Hydrography and chart information standards

This image is a collection of stylized graphics depicting modes of hydrographic data collection from aircraft and ship. It also shows images of the bridge of a ship and a cargo ship.

Photo courtesy of the International Hydrographic Organization.

Learn about the standards the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) follows.

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Hydrographic standards

The CHS represents Canada's hydrographic interests on the bodies that develop and oversee hydrographic and chart information standards. The primary worldwide body which deals with these standards is the International Hydrographic Organizations (IHO).

CHS has adopted and/or established several standards in cooperation with the IHO to:

  • advance hydrographic expertise and knowledge
  • ensure hydrographic products and services are available to clients in a timely manner
  • support safe navigation through internationally recognized standards and best practices

Our standards adhere to rigorous international standards for conducting our hydrographic surveys. These include:

Chart information standards

The CHS follows the standards set out by the IHO relating to the provision of nautical chart information. This information may be provided with paper products like a paper chart or in digital format like an electronic navigational chart (ENC). The key standards include the:

We're also contributing to an international effort to create the  S-100 data standard, also called the IHO Universal Hydrographic Data Model. This will eventually replace the current data standard because it:

  • extends the functionality of earlier hydrographic data transfer standards
  • allows for the presentation of real-time data, such as changes in tide levels
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