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​Hydrography is the branch of applied sciences which deals with the measurement and description of the physical features ​of oceans, seas, coastal areas, lakes and rivers, as well as with the prediction of their change over time, for the primary purpose of safety of navigation and in support of all other marine activities, including economic development, security and defense, scientific research, and environmental protection. (IHO)​
​GCS hydrographic survey activities covers​:
  • ​​Planning and implementation of marine surveys (hydrography and marine sciences) in marine areas of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • Collection, processing, archival and retrieval of marine spatial data.
  • Planning and execution of hydrographic infrastructure and assets.
  • Delineation of islands with geographical information.
  • The development of standards and specifications for marine survey work in Saudi marine areas.
  • Establishing marine scientific research relevant to marine surveys with a forecasting service.
  • Issuing permits to survey vessels and scientific research vessels in the Saudi marine areas.
  • Planning and execution of hydrographic and marine sciences projects with modern equipment.
  • Management of hydrographic and related marine sciences data.
  • Production of Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC), Paper Nautical Charts (PNC), and Coastal Zone Management Charts (CZMC)​.
  • Planning and management of the National Tide Gauge Network.
  • Planning and execution of relevant capacity building programs.
  • Human resources development in hydrography, marine cartography and relevant marine sciences.​