What is hydrography?

  • helicopter on ice, while CHS hydrographers complete their work.

    Helicopter on ice, while CHS hydrographers complete their work.

  • deployment of an autonomous underwater vehicle into the icy waters of the Canadian Arctic

    Deployment of an autonomous underwater vehicle into the icy waters of the Canadian Arctic.

  • composite of Nautical chart of Malacca Passage showing a strip of multibeam echosounder data

    Composite of Nautical chart of Malacca Passage showing a strip of multibeam echosounder data.

  • 3D view of multibeam data showing an underwater wreck north of Banks Island (BC)

    3D view of multibeam data showing an underwater wreck north of Banks Island.

  • CHS hydrographer setting up a positioning station

    CHS hydrographer setting up a positioning station.

  • CHS hydrographic survey launch.

    CHS hydrographic survey launch.

  • CHS hydrographer spot sounding in the Canadian Arctic

    CHS hydrographer spot sounding in the Canadian Arctic.

"Hydrography is the branch of applied science which deals with the measurement and description of the depths, tides, currents and physical features of the navigable waters and adjoining coastal areas, with special reference to their use for the purpose of safe navigation."

Adapted from: Hydrographic Dictionary, International Hydrographic Organization,
(Monaco, 1994, Fifth Edition)

The Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) creates navigational products—such as charts and tables of the tides, currents and water levels of Canadian navigable waters—and offers services to ensure the safety of mariners, in accordance with the standards of the International Hydrographic Organization.

As Canadian hydrographers work to devise better techniques for data acquisition, data processing and data management, they are constantly innovating and applying their knowledge in several disciplines, including seamanship, cartography and computing, to conduct the work over which CHS has legal authority. CHS' advice and expertise regarding hydrography and oceanography contribute to Canada's economic prosperity.

Explore this Website to learn more about Hydrography