The most senior Hydrographic Office in the world (founded in 1720) and one of the best
qualified one, SHOM has changed statute in 2007 to become a Public Establishment of the
Ministry of Defense, governed by a joint inter-ministerial Board of Directors.
As a French Public Service, SHOM is tasked
with collecting and checking all the information
necessary to ensure the safety of navigation.
SHOM also disseminates this information or
controls its dissemination to mariners. As a
field operator, SHOM carries out or supervises
hydrographic surveys in the 11 million sq. km
French EEZ and elaborates and updates the
official nautical charts, publications and ENCs.
In order to meet the Defense’s hydrographic,
oceanographic and meteorological requirements
in support of operations and the development
and utilization of weapons systems, SHOM
provides tools and services to measure, describe
and forecast the maritime environment for
These tools and services are tailored to suit the
different warfare domains (under & above
water, mine and amphibious warfare) and the
various sensors (active or passive, radars,
sonars or infrared) used by warships.
Under its new status, SHOM has been further
tasked to provide broad support to National
Maritime Policies such as, but not limited to:
– National reference in maritime
– National reference in tidal observations and
modelling, and support of alert networks for
– Marine expertise to the French Ministry of
Environment for the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive;
– Custody of the Maritime Spatial Databases in support of ICZM National policies.
SHOM is one of the five founding stakeholders of Mercator-Ocean, to which the European
commission has recently delegated the Copernicus Marine Service.
SHOM is ISO 9001:2008 certified for all its activities.