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About Us

We produce a global range of electronic and paper nautical charts, publications and services for the Royal Navy and international mariner. We’re a government Trading Fund and part of the UK Ministry of Defence.

Corporate Structure

Our position within government

We operate as a Trading Fund agency of the Ministry of Defence. We also support the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in meeting international treaty obligations to provide hydrographic services for waters of UK national responsibility. Further details about our position in government is available by clicking here.

UKHO Owner's Council

Our owner is the Under Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans.

The owner's council is a group of senior stakeholders from across government and the marine industry. The council meets as necessary to discuss and advise the owner on how he can meet his responsibilities. Further details about our owner's council is available by clicking here.

Hydrographic Office Board

Our Board is led by an independent, non-executive chair Sandra Rogers. It acts with delegated authority from the owner. Its' main role is to support and constructively challenge the Executive Committee and to apply scrutiny both in the development of business strategies, cases, plans and targets; and in assessing our success in delivering the approved corporate plan. Please click here for a list of members.

Executive Committee

Our Chief Executive, Ian Moncrieff CBE, heads the Executive Committee that leads, directs and manages the Trading Fund. Further details about our management structure is available by clicking here.

Corporate Data

Annual Report and Accounts 2013/2014

Our Annual Report includes our Key Targets; vision, mission and aims; and accounts. A digital version is available here.

UKHO Certifications

We are committed to providing quality paper and electronic nautical products. Our processes meet the exacting standards of the Royal Navy and commercial shipping (SOLAS) worldwide.

We strive to achieve best practice for our chosen markets and are certified to ISO9001:2008 and TickIT, Certificate number DNV 126064 – 2012 - AQ – GBR - UKAS

As part of our commitment to our staff we also meet the criteria of the Investors in People - Silver Standard.

UKHO Certifications Investor In People (IIP) - Silver Positive about disabled

Our Role and Purpose


To become the world leader in the supply of digital Hydrographic information and services.


To meet national, defence and civil requirements for navigational and other hydrographic information in the most efficient manner.


To provide hydrographic services for waters of UK national responsibility required by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

To maintain and improve hydrographic capability and flexibility to meet MoD operational requirements in peace, crisis or war.

To extract maximum value from our capabilities by providing customers with readily accessible hydrographic information and services.

UKHO's Public Task

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

Framework Document

The Framework Document identifies our purpose, vision and role, together with governance, policy and financial parameters guiding our day-to-day operations. It sets out the Ministry of Defence's expectations for the trading fund, including top-level objectives, and the arrangements to ensure the effective delivery of those expectations.

Framework document

Download the Framework Document

Annual Report - key targets

Each year we work to improve the service that we provide, concentrating on a number of key targets set by our minister, the Under-Secretary of State for Defence. You can view this year's key targets in the current annual report.

Download the 2013/2014 Annual Report

Safety of Navigation Assurance Committee

The Safety of Navigation Assurance Committee (SONAC) is an advisory sub-committee of the UKHO Board.  Its focus is on key UKHO activities related to the provision of information for safety of navigation and consists of representatives of the primary customer communities.


UK National Report

This report is produced in line with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) guidelines to production of National Reports. It provides general information about the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office and its activities of interest to Regional Hydrographic Commissions and to other IHO Member States; the report will be revised annually. A supplementary UK National Report will be submitted to each Regional Hydrographic Commission attended by UK, to provide the information specifically relevant to that Commission.

To download the report, please click here.


Charting the World for Over 200 Years

A brief history of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office


In 1795, King George III appointed Alexander Dalrymple FRS as the first Hydrographer to the Admiralty. Dalrymple set to work reviewing the 'difficulties and dangers to His Majesty's fleet in the navigation of ships'. The first Admiralty Chart (of Quiberon Bay in Brittany) appeared in 1800.

Auspicious appointees

The second Hydrographer, Captain Thomas Hurd RN, served from 1808-1823. Having received permission to sell charts to the public, he oversaw the production of volumes of sailing directions and the first chart catalogue.

The third Hydrographer, Rear Admiral Sir W Edward Parry, KT, LLD, FRS, was better known for his skills as an explorer than as a hydrographer of the Navy. He served for the relatively short period of six years.

The fourth Hydrographer, Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort KCB, FRS, was appointed in 1829. He worked tirelessly until 1855, organising surveys worldwide to expand and improve chart coverage, and encouraging international co-operation. Among his many accomplishments was the Beaufort Scale of wind strength still familiar today, the introduction of official tide tables in 1833 and of Notices to Mariners in 1834. By 1855, the Chart Catalogue listed 1981 charts, with 64,000 copies issued to the Fleet. The Admiralty now led the world in the techniques of hydrography and cartography, thanks to the efforts and vision of Beaufort.

Technological change

Developments such as the echo sounder in the 1930s and sonar in the 1960s brought huge advances in the charting of the sea bed. Recent technology has brought accuracy and data handling abilities unimaginable only a few years ago.

Since 1958, we have accepted the responsibilities of an authorised place of deposit under the Public Records Act, which allows us to maintain our own archive. This contains a vast collection of charts, books, journals, manuscript documents, letters and miscellaneous papers dating from 1755, used as source information for navigational publications.

