Hydrographic surveying encompasses the topographic mapping of the sea bottom and tidal mudflats as well as the determination of the positions of stationary objects at sea, both above and below the water surface (ELLMER 1998).
Mapping of the sea bottom and tidal flats constitutes the central task of hydrographic surveying. Besides that, it deals particularly with objects on the bottom of the sea that are relevant to navigation (for example wrecks).
The legal basis of hydrographic surveying is the „Seeaufgabengesetz“ (Federal Maritime Responsibilities Act). According to Art. 1.9 in connection with Art. 5(1).4, the BSH is responsible for hydrographic surveying as part of the national navigational and hydrographic services. The results of hydrographic surveying are needed for a wide range of applications at sea and in coastal waters, especially with a view to ensuring the safety and efficiency of navigation. Major users include:
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