Almost ten years have passed since the Monaco-based intergovernmental International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) adopted the current (5th) edition of its Special Publication No. 44, Standards for Hydrographic Surveys (S-44) in February 2008. This publication, which can be downloaded at www.iho.int/iho_pubs/standard/S-44_5E.pdf, is designed to provide a set of global standards for the conduct of hydrographic surveys and collection of data which will be primarily used in the compilation of nautical charts to ensure navigational safety and the protection of the marine environment.
At its 8th meeting, last November, the IHO Hydrographic Services and Standards Committee (HSSC) established a new Project Team on Standards for Hydrographic Surveys (HSPT) which will conduct a comprehensive review of S-44 before developing and submitting recommendations for the future. Representatives from thirteen IHO Member States (Australia, Brazil, Canada, France , Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Sweden, UK and USA), Observers (International Federation of Hydrographic Societies) and Expert Contributors from iXBlue, the University of Southern Mississippi, IIC Technologies, ARGANS and Fugro gathered for the inaugural Project Team meeting, hosted by SHOM, in Paris this summer.
One of the principal outcomes was a confidential online questionnaire designed to gauge the views of S-44 users, stakeholders and the wider hydrographic community on a range of topics. The IHO is particularly keen to gather the opinions of those working in the commercial hydrographic sectors. The eventual conclusions of this exercise will be published on the IHO website (www.iho.int).
The questionnaire, which has a closing date of Friday 17th November 2017, can be found at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HSPT_S-44_Q.
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