This priceless resource also includes original eighteenth and nineteenth century hydrographic surveys by historic figures including Greenville Collins, James Cook, William Bligh, Francis Beaufort, George Vancouver and Matthew Flinders, to name but a few. Copies of Admiralty charts are a valuable source of knowledge for researchers, both within the UKHO and all over the world.

UKHO timeline

UKHO timeline

Download the UKHO timeline

Copyright Licensing

Public Section Information Regulations

The Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations (RPSI) came into force on 1 July 2005 in response to an EU Directive.

The regulations can be found at

The regulations allow public sector bodies, such as the UKHO, to make their information available to be re-used by any applicant making a request for re-use in accordance with section 6 of the regulations. However, it is not compulsory for public sector bodies to allow re-use.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) are concerned with a citizen's right to access information. RPSI provides a framework to grant permission to individuals or to public or private entities to re-use that information.

The UKHO's policy on Freedom of Information can be found through this link.

Licensing UKHO data

Most UKHO data is available for re-use under licence, either through the free on-line licensing system (for non-navigational, non-commercial or low value commercial use) or through a commercial licence agreement. Most of our licences are granted free-of-charge. Please visit our dedicated copyright licensing site for more information and to apply for licenses online.

Admiralty Collection and licensing

Admiralty Collection

The UKHO archive contains a unique record of the exploration of the maritime world including original manuscripts and early charts by Captain James Cook and Captain William Bligh.

The Admiralty Collection® offers a range of fine quality prints from our archive of charts and maps, starting at £17.50 (plus postage and packing, zero rated for VAT).

Public Data

The UKHO is a self-funding government organisation responsible for providing marine navigational products and services, and related safety information. It has remitted £55m to the government as commercially derived revenue in the past 5 years.

Since 2009 the need for any resourcing (e.g. via internal, external, permanent, temporary, through external assistance etc) has been subject to scrutiny and approval by the Chief Executive on a case by case basis. Resourcing has been agreed where it can be demonstrated that the post creates revenue (e.g. customer service and selling role) and/or is safety critical to achieve the UKHO's aims and that the means to resource (temporary, permanent, fixed term etc) is appropriate for the need.

The UKHO is at a key point of its business transformation programme transitioning from a world analogue provider to a digital business as part of its Project Amber right sizing/right skilling programme. 2010 marks the launch of our premier digital product to market requiring the retention of external (interim) assistance in developing and launching that product and the addition to infrastructure of the services and skills to support that product in the market – marketing and selling skills, 24/7customer support for example.

The UKHO has had pay delegation since 1998. We currently have a 3 band structure broadly equating to the AA/AO, EO/HEO/SEO, UG7&6 commonly found in other areas of the public sector. We are subject to the HM Trasury Civil Service pay remit arrangements agreeing our remit through our parent department (MOD) and Treasury and negotiate any changes to pay/terms within that remit on a local basis with recognised Trade Unions.

The data included on the organogram for FTE posts shows posts filled by UKHO staff or temporary staff (agency, contractors etc) or currently vacant. The pay bill data refers only to employees of the UKHO.

Our current pay ranges are:

Equivalent pay grade UKHO Pay grade 2010-2011    
    Minimum £pa Maximum £pa Performance zone
AA A2 16,036    
AO A1 17,630 20,296  
EO B3 23,680 28,124  
HEO B2 29,712 33,924  
SEO B1 37,935 41,793  
UG7 C2 47,935 54,049 60,000
UG6 C1 60,064 66,270 68,000

Junior and senior staff data, as at 1 November 2011

Junior staff as at 1 November 2011

Senior staff as at 1 November 2011

Admiralty Collection prints

We've specially selected, hand coloured and printed a series of 60 pictures, available for sale through Admiralty Distributors. The prints are suitable for framing and make perfect gifts.

See the latest selection available and order online at Sea Chest Nautical Bookshop , or telephone +44 (0)1752 222012.

The Admiralty Collection® catalogue

Download the Admiralty Collection® catalogue as a PDF.

For a print version of the catalogue, contact your nearest Admiralty distributor or email your address to:


Sign up to reproduce prints from the Admiralty Collection®. Companies such as Graphic World Limited, Felix Rosenstiel's Widow and Son Limited and the Tams Group have already done so.

Take advantage of the unique collection of maritime images held in our archives. To find out how to become a licensee visit our corporate licensing site.

or contact us at:

Customer Services
United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
Admiralty Way

Tel: +44 (0)1823 723366

Wider UKHO group

A number of organisations and companies come under the umbrella of the UKHO, either directly or through our holding company Admiralty Holdings Limited (AHL).

International Centre for ENC (IC-ENC)

We host the headquarters of IC-ENC on behalf of a number of national hydrographic organisations. The centre assures the quality of ENCs (Electronic Navigational Charts) supplied from around the world, then distributes them internationally.

HM Nautical Almanac Office

We took over responsibility for the Almanac Office in April 2006. The Office produces astronomical publications and data to support the Ministry of Defence, particularly the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. For more information on Admiralty Astronomical Paper Publications please click here.