ISO and IHO strengthen cooperation on hydrographic Standards

Various aspects of hydrography and nautical charting

Issue 38 – May 2012

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase their cooperation. The MoU strengthens the existing cooperation between the IHO and ISO technical committee 211 on international Standards on hydrography and nautical charting and related data, products and services, and seeks to avoid duplication of work.

The MoU was signed by Rob Steele, ISO Secretary-General, and Alexandros Maratos, President, Directing Committee of the IHO.

Steele comments, 'ISO and IHO already work in close cooperation and I know this MoU will reinforce the links between the two organisations and help the domain of geographic information by harmonising and sharing their best practices. It will provide a framework for the development of sector-specific applications using geographic data also.'

Maratos welcomed the signing of the MoU, by saying, 'This MoU will ensure that hydrographic information is increasingly available in a form that is based on common and well-understood international Standards. This will mean that the information can be used to maximum effect and will improve the benefits for safety of navigation, protection of the marine environment, and global economic development through the sustainable management and use of all the properties and resources of the World's seas and oceans.'

Harmonising work programmes and sharing expert resources

The IHO, based in Monaco, is the inter-governmental organisation that sets the international standards for nautical charting and hydrography. It is increasingly aligning its standards with the international Standards developed by ISO technical committee (TC) 211 Geographic information/Geomatics. ISO/TC 211 covers standardisation in the field of digital geographic information.

ISO/TC 211 and the IHO will be able to harmonise their respective work programmes to achieve mutual benefit by sharing expert resources. Existing IHO specifications for geographic information will be aligned wherever possible with ISO 19100 series of Standards. This series standardises aspects of the description and management of geographic information services.

Standardisation facilitates innovation in cartography and geography

The disciplines of cartography and geography, in response to technological innovations, have undergone significant changes in the past half-century. Traditionally, geographic information was produced and used primarily by the mapping and geographical community. Increasingly, geographic information is being created and used by many other stakeholders, especially in business and government. Standardisation is now helping to facilitate innovation and the international sharing of new developments in this field.

Standardisation of geographic information facilitates digital information and data exchange and technology-based applications, allowing business and consumers to access location-based information on a variety of mobile devices. In hydrography, standardised electronic navigational charts issued by governments now cover the globe.

Published in international.