Hydro Day highlights need for charts

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) says the theme for this year’s World Hydrography Day, “Our seas and waterways – yet to be fully charted and explored,” reflects its work helping Pacific countries develop much needed nautical charts.

World Hydrography Day on 21 June is an annual reminder of the vital role of hydrography – the science of mapping undersea features – to support transport, industry and recreation.

LINZ Group Manager Hydrography Tim Holloway says that it in addition to providing hydrographic services, such as nautical charts for New Zealand, it is working to help Pacific nations improve their maritime safety.

“Many Pacific countries lack charts for areas that are well used by shipping, or are reliant on charts that are over fifty years old and badly need updating. This is a real safety concern for countries that are so reliant on shipping,” says Tim.

“In recent months, we’ve provided the Cook Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga with maps that highlight areas of risk to shipping so these countries can make decisions on where chart updates and other safety improvements are most needed.

“We’re now contributing our expertise to a NZ Aid project to improve navigation charts in the region.  We’ve also helped build capacity in the region by holding workshops on hydrography to build skills.”

LINZ’s risk mapping approach will also have benefits for New Zealand. LINZ is now introducing this approach to help prioritise its programme of chart updates for New Zealand waters.