Established in 1921, the IHO is an intergovernmental organization for technical consultation striving to support navigation and to protect the marine environment. To achieve this objective, the IHO coordinates the activities of national hydrographic offices; and aims for the uniformity in nautical charts and documents and the adoption of safe and effective methods for implementing and exploiting hydrographic surveys; it also encourages the development of science in the field of hydrography and the techniques applied to descriptive oceanography.
The official representative for Colombia is the Navy, through the General Maritime Directorate (DIMAR). Every 5 years there is an International Hydrographic Conference to review the progress made by the Organization through its committees, subcommittees and working groups, and to adopt programs to be followed during the next five years. The IHO headquarters are in Monaco.