News in 2023

FIG President attends IHO-Nippon Foundation 3rd Alumni Seminar 2023

25-27 October 2023, London, UK


FIG and International Hydrographic Organisation has a Memorandum of Understanding

Left to Right: Mr G Johnston (FIG C4), Mr A Essenhigh (UK hydrographic office), Dr D Dumashie (FIG President). Mr Mitsuyuki (ED The Nippon Foundation), Mr L Sinapi (IHO Director), Mr L Manteigas (IHO Assistant Director)

At the invitation of Rear Admiral Luigi Sinapi, Director International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) FIG President Diane Dumashie attended the  IHO and Nippon Foundation Alumni seminar, convened over 3 days in London, UK.  

FIG has a strategic relationship with IHO and over a number of years, we have forged an impactful partnership particularly using as our basis the FIG/IHO memorandum of understanding. This focuses on a mutual collaboration through professional as well as academic and educational exchange between our members to share knowledge and expertise.

G. Johnston, FIG Commission 4  presenting on Standards

D Dumashie presenting day 1 Key welcome

The operationalisation of this relationship is spearheaded by FIG Hydrography commission (Commission 4), chaired by Dr M. D Eranda K Gunathilaka.  During the meeting a joint presentation was made by  Adam Greenland (formerly FIG Commission 4) New Zealand, and Gordon Johnston RICS (current C4 Vice Chair). Gordon often represents FIG within the IHO and IMO community  actively contributing to the furtherance of our hydrographic profession particularly in accreditation and education.

FIG and IHO share much in common, we both give great importance to the training activities all around the world. As professionals we need highly trained, highly skilled cartographers, hydrographers and geodesists to work for the global maritime community; but these skills need to include the managerial and leadership skills ever more demanded by society.

The alumni 2023 Seminar - Day 1

2023 Alumni and dignitaries Group photo

Leonel Manteigas, IHO Assistant Director chair of the first morning program. It was opened with key note and welcome addresses from by Mr Mitsuyuki UNNO, Executive Director of the Nippon Foundation, Radm Angus Essenhigh, UK National Hydrographic office, RAdm Luigi Sinapi, IHO Director, and FIG President Diane Dumashie.

An informative first session followed including Rear Admiral Mustafa Iptes, IHO immediate past Director who reflected on the previous two IHO- Nipon Alumi training programs (Bangkok, Singapore and now London). A concise history since its formal inception in 2009 to the present day, was presented by Mr Jeff Bryant (paper). This session concluded with the Nippon Foundation UK Director providing a detailed overview of the extensive ocean related projects ongoing in the Foundation.

Quote Nippon Foundation Oceans

The second session moved into ‘the power of partnerships, presented by FIG President Diane Dumashie ( presentation), The work of IBSC, presented jointly by Gordon Johnstonon and Adam Greenland (New Zealand) Its duties are to maintain standards, review program submissions, vist and review programes. The session closed with a presentation by Mr Jamie McMichael-Philips Director of the Nippon Foundation GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project.

The final session of the day, chaired by Lucy Fielding  (UK National Hydrographic office) concluded with six presentations relating to the development of the Geomac project, its work program, administration, academic rigour, statistical analysis and 2 alumni experiences having undergone the training. A key take-away from the session was the work package on ‘Empowering women in hydrography’.

The Training Program: Partnership, IHO, The Nippon Foundation and UK HO

Supported by the Nippon Foundation, the 20week training program concept is to train and build the capacity of charting and hydrography. To attend the seminar, Alumni are drawn from the training program Initiated by the former Japanese chief hydrographer, funded by Nippon Foundation (HQ Tokyo,, coordinated by IHO and with  UK National Hydrography Office as training partner. 
Since the program inception 50 countries have been supported and in so doing this has helped to improve the charting coverage across the world.  The bond in the alumni network was clearly visible in the room, with alumni attending from across the years.

Further, the partnership formed by IHO and the Nippon Foundation is based on mutual focus.  The Nippon Foundation is large and philanthropic with a focused line of activity (amongst others) relating to the protection of the Oceans. 

The Nippon Foundation HQ


In conclusion:

There is much FIG and IHO can do together. The continuing partnership work in FIG Commission 4, including mapping the plastic, standards and the blue surveyor, the latter also raised by CLGE (see also CLGE 2022 conference).  In addition to working initiatives as mentioned above, Empowering women in hydrography ’which speaks to work in FIG Commission 7 and FIG Commission 1.

Looking forward, there is more to hear as FIG community particularly Commission 4 continues to build the MOU relationship strengthen our joint objects to build the capacity and to tackle the global challenges.



Dr D A Dumashie,
November 2023