas, coastal areas, as well as freshwater bodies like lakes and rivers. Hydrographic surveyors study the bodies of water to determine what the "floor" of the sea looks like. The study helps to predict the change they will undergo over time. These learnings are useful for enhancing the safety of navigation and for supporting all other marine activities. 

The marine environment undergoes constant change, which can be due to climate change or simply induced by the movement of tides and currents. Hydrography helps to keep an eye on such changes and adapt to their activities. For example, in the case of ships, 30cm extra depth on a chart means that it can carry at least 2000 more cargo. There are considerable economic benefits that can come from having a good knowledge of the marine environment.

How is World Hydrography Day 2020 observed amid Coronavirus Pandemic?

The  World Hydrography Day  2020 will focus on the key role hydrography can play in terms of autonomous technologies. These technologies include survey drones for aerial, surface, and underwater areas, as well as autonomous ships. All are invited to participate as organizations are encouraged to forward to the Secretariat any materials that they have created to support their World Hydrography Day 2020 celebrations. These are to be posted on the IHO online communication outlets. These may include pictures or videos of autonomous technologies that are operating with the help of hydrographic data.   

The World Hydrography Day theme for 2020 is expected to provide opportunities to publicize the hydrographic work and services which is made possible by national hydrographic offices, industry stakeholders, contributors, and scientists.

What is the International Hydrographic Organization?

Hydrography provides basic information for all activities that are related to the sea. The International Hydrographic Organization is the institute that works to ensure that all the world's navigable waters are surveyed and charted, which helps to support safe navigation and aids in protecting the marine environment. It has the responsibility of coordinating the activities of various hydrographic offices and thereby setting standards that will promote uniformity in the nautical charts that are used all over the world.

 The International Hydrographic Organization is an intergovernmental organization. It was established in 1921 with the additional objective of helping its member states to develop their hydrographic capabilities. It regularly issues best practices in surveying and guidelines to make best utilization of  hydrographic information

Where is Hydrography used?

The primary object of hydrography is to create nautical charts. Nautical charts can be seen as maps of the ocean as they show water depths, obstructions, and other such information a ship will need to navigate safely. sailing would be much more dangerous without nautical charts. This is crucial as ships are the centre of overseas trade. However, the uses of hydrography go beyond his purpose. Hydrography has been used to chart oyster beds, identify wrecks, and also help economies recover after hurricanes. The study has helped to assist in preserving coral reefs, to locate damaged pipelines underwater, and also to monitor the foundation of ocean wind turbines. Following are some other areas that use hydrography:

  • Safety of navigation

  • Protection of the marine environment

  • Use of marine resources: minerals, oil & gas, renewable energy

  • Maritime trade

  • Coastal zone management

  • Fishing, aquaculture, and mariculture

  • Tsunami flood and inundation modelling

  • Maritime defence and security

  • Tourism

  • Environmental protection and management

  • Search and rescue

  • Maritime boundaries and policing

  • Marine science

  • Marine spatial data infrastructure

  • Recreational boating

What is the theme for World Hydrography Day 2019?

The theme for World Hydrography Day  2019 was ‘Hydrographic information driving marine knowledge’. The year marked the centenary of the first Hydrographic Conference at Trinity House, London. It was there, just a year after World War I ended, tha the representatives of 26 countries agreed upon technical cooperation in hydrograph for the future, and hence paved the way establishing the IHO in 1921.

Topics discussed at World Hydrography Day  2019 events across the IHO's 89 Member States included: the need for more marine data in promoting sustainable development of the blue economy, environmental protection, and the prevention of marine disasters and related climate change. Other subjects like global importance of the public and private hydrographic sectors, and the continuing efforts to address deficiencies in seabed mapping through the GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project were also discussed. 

World Hydrography Day Quotes

I hope for your help to explore and protect the wild ocean in ways that will restore health and, in so doing, secure hope for humankind. Health to the ocean means health for us. - Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer

No water, no life. No blue, no green. - Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer

With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you're connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live. Most of the oxygen in the atmosphere is generated by the sea. - Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer

We know that when we protect our oceans we’re protecting our future. - President Bill Clinton

An underwater-listening device, the “hydrophone,” has, in recent years, shown that sea creatures click, grunt, snap, moan, and, in general, make the ocean depths as maddeningly noisy as ever the land is. - Isaac Asimov

Nature’s great and wonderful power is more demonstrated in the sea than on the land. - Pliny the Elder

World Hydrography Day - FAQ

1. Who initiated  World Hydrography Day?

The World Hydrography Day that was the initiative of the International Hydrographic Organization. The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/60/30 in 2005 which internationally recognized the World Hydrography Day.

2. Where is World Hydrography Day celebrated?

The day is an international observance that was instituted to appreciate the work of hydrographers all over the world. World Hydrography Day 2019 was observed in many countries like Bangladesh, Italy, Indonesia. New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Sri Lanka, and the UK.

3. What is needed to become a Hydrographic Surveyor?

The fundamental academic requirement for a person to become a Hydrographic Surveyor is a graduate degree. The subjects of study must be geography, hydrogeology, geophysics, and any other subject that might be related to these.

4. Who are members of the International Hydrographic Organization?

Considering the data till October 2019, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has listed  93 Member States which include Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, France, among many others.

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