A unique Partnership…

The International Federation of Hydrographic Societies (IFHS) is a unique partnership of worldwide national and regional learned societies that acts to promote the hydrographic expertise and careers and to foster the world hydrographic community around common initiatives and projects.

The IFHS acts as an umbrella organisation to encourage:

  • the establishment an international voice for hydrography and related disciplines.
  • the application and dissemination of hydrography and related sciences.
  • the broadest inclusion of people and organisations interested in hydrography.
  • the fostering of technological innovation for the purpose of hydrography and related sciences.

Serving the interests of the World Hydrographic Community

Blue growth challenges

The oceans are a hugely important resource, covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface. Over half of the world’s population lives within 200km of a coastline, and 9 out of 10 of the world’s largest cities are coastal.

Our uses of the sea have therefore been increasing constantly, leading the way to a Blue Growth with significant impact on the Marine environment.

Needless to say that this Blue development requires exhaustive mapping of our ocean seafloor and coastline. However, as we speak less than a quarter of the world’s oceans have been adequately mapped using real depth measurements. Contrary to full digital sea floor models used in ocean atlases such as Google Ocean Floor Depth, the sea floor needs to be properly measured in order to use and monitor it in a sustainable way.

Several international initiatives are currently fostering efforts towards a fully mapped ocean, in extenso a consolidated Marine Knowledge:

The Marine knowledge community

Hydrography is the discipline dedicated to the measurement of various physical characteristics of the oceans (or other waters) such as bottom depth, currents and waves. This 300+ years old expertise encompasses multiple technologies and techniques that are the engine of hydrospatial data and information.

Although hydrographic surveys were traditionally carried out in order to produce navigation charts, nowadays such surveys are used in many applications from Blue economy, Maritime governance and the protection of the Marine Environment. Each of these application fields requires accurate and up-to-date hydrospatial dataset to build consistent and sustainable strategies.

Through its constituent Societies, IFHS represents the full spectrum of the hydrographic expertise: contract hydrographic surveyors, government and military personnel, oceanographers, geophysicists, geologists, environmental scientists, civil engineers, port surveyors and operators, academics, project mangers, software engineers, surveyors in all sectors of private practice.

The Federation also stands for various stakeholders and corporate sectors are using the hydrographic expertise: petroleum and renewable energies companies, research and educational institutes, environmental protection and monitoring organisations, professional bodies and other associations, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, dredging and salvage contractors and others involved in associated sciences, technologies and applications.