Hydrospatial: It’s All About the Blue of Our Blue Planet and its Contiguous Zones

By Denis Hains(1); Maria Emanuela Mihailov(2); Victoria Obura(3); Parry Oei(4) and John Maschke,(5) Members of the “Hydrospatial Movement Club”

(1) President and CEO, H2i, Ottawa, Canada; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(2) Senior Researcher, Maritime Hydrographic Directorate Constanta, Romania; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(3) Hydrographic Surveyor, Kenya National Hydrographic Office, Nairobi, Kenya; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(4) Adviser (Hydrography) for Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(5) Captain RAN (Ret’d), Executive Council Member Australasian Hydrographic Society, Cairns, Australia; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The term hydrospatial was first used in the UK in early 2000’s. Hydrospatial aims to broaden and expand the more widely known term ‘hydrography’ beyond the realm of sea navigation. Some may prefer to use Spatial Hydrography. But it is suggested that the term hydrospatial provides a refinement of the concept of blue geospatial in the blue economy.

At the end of 2020, a global Hydrospatial Movement Club and Community (HMCC) was created to promote the concept of hydrospatial. The HMCC was first started by a global «club» of professional volunteers in the water domain. In February 2022, the HMCC is now a club of fourteen volunteers and more than 3,500 community members worldwide. All members of the HMCC community are interested in promoting and advocating the importance of marine and aquatic geospatial or blue geospatial data, information and knowledge, and the hydrospatial domain.

Figure 1 in both articles Hydrospatial BlueThe Blue Planet…

The February 2020 working draft definition of the term hydrospatial was originally derived from the existing International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) definition of hydrography. Although the original draft definition stood for a while; it was considered too long and complex.

In the context of the HMCC, the HMCC volunteers based around the world with an interest on ‘the blue of our blue planet and its contiguous zones’ agreed to put their heads together to review and exchange knowledge and thoughts on how to simplify the description of the term hydrospatial. Together, the HMCC aimed to clarify and simplify the definition for the term hydrospatial. We were also inspired to publish articles and papers using hydrospatial, which was described by one independent author as: ”…that portion of geospatial knowledge infrastructure that addresses the hydrosphere, and hydrospatial technologies support navigation, economic development, stability, security and defence, resilience and scientific research.” (Smits M., June 2021)

Figure2 for Long article HMCC LogoThe HMCC Logo

Vision, Mission and Objectives

The HMCC is neither a non-for-profit organization, nor an overly structured group. It is a group of volunteers emerging from the power of social media, particularly LinkedIn. This group is willing to invest some of their own time “Pro Bono” for the importance of bridging interests, creating momentum, synergies, and alliances in hydrospatial of all the existing structured organizations. They do this by advocating the importance of knowledge, information, and data sharing of the blue of our blue planet and its contiguous zones. (By contiguous zones, we mean the water column itself, the bottom of the water, its sub-bottom, the coasts, the flooding zones, and even the air-water interface).

The HMCC carries out outreach by publishing, mobilizing, bridging and engaging ocean, inland waters and coastal professional volunteers. The aim is to better the understanding and the use of the term hydrospatial in order to explore and exploit marine and aquatic blue geospatial data, its contiguous zones and information to the broadest extent possible.

Like many other professional groups, the HMCC values are based on behaving with trust and respect, demonstrating sustained commitment and proactivity, and interacting in an honest and efficient manner. All this with the aim to promote, produce, share, and stimulate collaboration and the production of quality policy, technical papers, articles, presentations, and professional relationships on hydrospatial.

Also, by maintaining a strong, credible, and active core club of members from every continent of the world, we hope to grow the HMCC into a large, vibrant community using the social media as a vehicle.

The Current “Club” Membership

The core Club is currently composed of fourteen global members including two co-leads and two members per continent for the African, American, Asian, Australasian and European Nodes. The Asian Node counts four members. Those members drive thought leadership in the use of hydrospatial to create a momentum to get the HMCC taken off as a community and make a difference by advocating for hydrospatial. The shape, the form and the structure of the HMCC are expected to be flexible and fluid to adapt to the issues, opportunities and areas of interest for hydrospatial.

Figure3 for Long article HMClubMembers of the Hydrospatial Movement Club of the HMCC photo from ZOOM Screen Shot

Figure4 for Long article HMCC MapMap of the World showing the locations of the current Club members from the HMCC.

A Growing Inclusive Global Community

Everyone interested in joining the professional volunteer’s community can join by becoming a member of the HMCC LinkedIn Group site here. Since August 2021, the group has been growing to more than 3,500 members in February 2022. Activities such as Nodes Virtual Workshops will be scheduled on topics related to hydrospatial. More information on hydrospatial and the HMCC can be found on a Story Map here.

Conclusion and Next Steps

It is not the HMCC intention to replace the term hydrography with the term hydrospatial or to replace any other terms, activities or organizations.

All individuals and organizations interested in furthering the thoughts and activities of hydrospatial are invited to join the HMCC via its LinkedIn group here and/or reach out to one of the authors to express their interest.

Feedback, constructive comments and suggestions are welcome. If you reached to this point, it means you are interested, and the authors would like to invite you to register as a volunteer member of the hydrospatial community by becoming a follower of the HMCC LinkedIn site. It is free, it is important for “all the blue of our planet and its contiguous zones”, and it is fun!


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