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First global hydrographic innovation and technology laboratory established in Singapore

Singapore and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) have launched the joint IHO-Singapore innovation and technology laboratory today.

The Laboratory seeks to optimise the resources of IHO Member States to harness and develop emerging technologies in the hydrographic domain that support safe maritime navigation and the protection of the marine environment.

In accelerating innovation in the field of hydrography, the Laboratory aims to (i) conduct research and testing of projects proposed by IHO Member States, IHO organs and other stakeholders; (ii) grow knowledge and foster collaboration on global standard-setting for the development and application of technologies enhancing safety at sea; and (iii) promote a multidisciplinary and collaborative environment to drive innovative solutions and develop pioneering technologies through active partnerships.

For a start, the Joint IHO-Singapore Innovation and Technology Laboratory will embark on the following two pilot projects:
i. Investigate the automated conversion of the IHO S-57 Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) to the IHO S-101 ENC. This project supports the development of the Dual-Fuel Electronic Chart Display and Information System.
ii. Develop a digital Infrastructure to improve information exchange between harbours and hydrographic office. The outcome of this project will inform the IHO S-131 Marine Harbour Infrastructure product specifications.

The Laboratory is overseen by a Governing Board chaired by Mr Abri Kampfer,  the IHO Director in charge of the IHO Work Programme II. Its General Manager, Dr Parry Oei, Adviser (Hydrography) of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), leads the day-to-day operations. Please refer to the Annex for details on the leadership team of the Joint IHO-Singapore Innovation and Technology Laboratory.

IHO Secretary General, Dr Mathias Jonas, said, “The Joint IHO-Singapore Innovation and Technology Laboratory will provide a dedicated space to test and evaluate new ideas to enable their smooth transfer into practice. This is a key element which has been missing and will help progress in digital hydrography. The laboratory is designed to become the testing ground for the future of hydrography.”

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport, Mr Chee Hong Tat, said, “Singapore supports international efforts to develop hydrographic technologies that enhance safety of navigation and protection of the marine environment. The Joint IHO-Singapore Innovation and Technology Laboratory is an important endeavour to harness the collective resources and expertise of IHO Member States. Singapore is honoured to be the host country of the Laboratory.”

In conjunction with the launch of the Laboratory, MPA is hosting a four-part webinar series from 26 October 2021 to 29 October 2021 on integrated marine geospatial information management. The webinar series is jointly organised by IHO, MPA, Open Geospatial Consortium and the United Nations Secretariat for Global Geospatial Information Management through the Working Group on Marine Geospatial Information. It brings together leading international experts in the field of marine geospatial information to discuss (i) technology and innovation; (ii) operational framework; (iii) practices; and (iv) standards for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable marine geospatial information management. Details of the webinar series can be found at bit.ly/2021WG-MGI_webinar.

The International Hydrographic Organization works to ensure that the world’s seas, oceans and navigable waters are surveyed and charted, thereby supporting safety of navigation and the protection of the marine environment. It coordinates the activities of national hydrographic offices and sets standards to promote uniformity in nautical charts and documents. It issues survey best practices and provides guidelines to maximise the use of hydrographic information.