The British Admiralty – UKHO

What Is The British Admiralty And What Do They Do?

The Board of Admiralty (Admiralty) was established in Great Britain and until 1964 was the government department managing naval affairs. In 1964 the Admiralty, War Office and Air Ministry were merged and the new Ministry of Defence. The Admiralty was renamed the Admiralty Board of the Defence Council.

The new board meets twice a year with the everyday running of the Royal Navy being controlled by a Navy Board. The authorities in charge of the Royal Navy are now commonly referred to as The Admiralty.

The Lord High Admiral was awarded to The Duke of Edinburgh on the Queen’s 90th birthday. There is also a Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom as well as a Read-Admiral of the United Kingdom – both are honorary offices.

The Admiralty buildings lie between Whitehall, The Horse Guards Parade and The Mall. There are 5 buildings that make up the complex. These are now used as an “office bank” by the British Government.

What Does The Admiralty Do?

The Admiralty UK Hydrographic Office provides marine geospatial data to assist with maritime decisions. They are a leading centre for hydrography.

The Admiralty supports defence, safe maritime navigation and marine development. They share geospatial information that they collect with governments and businesses worldwide.

They supply a range of charts and publications as well as custom data sets.

Using their marine data and technological capabilities, the Admiralty helps people make better decisions and make the most of the oceans of the world.

They are a primary charting authority for more than 71 states worldwide.

What Is The Blue Economy?

Ninety per cent of global trade is maritime. The Blue Economy is the sustainable use of the oceans for economic growth. As this “economy” grows we will need better and up-to-date geospatial data. The UK Hydrographic Office specializes in this information.

The Admiralty supports the growth of this economy by doing seabed mapping, analysing marine data and producing nautical charts.

Hydrographic Experts

The British Admiralty are hydrographic and marine geospatial experts providing products and services that ensure safe passage to vessels in UK waters. The Admiralty provides advice to the UK government on various subjects such as oceanography, marine cartography, computational astronomy and the Law of the Sea.

The Admiralty holds some of the United Kingdom’s most valuable location data.

Navigational Charts

For more than 200 years the Admiralty has been producing charts and publications to assist ships and crew in operating safely and efficiently delivering their cargo. Today, those charts and publications are primarily digital.

Marine Environment

The British Admiralty’s geospatial data enables better use of the marine environment. They also have a large amount of water salinity and temperature profiles. They have hundreds of observations of ocean mammals and bioluminescence collected by satellites, drones and UAVs.

Marine Geospatial Info

A diverse range of data sets is held by the Admiralty including bathymetry and seabed profiles, seabed geology, tide information, pipelines and cables etc.

How the Admiralty Works

The Admiralty now has a new office in Taunton, Somerset in the United Kingdom. The new building is providing a great space for staff to work where creativity and collaboration are encouraged. Our staff is able to work both remotely and at our offices.

Historical Timeline

1795 – UKHO is founded, and Alexander Dalrymple is appointed as the first Hydrographer.

1800 – The first nautical charts are published and sold as well as the first Sailing Directions, Tide Tables and Notices to Mariners.

1930’s – During World War II the printing is moved to Taunton. UKHO takes on new roles in the areas of oceanography and meteorology.

1990’s – UKHO registered as a trading fund and the first digital charts were produced.

2000’s – More digital products are added to the portfolio. Using ECDIS is now mandatory for navigation.

2019 – UKHO moves to Taunton.

Information sourced at –

The Tyneside trading as Charts International

The official distributor for the British Admiralty, the South African Navy Hydrographic Office, International

Maritime Organisation, and International Telecommunication Union – Contact Us