Overview of the Functions and Organisation of the International Hydrographic Bureau

Captain Robert Ward
International Hydrographic Bureau
Friday, Jun. 18, 2010, 3:00pm
Chase 130

An overview of the IHO and its role and programmes will be presented. In particular, how the IHO works, who belongs, what they do – and what they can’t do. Also to be discussed will be how industry is involved both as stakeholders and participants. A number of current issues will be covered, including S-100 and the establishment of its supporting ISO-conformant registry, e-Navigation, and Marine Spatial Data Infrastructures.


Captain Robert Ward was born in England and joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1983 after 13 years service in the british Royal Navy. As a seaman officer and hydrographer he has served both afloat and ashore in various appointments associated with nautical chart making and surveying. Captain Ward has qualified as a chartered hydrographic surveyor.

During a naval career of 37 years, over 20 of which were spent in ships, he was engaged in numerous hydrographic and oceanographic surveys around the world; including the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Mediterranean, and in the Arctic and Antarctic. In addition he conducted many detailed coastal and harbour surveys around the UK, Australia, and the islands of the South West Pacific.

Captain Ward has served in various capacities in British and Australian Navy surveying ships. Notable sea postings included Officer-in-Charge of the RAN Detached Survey Unit, Executive Officer of the oceanographic research vessel HMAS COOK and Commanding Officer of HMAS MORESBY, surveying ship. He also served for a short time as a deck officer in the british merchant navy. Ashore, his experience has included strategic planning, capability development, project management, commercial support programs, hydrographic training both in the UK and as Officer-in-Charge of the Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic School, personnel management, chart data licensing and hydrographic data copyright.

Captain Ward has a long history of involvement in national and international hydrographic relations with particular emphasis on the implementation and development of policies associated with electronic chart navigation and digital hydrographic data. He has wide experience of the IHO, IMO and related inter-governmental organisations dealing with navigation safety and standards. He has been instrumental in the implementation of both military and commercial electronic charting standards worldwide, serving on a number of committees and working groups including as Chairman of the IHO CHRIS, the then technical steering committee of the International Hydrographic Organization.

In September 2007 Captain Ward assumed his position as one of the three co-Directors at the International Hydrographic Bureau, in Monaco.  His principal responsibility is the administration of the technical program of the International Hydrographic Organization.  In addition, he is the Director assigned to the following Regional Hydrographic Commissions: Baltic, Canada and the US, East Asia, Nordic, and the South West Pacific.

Captain Ward was the Deputy Hydrographer of Australia prior to his retirement from the Navy in 2007.