UK Hydrographic Office

The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) collects and supplies hydrographic and geospatial data for the Royal Navy and merchant shipping, to protect lives at sea. Working with other national hydrographic offices, we set and raise global standards of hydrography, cartography and navigation. The UKHO is an executive agency, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence.

Who we are

We are a trading fund of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and employ circa 950 people based in Taunton, Somerset. In the tax 2015 to 2016 our paper and digital products and services generated a turnover of £139.6 million, enabling us to pay a £49 million dividend to MOD.

Our wider group includes:

HM Nautical Almanac Office (HMNAO)
International Centre for Electronic Navigational Charts (IC-ENC)

Our market-leading portfolio of ADMIRALTY Maritime Products & Services is found on over 90% of the world’s ships trading internationally. The range includes charts and publications in both paper and digital format, offering the widest official coverage of the world’s busiest international shipping routes and ports.

Our vision is to be a world-leading marine geospatial information agency and hydrographic office.

Our responsibilities

We are responsible for:

Operational support to the Royal Navy and other defence customers by providing hydrographic services

Servicing wider government by supporting the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) obligations to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Treaty by ensuring marine data of the UK coastal waters is accurate and kept up to date

Developing valued business streams through the supply of maritime products and services

Advising the government, the MCA and the public, as well as representing the government worldwide for expert advice on hydrography

Providing information that serves small craft and leisure mariners

Offering a range of specialist consultancy services

Our priorities are to

Be the world’s most modern and progressive hydrographic office, maintaining our leading position
Support the global mission of our national security forces
Support and improve safety of life at sea for all mariners
Be recognised as a proactive leading nation in the international hydrographic community

Our framework document

Our framework document sets out the UKHO‘s purpose and role, together with the governance, policy and finance parameters that guide its day-to-day operations. It also captures MOD‘s expectations for the Trading Fund, its Top Level Objectives, and the arrangements in place to ensure the effective delivery of these expectations.

The UKHO framework document

UK Hydrographic Office’s Public Task

Maritime safety information

We assess incoming hydrographic data immediately for vital safety information. Urgent updates are issued as Navigational Warnings or chart-updating Notices to Mariners (NMs). We issued more than 1900 Navigational Warnings and over 6700 Notices to Mariners in 2015.

We issue:

Notices to Mariners (NMs)
Radio Navigational Warnings
Security Related Information for Mariners (SRIM)

We also manage secure login areas for distributors, licensees and ADMIRALTY Partners to access our safety information.

Contact Information
Director / Head: 
John Humphrey, Chief Executive
UK Hydrographic Office, Admiralty Way, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 2DN
Switchboard Number: 
+44 (0)1823 484444