The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) is obliged under the Seeaufgabengesetz (SeeAufgG) to carry out the hydrographic surveying service in the German coastal waters of the North Sea and Baltic Sea, including the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This includes the topographic survey of the seabed and tidal flats as well as the determination of the position of fixed objects above and under water, in particular underwater obstacles and coastal courses.
The topographic survey of the seabed and individual objects on the seabed (wrecks and the like) is an essential prerequisite for safe and economic navigation. However, the survey results also form an important basis for other tasks (such as coastal protection, environmental protection, oceanography, hydraulic engineering and archaeology).
Quality assured basic geodata
The BSH manages five working vessels, which are equipped with sensors necessary for the fulfilment of the tasks. The coastal topography is recorded by the Geodetic Group of the BSH. The seabed topography is routinely recorded by hydroacoustic methods (single beam and multibeam echo sounders) and the position is determined by GNSS. In coastal areas, newer methods such as laser bathymetry are used.
The recorded depths of the North Sea and Baltic Sea are processed in the hydrographic surveying database. The BSH makes these quality-assured geodata available to a large number of internal and external customers with different requirements.