French Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (SHOM)

SHOM (Service hydrographique et océanographique de la marine) has three main missions.

National hydrographic service
SHOM performs general hydrography duties for all seafarers to meet France’s international obligations under the international SOLAS Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and the United Nations convention on the Law of the Sea. SHOM collects, archives and distributes official information necessary for maritime navigation.

Support to defence
Within its areas of competence, SHOM provides all necessary defence expertise and operational support in terms of knowledge of the aero-maritime environment. In its support to Defence, SHOM provides far more than the surface navigation safety information distributed under its public service mission. Depth data is needed to ensure submarine navigational safety, and modern command systems and weapons systems require constantly updated and precise knowledge of multiple descriptive parameters of the hydrographic, oceanographic and meteorological (HOM) environment where national navy units operate. To meet these requirements, SHOM’s mission is to provide naval forces with efficient tools and services for the measurement, description and forecast of the HOM environment, tailored to the various types of warfare and the different sensors and weapons systems used.

Support to government maritime and coastal policies
Finally, SHOM provides support to government maritime and coastal policies. It also supports Government Action at Sea and provides expertise in work related to maritime limits and boundaries. It also helps collect and distribute digital data required for integrated management and sustainable development of coastal zones, as well as government initiatives to reduce marine pollution. Using its tide gauge network, SHOM helps set up advanced warning systems for risk and disaster prevention. Along with its numerous partners, SHOM is using its resources and expertise to digitally model the global ocean and helping extend the models to include the coastal areas.