Its main task is to work for the safety of navigation with regards to the capture and dissemination of information on the sea and shore, and to foster the development of nautical sciences.

To fulfil these tasks it has as main aims:

  • Hydrographic surveys and studies of submarine relief, on national shores and seas as well as any other area covered resulting from its cooperation with the International Hydrographic Organization (OHI), where it carries the representation of Spain.
  • Systematic observation and study of tides and currents, temperatures and acoustic and electromagnetic propagation in seawater, meteorology and all physical features affecting navigation.
  • Production of nautical charts and publications, and edition of books and documents as aids to navigation, as well as printing and distribution.
  • Update of nautical charts and publications by means of Notices to Mariners, listing all compiled data and information regarding alterations to the medium and aids to navigation, plus any dangers to it.
  • Determination of minimum features and specifications of nautical instruments to be used on board Navy vessels, and certifications of guarantee and standardization of compasses.
  • Any hydrographic or geographic work of interest for the Navy, plus such research projects as assigned to it.

Furthermore, it is tasked with the training of all Navy hydrographic staff of all ranks at the School of Hydrography, which is located inside the IHM facilities and headed by the Director of IHM.

As complementary tasks to the above are the following:

  • As the representative of Spain to the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), being a member of the following:
    • Mediterranean and Black Seas Hydrographic Commission (MBSHC).
    • Eastern Atlantic Hydrographic Commission (EAtHC).
    • Hydrographic Committee on Antarctica (HCA).
    • Several committees, sub-committees and working groups tasked with the drafting of coordination and standardization guidelines for the production of nautical charts and associated publications.
    • Co-ordinator of Navigational Warnings in the Mediterranean and Black Seas (NAVAREA III).
  • Representative of the Spanish Navy Staff to the following:
    • International Maritime Organization (OMI) regarding Safety of Navigation.
    • Comisión Nacional de Faros y Señales Marítimas (National Commission on Lights and Maritime Signals).
    • Consejo Superior Geográfico (High Geographic Council).
    • Comisión Nacional de Geodesia y Geofísica (National Geodetic and Geophysic Commission).
    • International Commission on Boundaries with France and Portugal.

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