Organized hydrographic activities in the Adriatic date back to 1860, when Hydrographic Office was established in Trieste. In the years to come, it changed locations a number of times: Pula (1866), Tivat (1922), Dubrovnik (1923), Split (1929), Hvar (1943), Vis (1944), Monopoli (1944), Split (1944). From 1937 the Office continued its activity under the name of the Hydrographic Institute of the Navy.
After the recognition of Croatia as an independent state, Croatian Parliament established the National Hydrographic Institute on 10 April 1992, later renamed the State Hydrographic Institute.
Under the Hydrographic Activity Act (Official Gazette No. 68/98), the Institute was reorganized as a public institution named the Hydrographic Institute of the Republic of Croatia (HHI), carrying out the hydrographic activity of interest to the Republic of Croatia.
The mission of the Institute is to carry out scientific-research, development and professional works related to the safety of navigation, hydrographic-geodetic survey of the Adriatic, marine geodesy, design and production of charts and nautical publications, oceanographic research, submarine geology research and finally publishing and printing activities.
The Institute is responsible for the development of navigational safety service in the Adriatic, in conformity with the recommendations of:
- International Hydrographic Organization (IHO),
- International Maritime Organization (IMO),
- International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA),
and in cooperation with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Croatian Navy, port authorities, lighthouse authorities and hydrographic offices of all maritime states.
All collected and processed data is stored in the archives of original charts or the HHI database. Cartographic originals of all published charts are also filed in the archives. Hydrographic Institute has a library preserving about 8 000 books, textbooks and periodicals, collected over the years, or received from other institutes on exchange basis.