Basics of hydrographic surveying

Safety and efficiency of navigation

The surveyed data are the basis for the production of the nautical chart, digital terrain models, traffic safety measures such as the determination of shipping routes and buoys for hazardous areas, marine investigations and wreck investigations as well as coastal protection. Especially in the coastal area of the German North Sea, the morphology of the seabed is subject to constant changes due to tides and other currents. Therefore, repeated surveys at intervals of one to three years are necessary. The changing seabed is generally not visible, therefore the survey must be carried out systematically (linearly or area-wide) in order to plausibly record the topography of the seabed.

Working area

The BSH's working area for hydrographic surveying extends over the territorial sea and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Germany and thus covers an area of about 57,000 km², which corresponds to about 1/6 of the area of Germany. Both the German Bight and the southwestern Baltic Sea are extremely busy waters with only shallow water depths. A reliable knowledge of the seabed topography is therefore of particular importance for the safety and ease of maritime traffic.

Assigned task

The assigned task defines which areas are to be surveyed at which intervals and which scale for the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

Annual task

The annual task specifies which areas are to be surveyed in the current year.