Introduction to Pydro

What is Pydro

Pydro is a suite of software tools used to support hydrography and cartography. Pydro’s name comes from the combination of Python and hydrography. It is (almost exclusively) built from open source components as well as public domain custom developed software. Pydro is maintained by the Hydrographic Systems and Technology Branch (HSTB) to support NOAA operations (aiding our survey fleet) and is now made available for public use.

You should start by running the Pydro Explorer which facilitates discovering and launching the other applications within the Pydro distribution. NOAA and Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at University of New Hampshire (HydrOffice) developed tools are available pertaining to:

  • data processing
  • depth surfaces
  • positioning
  • tides
  • sound speed
  • report generation
  • and more...

A more detailed list is available at Programs distributed in Pydro


See the Downloads and Links page for a windows installer link.

On the same Downloads and Links page is a link to supplemental data which is optional. If it is downloaded in the same directory as the Pydro installer it will be automatically started as well. Choices will be given as to which supplemental data is installed, such as National Centers for Environmental Information - World Ocean Atlas (WOA) or Vertical Datum Transformation (VDatum) which some Pydro programs will use.

A 32 bit Java client is needed to print documents from the XmlDR application (for descriptive reports and other forms). A client is optionally installed at the end of the Pydro installer. If you decline to install it or want to download your own from Oracle Java downloads select the i586 for windows as the x64 clients won’t work.


Pydro is freely downloadable but all components contained within retain their rights as spelled out in their individual licenses. Pydro can not be redistributed within another application due to licensing agreements with Caris (see their license). There is an application that displays the individual licenses for the modules that make up the software suite.

Collaboration and Contribution

We encourage users to aid and direct future development of tools within Pydro. Since Pydro is written in Python it is “easy” to modify and contribute enhancements. Python also allows us to rapidly prototype applications given an idea. Since we are not a software company we do have to prioritize our software development focus and may not be able or want to implement all suggestions.

Report bugs, send ideas or send code to the email addresses at the bottom of this page.

Software Updates

Pydro is updated automatically by downloading patches from the central NOAA server. These updates can be disabled from the start menu “Toggle Updates” or within Pydro Explorer. The software also reports back usage so we know where to focus development or when to deprecate functionality.


Online Resources:


If you find errors in the documentation or want to contribute, you are encouraged to email the following personnel emails @NOAA.GOV

  • barry.gallagher
  • jack.riley
  • chen.zhang
  • eric.younkin