Importance of Hydrographic Survey

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Hydrographic Survey Directorate (HSD)

Survey and Land Registration Bureau (SLRB)


The importance of the Hydrographic survey

Seas are considered the most important routes of transportation and trade between the countries. It is estimated about 75% of the total transport of goods in the global trade done by sea.

Also seas are of the most important renewable natural resources to provide food, water desalination and electricity generation to meet the population growth and requirements. Therefore, it is necessary to drew considerable amount of attention of the world, especially the developed countries, for the importance of hydrographic survey and study of water bodies to reach great improvement in the field of marine surveys programs to achieve the greatest benefit from the seas both in the economic and nutritional perspective.

Hydrographic surveying (which is the study of the seabed features and water depth) of the most important security factor ensuring the safety of maritime navigation and the safety of vessels maneuvering across the sea. A ship Captain is always in need of navigational charts to steer his vessel on a safe course taking routes drawn on a chart recommended by a professional hydrographer who obtains precise knowledge in the nature of charted seas to allow for safe berthing in ports and providing the necessary tide levels information to determine the appropriate depth to allow the entry or exit of the ship from the harbor into the sea. While sailing numerous dangers must be sorted out to avoid hazards using the best aids to navigation.

Abstract of (HSD)

Hydrographic Survey Directorate (HSD) is part of Survey and Land Registration Bureau (SLRB) in the Kingdom of Bahrain, one of the oldest official bodies in the field of hydrographic Surveying in the Gulf region. Since its establishment it soul duty is producing nautical charts necessary to ensure the safety of ships and maritime navigation in Bahrain's territorial waters. In addition it worked on capturing and producing the necessary information for sea tidal levels continuously.

The section created (Directorate now) and began working since 1978. It had surveyed the territorial waters of the Kingdom gradually until lately all Bahraini waters were covered using a number of techniques based on the availability of instrument and survey equipment since the establishment of hydrographic survey section up to our time, knowing that the territorial waters of the Kingdom are 10 times its landmass. recently the completion of deeper waters in the northern region survey of Bahrain accomplished this year (2016) by adapting airborne surveys of the sea called (LIDAR) by a small aircraft in cooperation with our American Partners.

In 1992, the Kingdom of Bahrain acceded to the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), and since that time it has become an active member. Up to this day 5 Bahraini charts being published locally have been selected to be international charts. Those charts were given international portfolio numbers beginning with letters (INT), followed by four digit numbers included in the international index of Nautical Charts in addition to the local digit numbers in Bahraini chart series. These charts with special specifications are recognized globally by countries members in International Maritime Organization (IHO) and used by merchant and naval shipping.

The basic functions of hydrographic survey are:


  1. The use of a geographical projection of the earth surface in compliance with the International WGS84 Chart Datum as reference in the production of charts in GPS coordinates in positioning and measurement of area and distances
  2. Hydrographic surveys operations at sea to measure the depths through the use of electronic survey equipment
  3. Continuous recording and monitoring to the change in the tidal water levels in 12 coastal stations
  4. Study the diverse nature of the coast and reefs and gaining knowledge of the topography of the sea bed and the geographic characteristics by taking samples from different regions
  5. Create a database GIS based of all hydrographic information conspiring water and land surveying data
  6. Measuring sea temperatures and measuring the speed of sea currents and trends in the territorial waters of the Kingdom of Bahrain and stored all in the database
  7. Using licensed software programs such as (CARIS GIS Composer & CARIS HOM) for the design (drawing) and production of navigational paper and digital and electronic charts (ENC)locally
  8. The directorate maintains continues processing and updating of 16 standard scale charts using CARIS GISoftware.
  9. Signing international agreements with expertise's in the field from foreign countries such as (USA & UK) to exchange information and experiences and assent in external marketing to products, as well as obtaining membership of international organizations in the field of hydrographic survey

Summary of Survey Equipment in used:

(DGPS) differential receiver that uses corrected satellite signal to determine the precise  geographical locations positioning at sea sync with both (Multi Beam / Single Beam bathymetric Echo Sounder) to measure the depth of water (sounding) in coherent with measuring the ship movement in in all directions using (POS_MV) instrument to calculate the (Roll, Pitch & Heave movement compensator) to correct errors in reading the depths captured, as well as measuring the salinity and sea temperature and steering with the electronic compass (Gyro-compass) and navigating using (Ozi Explorer) software and several other devices all are connected to computers which run (online) during field surveys lines. Using 12 Tide Gauges at coastal stations which are connected to the Bahrain tidal network (BTN) via local GPRS massaging system from the local mobile service provider, where you can download network information (Tidal & temperature Data) remotely through a especial website on the Internet. Data are stored by local webhosting sever operated and managed by SLRB IT Directorate.

Responsibilities towards global organizations:


  1. The Kingdom of Bahrain Being a member in the International Maritime Organization (IMO), represented by Hydrographic Survey Directorate (HSD) in collaboration with the General Directorate of Ports (port Authorities in the Kingdom), to provide information to sea farers about safest routes (recommended tracks) on charts heading inbound/outbound for vessel traffic control and following the Bahrain's channel buoyage system by all ships to fulfil their International obligations under the International Maritime Organization resolutions (IMO) for the Member States through the safety of life at seas (SOLAS) Convention
  2. As member of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), which works as a consultant for the development of laws and standards that must be considered when producing a navigational chart which resulted from engaging in professional Hydro survey operations requires from the Hydrographic Survey Directorate (HSD) permanently and continuously updating all of their bathymetric data, marine publications and marine information database, in accordance to the standards and specifications internationally issued by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to Member States
  3. Maintaining the formula agreed upon internationally to exchange information S57 Marine Data Exchange Format, which are used for the production of electronic navigational charts and the development of its information