History of the Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service

After the Greek revolution of 1821, the constant changes in the geographical area of our country had as a result the “darkness” about the geographical shape of Greece.

In 1817, Kefalas, a Greek sailor, published in Marseille (France), in the Greek language ,naval maps of the Mediterranean and the Aegean Αrchipelago. In the late 1800s the Ministry of Μaritime in Greece founded the Office of Hydrography. The Lieutenant Commander Matthew. Matthaiopoulos published in 1898 the first book with the title “Hydrography ,Impression and Creation of navigational charts” for educational use at Cadets School.

The same Office Hydrography began gradually dealing with simple tasks at the impression field and, later, raised the bases for growth and expansion. In 1919 the Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service was founded , in order to study Greek and adjacent seas.

Physical Geodesy and Astronomy

Though the country’s competent authority about the triangulation was the geographic service of Army (GSA), the Hydrographic Service has cooperated with the GSA for more geodetic measurements. From 1907 he extended the primary triangulation network of Greece. In 1921 he made astronomical observations with Theodolihos and he approached with accuracy the triangulation network of Asia. Under request of Italy at the 1934, he cooperated with the GSA about triangulating the network of the Dodecanese. That was the first triangulating network of Greece.

From 1920 he published annually astronomical papers with special issues for the Army Corps. The HS contributed to the founding of the Penteli Observatory, helped with the study of establishment and provided some organs for his equipment.

Hydrographic Impressions – Nautical Cartography

On 1906, the first hydrographic tasks for completing the map of Greece were taking place, beginning from the areas of Maliakos Gulf, Pagasitikos Gulf and the coast of Pelion.

And from 1919 the following areas:

a. the Amvrakikos Gulf

b. the Moschonisoy Kydonion area (Asia minor)

c. the Gulf of Thessaloniki

d. the narrow Euripus Strait

e. the areas around Athens and the Saronic Gulf.

The period 1937-1939 three volumes of Greek Shipping Guide (Navigators) were published. They included all the useful details and information for those travelling along the Greek coast.

The HS,in order to provide studies and technical projects of various ports has made approximately 150 Depth charts. Approximately 500 km of coastline were figured. This survey helped in future port projects and other development projects in Greece.

Naval Meteorology

In 1931 the Hydrographic Service contributed to the founding of the National Meteorological Service.From 1928 until 1940 the HS had founded more than 60 wind stations in the official Lighthouses of the Greek seas.

Earth Magnetic Strength

The imperative need for learning more about the earth magnetism strength and its impact on the maps, driving to the establishment of the first measuring station terrestrial magnetism. The first Magnetic Theodolichos SARTORIOUS was supplied to the Observatory Of Athens and by 1909 was used in hydrographic work.

By the 1920s the HS made systematically observations in different parts of the country, so it is possible to calculate the annual change of magnetism.

In 1923 the HS contributed to the founding of the first Permanent Magnetic station at Tatoi .Three years later the first magnetic map of the country was made.


In 1920 in the Ministry of National Economy, was founded the first Agency Of Oceanography and the first Director was Matth. Matthaiopoylos. The HS helped the new body financially and by providing institutions.


Today the Hydrografic Service of Hellenic Navy located in the precincts of the Ministry of National Defense in Holargos in Athens. The primary mission is:

a. contribution to the safety of navigation in Greek and adjacent waters.

b. providing services to the Greek Navy and the Department of National Defence .

c. Promotion of the science of Hydrography and Cartography.

The products of the HS.(Greek navigators, nautical charts, nautical publications) and the services aimed to provide the safety of human life at sea and the protection of the marine environment.