About Institute

Development and Functions. Organized hydrographic activities in the Adriatic date back to 1860, when Hydrographic Office was established in Trieste. In 1920 the Office moved to Pula, and thereafter under different names continued to relocate along the Adriatic coast: Tivat (1922), Dubrovnik (1923), Split (1929), Hvar (1943), Vis (1944), Monopoli (1944), and finally Split (1944). In 1937 it was named the Hydrographic Institute of the Navy, and as such continued its activity after the Second World War.

After the recognition of Croatia as an independent state, the Croatian Parliament established the National Hydrographic Institute on 10 April 1992, later renamed the State Hydrographic Institute.

Hydrographic Activity Act (Official Gazette No. 68/98, 110/98, 163/03 and 71/14) restructured the Institute as a public institution under the name of Hydrographic Institute of the Republic of Croatia (HHI), effective as from 5 January 2000. 

Hydrographic Institute carries out the hydrographic activity of interest to the Republic of Croatia, covering scientific research, development and professional tasks relating to the safety of navigation, hydrographic-geodetic survey of the Adriatic, marine geodesy, construction and production of nautical charts and publications, oceanographic research, submarine geology research, as well as publishing and printing.

The Institute is responsible for the development of navigational safety service in the Adriatic, within the worldwide navigational safety system, and in cooperation with the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, port authorities, the Croatian Navy, lighthouse authorities, and hydrographic offices of all maritime countries, following the recommendations of:

  • International Hydrographic Organization (IHO)
  • International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  • International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).

All collected and processed data are stored in the archives of original charts or the HHI database. Cartographic originals of all published charts are also filed in the archives. 

Exhibition space of the history of Hydrography exhibits instruments and equipment displaying the working and operation methods in the past period.

Library of the Hydrographic Institute holds about 9000 books, textbooks and periodicals collected over the years, or received from other institutes on exchange basis.

Hydrographic Institute owns two survey vessels (“Hidra” and “Palagruža”) and a small boat, which are designed and equipped for hydrographic surveys.

History of the Institute

Seafaring on the coasts of the Adriatic, and of the Mediterranean, has been developed since ancient times, giving evidence of early existence and development of navigational knowledge of the most favourable routes, channels, shelters, and harbours.

Many aids to navigation have been preserved, like nautical charts, portolans, descriptions of coasts with warnings to mariners, yet lacking precision because of absence of any kind of scientific investigations. The first important contribution to the development of the hydrographic activity in the Adriatic was made by the French hydrographer Beautemps-Beaupré, through his survey of the East Adriatic ports, bays and channels, conducted between 1806 and 1809. Marking the 200th anniversary of that survey, the HHI published its special edition entitled “Eastern Adriatic in the Work of Beautemps-Beaupré”.

In the first half of the 19th century, the survey and research in the Eastern Adriatic were continued by the Hydrographic Office of the Austro-Hungarian Navy founded in Trieste in 1860. They produced navigational charts at different scales (general, coastal, and harbour charts), nautical publications (pilots, lists of light, descriptions of coasts), and scientific papers dealing with astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, gravimetry, and geomagnetism.

From 1922, after the break-up of Austria-Hungary, the hydrographic activity continued at the Hydrographic Institute of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, in several centres, Tivat, Dubrovnik, and Split, during the Second World War in Hvar, Vis, and Monopoli, and by the end of 1944 finally in Split. That year marks the beginning of the true scientific development of the hydrographic service organised in the following departments: nautical, hydrographic, geodetic, oceanographic, aero-photogrammetric, cartographic, meteorological, and reproduction department. Through cooperation with hydrographic institutes of all maritime countries and membership in the International Hydrographic Organisation since 1922, the Institute has achieved valuable results and worldwide reputation.

During the Croatian War of Independence, all data, instruments and equipment have been preserved. Today’s Hydrographic Institute of Croatia has developed into a modern institution keeping up to date with current technological trends, following the recommendations of the IHO.


Vision & Mission

HHI contributes to the safety of navigation in the field of hydrographic activity, thus strengthening the Adriatic orientation of Croatia, paving the way for the development of maritime economy and economy in general on the principles of sustainable development.

Our mission is to carry out hydrographic survey of the sea and seabed, to analyse the data and publish official charts and nautical publications, and to provide other information following international and national regulations and standards. In this way, we pave the way for safe traffic of people and goods in the Croatian part of the Adriatic, for management of the sea and seabed resources, for safeguard and protection of the environment. Besides our basic orientation to mariners, maritime economy, and relevant government administration bodies, we direct our activities at enhancing our own knowledge and the competence of all users of Maritime Safety Information (MSI). We pursue our mission through efficient use of available human, material, information, and other resources.