About us

The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) is a world-leading centre for hydrography, specialising in marine geospatial data that helps others to unlock a deeper understanding of the world's oceans.

Who we are

We are a trading fund of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and employ circa 850 people based in Taunton, Somerset. In the tax year 2017 to 2018 our paper and digital products and services generated a turnover of £151.6 million, enabling us to pay a £19.1 million dividend to MOD.

Our wider group includes:

Working with a wide range of partners, we source, process and provide access to marine geospatial data, ranging from seabed to surface. This is key to helping others make the best use of our oceans in safer, more secure and more sustainable ways.

Our market-leading portfolio of ADMIRALTY Maritime Data Solutions is found on over 90% of the world’s ships trading internationally and provides the widest official coverage of the world’s busiest international shipping routes and ports. Depended upon by mariners for over 200 years, the range includes over 15,800 Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs), 3,500 Standard Nautical Charts (SNCs) and over 200 paper and digital publications.

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

Find out more about the work we do, our history and the services we offer as an organisation in our Corporate Brochure.

Our responsibilities

We are responsible for:

  • Providing operational support to the Royal Navy and other defence customers by providing hydrographic services

  • Servicing wider government by supporting the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) obligations to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention 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

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.

UKHO framework document

Our public task

Our public task defines those things that UKHO is required to do by statute or common administrative practice.

UKHO public task statement

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 1700 Navigational Warnings and over 6000 Notices to Mariners in 2017.

We issue:

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

Corporate information

Access our information

Jobs and contracts

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