Brief History

1. The Hydrographic Department of the Indian Navy derives its origin from the charting activities of the British East India Company, way back in the17th century. John and Samuel Thornton, Hydrographers to the East India Company compiled the first chart and Sailing Directions for the Indian Ocean in 1703. During the next two centuries, the captains of the ships of the East India Company went on to pioneer the charting of the Eastern seas extending from Red Sea to Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, across the Indian Ocean right up to the China Seas. On the dissolution of the East India Company, the Indian Marine Survey Department was established at Calcutta in 1874, which became a part of the Royal Indian Marine in 1882.

2. After independence in 1947, the Department continued to carry out its functions under the Surveyor-in-Charge of Marine Survey of India from Bombay. On 01 Jun 1954, the Marine Survey Office was shifted to Dehradun and was renamed as the Naval Hydrographic Office, and the Surveyor-in-Charge, Marine Survey of India was re-designated as the Chief Hydrographer of the Navy. The designation of the Chief Hydrographer was once again changed to the Chief Hydrographer to the Govt. of India in 1964, in keeping with his growing national responsibilities. The Naval Hydrographic Office was re-christened in 1997 as the National Hydrographic Office in recognition of its national stature and increasing international role. The Indian Naval Hydrographic Department (INHD) has thus completed over 300 years of hydrographic surveying in Indian waters and the National Hydrographic Office celebrated 50 years of dedicated service to marine safety in the Indian Ocean on 01Jun 2004.

3. National Hydrographic Office is the National Authority for publication of nautical charts and publications. Over 90% of the world trade takes place through the sea and with removal of trade barriers; the volume of trade is ever increasing. As part of International responsibilities this office provides coverage for marine safety information in the region comprising of Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.

4.Over the years the economic pressures have resulted in the deployment of deep draught vessels, thereby the margin of safety for under keel allowance is continuously reducing. This has placed enormous demand on more accurate and up to date Hydrographic information. The data collected by modern surveying vessels undergo rigorous verification for Quality Control before it is provided to mariners in the form of Nautical Charts. As the dissemination of marine safety information is very vital, National Hydrographic Office promulgates round the clock Navigational Warnings through Global Maritime Distress and Safety Services (GMDSS) through International Maritime Satellites.

5. Information technology applications to Hydrographic products and services have led to major developments in the world of Hydrography. One is satellite based Maritime Safety information updating service. The other is Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC) using the IMO type approved Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS). ENC/ECDIS is a cutting edge product of information technology applied to maritime navigation, and is part of the global movement of most human activity towards progressive adaptation of the galloping Information Technology. It is an intelligent and dynamic navigational information system designed to increase the safety and efficiency of navigation at sea.

6. National Hydrographic Office has a fleet of eight oceangoing survey ships fully equipped with latest hydrographic, oceanographic geomagnetic and sea gravity sensors and one recently commissioned Catamaran Hull Survey Vesel (CHSV), INS Makar in Sep 12. Five more CHSVs are scheduled to join the surveying fleet in the near future. The department has acquired state of art survey and cartographic equipment to meet the demand of the mariners for more accurate surveys.




Be vigilant for counterfeit/ photocopied Chart. Navigational Charts produced after 31 Oct 2014 carry NHO crest as watermark on the reverse with backslip. Chart Agent's stamp is mandatory on all Charts.

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National Hydrographic Office
107-A, Rajpur Road,
Dehradun - 248001, India
Maritime Safety Information Service