BACKGROUND - Advisory Board

During the International Congress of Surveyors (FIG) at Wiesbaden in 1971, a Working Group was formed by Commission IV (Hydrography) to develop International Standards of Competence within the profession of surveying at sea. At the International Hydrographic Conference held at Monte Carlo in 1972, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) set up a working group for the compilation of training programmes in hydrography conducted by Member States. In 1974, at the XIV FIG Congress in Washington, it was resolved that the FIG and IHO working groups combine to study and modify the Report of the FIG working group on Educational Standards.

 The Report of the joint FIG/IHO WG was accepted by the two parent bodies at their respective conferences in 1977. In consequence of similar resolutions passed at these conferences an International Advisory Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors (the Board) was formed.

 Since then the Board has met annually and compiled and regularly updated "Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors" (the Standards). The intention of the Board in preparing these Standards is to provide guidance whereby individual surveyors may be trained and qualified in accordance with internationally accepted levels of competence. The Standards indicate the minimum degree of knowledge and experience considered necessary for hydrographic surveyors, and provide a set of programme outlines against which the Board may evaluate programmes submitted for recognition.

  The IHO Second Extraordinary Conference in March 2000 approved  the development of a set of  Standards of Competence for Nautical Cartographers. Immediately the need to establish a body that could develop these Standards was envisaged. Following some discussions, it was agreed that the FIG/IHO International Advisory Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors (IAB) could be the appropriate body to lead the preparation of these Standards, with the contribution of other organizations such as the International Cartographic Association (ICA) and learned institutions running courses on nautical cartography.  After coordinating with FIG and ICA authorities at the 2001 International Cartographic Conference held in Beijing, China, IHB recommended that IHO  invite ICA as the third parent organization of the Board. Therefore, the Board changed its name to FIG/IHO/ICA International Advisory Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers, developing new Terms of Reference.   

 The first draft of the Standards was prepared with the valuable support of the International Maritime Academy, and submitted for consideration to the IAB, through the IHB. The Board improved the text and decided to circulate it to several institutions for comments. Finally, in June 2003, during the XXVIth Meeting of the A. Board, the new Standards for Nautical Cartographers were officially approved.