Data Products and Surveys

When creating charts and navigational products, CHS collects a wealth of data that is invaluable for a wide-range of research, survey and navigational projects.

Field Surveys

Field Data (Digital)

Modern hydrographic surveys are conducted using the latest satellite positioning technology, advanced multibeam bathymetric data collection systems, and powerful data processing, analysis and portrayal tools.

For information on available digital hydrographic data, please email us at

Field Sheets (Hardcopy)

CHS has an extensive collection of hydrographic survey data in the form of field sheets based on over 100 years of surveying in Canada. Data has been collected using a wide range of methods and systems, from lead-line to modern day multi-transducer and multibeam systems. Positions have been established using the different types of terrestrial systems and methods available over many years - up to the latest advanced satellite positioning systems.

For information on available field sheets, please email us at

Hydrographic Surveys

CHS hydrographers are actively engaged in surveying and measuring Canada’s inland navigable waterways out to the edge of the continental shelf and beyond, the Great Lakes, and the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Ocean coasts. The data collected by hydrographers is used to produce authoritative nautical charts and publications which support a broad range of marine activities.

Hydrographic surveys capture water depths, geographical features, hazards to navigation, man-made and natural features that aid navigation, tides, currents and water levels, and sea bottom characteristics. We follow rigorous, internationally-recognized standards and guidelines when we conduct hydrographic surveys.

To learn more about our guidelines and standards:


Bathymetric Products

Bathymetric Maps

CHS’s bathymetric maps contain a wealth of detail about the nature of the seafloor and the material beneath it. These maps are generally of interest to users whose prime focus is not navigation. Although CHS no longer produces lithographically printed versions of bathymetric maps, a large number of bathymetric maps from our Natural Resource Map series is available for free download. This data is available under a free license from the following link:

Magnetic and gravity maps are available from the Geological Survey of Canada.

General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO)

The General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) series consists of 18 map sheets covering the world. An overview map is also available. GEBCO maps are available as a box set of printed maps from CHS or as individual sheets.

A digital version of GEBCO has been published by the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) on behalf of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and the IHO. The 3rd edition of the GEBCO Digital Atlas was released in April 2003 and can be obtained through the BODC. For more information contact the BODC by email at or via the BODC web site.

Bathymetric Gridded Data

CHS offers 500-metre bathymetric gridded data for users interested in the topography of the seafloor. This data provides seafloor depth in metres and is accessible for download as predefined areas.

Although the current bathymetric gridded data collection is limited, it will be continuously expanding as more data becomes available. This data is available under license from the following link:

For more information on our bathymetric gridded data, please email us at

CHS High Definition Bathymetry Trials

The Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) is involved in the development of the next standard to be used for bathymetric data named S-100. This new standard will permit the management of gridded bathymetric data in high definition. CHS wants to test and try technical solutions in collaboration with software manufacturers, mariners and other potential users of High Definition (HD) bathymetry. For this, CHS provides to interested persons datasets of HD bathymetry. The sector of Trois-Rivières harbour was selected for these initial trials.

The datasets include 18 HD bathymetry cells.

  • 16 cells of level 1
  • 2 cells of level 2

These datasets are available under license and may be used for tests and trials only.

If you wish to request a copy of the test data, please download and save a copy of the Direct User Licence Agreement. You may complete it electronically or by hand. The portions of the licence to be filled in by the recipient are shown in blue text. Please return the completed DULA to CHS by fax at 613-996-9053 or by e-mailing the complete PDF file to

  • Level 1 cells

    Level 1 cells

  • Level 2 cells

    Level 2 cells

Technical Details

The data are coded into 32 bit Geotiff format. This encoding format was retained by CHS for now, but CHS plan to use the format JPEG2000 when the software libraries will be more accessible.

Suggested Open Source Library for Geotiff 32 bits is GDAL (Geospatial Data Abstraction Library)

Level 1
Cell covering an area of 0.02 x 0.02 decimal degrees with a grid resolution of 0.00002 decimal degrees (resolution of approximately 2 meters).
Level 2
Cell covering 0.1 x 0.1 decimal degrees with a grid resolution of 0.0001 decimal degrees (resolution of approximately 8 meters).

Each TIFF file has a resolution of 1000 pixels by 1000 pixels

Each cell name begins with the S-W corner lat-long coordinate in decimal degrees followed by the level of resolution (example : 46307256_LOD1.tif).

Depths are in meters and referenced to chart datum

Depths above chart datum are coded as positive numbers while depths below chart datum are codes as negative numbers.

Suggested applications to open and visualize Geotiff 32 bits files with the depth values:


Terms and Conditions for Use of the Canadian Hydrographic Service Digital Data on the CHS Public Website

If you would like to use digital data from the Canadian Hydrographic Service Public Website, please read this Canadian Hydrographic Service Public Website Clickwrap Agreement. If you agree with the terms and conditions of the CHS Public Website Clickwrap Agreement, please click on the "I agree" button.

Notice for your safety: Please note that data obtained from this site is not suitable for navigation. Only official charts issued by or on the authority of the Canadian Hydrographic Service meet the requirements of the Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations, 1995.

Horizontal Control Point Data

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is the authoritative source for horizontal control data in Canada.

  • Access NRCan’s online database

If you’d like to speak to the Canadian Hydrographic Service about this type of information, please email us at

Maritime Boundaries

CHS plays a vital role in helping determine Canada's maritime boundaries. CHS's charts delineate the territorial sea of Canada, the contiguous zone of Canada, and the exclusive economic zone of Canada. For information on available maritime boundaries maps, please email us at or visit our interactive maps.

High-water Line for British Columbia

The CHS Pacific High Water Coastline Dataset is a high resolution vector coastline that represents the Higher High Water Large Tides mark in BC’s tidal waters.

This shapefile format coastline is derived from a compilation of sources including modern satellite imagery and other CHS data products and is designed for GIS users in the non-navigation community.


Sea Floor Classification Data for British Columbia Waters

The CHS Pacific Seafloor Classification Dataset is a continuous surface of statistically derived polygons from over 140000 point samples collected between 1911-2008. This shapefile format seabed characterization is distilled into 36 discrete classes based on CHS Chart No. 1 and a modified Folk classification system.


Date modified: