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Copyright and licensing

Hydrographic products, data, manufacturers, licensing agreements, royalties and intellectual property.


Under the Oceans Act, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has the authority to conduct hydrographic surveys and to produce and distribute nautical charts and other nautical publications for Canadian territorial waters.

CHS is committed to improving navigation safety through the provision of up-to-date, timely, and accurate hydrographic publications for navigable waters of Canada in the most cost effective and efficient manner. CHS also represents Canadian hydrographic interests nationally and internationally.

All CHS products and data are protected by Crown copyright. CHS licences its products and data through a variety of legal agreements, at various royalty rates.

CHS data and products may not be sold, licenced, leased, assigned, adapted, given or sublicenced to a third party without a licence from CHS, or CHS's prior written consent. CHS files may not be included in any commercial product offered for sale or to be used for navigation, unless CHS has granted a licence or provided prior written approval.

CHS is pleased to offer a variety of copyright licences to support the activities of a wide variety of individuals and companies who wish to make use of Crown intellectual property managed by CHS. It is the policy of CHS to offer a fair, and level playing field for all its licencees.

Mariners are required to carry and use charts and other nautical publications issued by or on the authority of CHS, in accordance with the Canada Shipping Act (Navigation Safety Regulations, 2020) and the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act.


In March 2007, CHS resumed full responsibility for the production, marketing, sales, licensing and distribution of its digital data and products. Since that date, our philosophy has been to help increase market activity by setting lower royalty rates, and giving digital chart dealers the power to set prices for digital products

CHS also permits the value-added-reseller community to use CHS digital products and data as a basis for building new and innovative value-added products.

With respect to scientific research, CHS doesn't simply provide data, but rather it participates in research as the authoritative source for hydrography, oceanography, science data management and marine cartography in Canada.

You will require a licence to use CHS intellectual property. Reproduction of the CHS crest and logo is prohibited.

All CHS products and data are protected by Crown copyright. CHS also licences its products and data to a wide range of dealers, value-added resellers and specific users through a variety of licence agreements, at various royalty rates. In many cases, innovative developers have used CHS intellectual property to develop new and creative products.

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