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Hydrographic certification

Application tips

Firstly, when applying, you need to keep in mind your legal responsibility as a Level 1 and Level 2 hydrographic surveyor.  The assessment process was introduced through industry demands to promote professional standards, ethical behaviour and a level of competence such that there is legal traceability and responsibility by the person providing hydrographic survey information.

For your application, this is not limited to bathymetric data using multibeam and singlebeam only.  It is the holistic knowledge and consolidated practice of many technologies, environmental influences and survey planning/methodology.

Reports of survey are required to demonstrate the individual’s application of knowledge, methodology,  problem solving, survey calculation proofs, survey outcomes etc.  By using a corporate template report, many have been seen to cut and paste from other surveys where clearly the survey requires different commentary.   It can become very difficult for the Panel to determine the Applicant’s level of oversight and technical input to these reports in this case.  Additionally, Applicant’s state that clients don’t require the detail that the Panel have requested.   This does not remove the responsibility of the Applicant to demonstrate to the best of their ability, their full appreciation of a survey, quality assurance and final outcomes.  It is imperative that this is demonstrable for the Panel to assess in favour of the Applicant.  In order to facilitate this outcome, it is recommended that an Applicant considers either writing a completely separate report in line with the expectations of C-13 Manual on Hydrography or write a full critique of the report which is supplied.

Shortfalls in Knowledge.  The following areas are often not demonstrated well by Applicants and the ideal place to demonstrate your knowledge in these areas will be the Report of Survey and the Experience Log:

  • Underwater acoustics
  • Singlebeam echosounders
  • Side Scan Sonar
  • Multibeam and swath echo sounders
  • Phase differing bathymetry (Interferometry)
  • Water levels and flow – Tides and connection to datums with appropriate statements describing those connections are important.
  • Sources of error – HUGE area of weakness here.  Hint, hint…
  • Datums
  • Hydrographic data management
  • Data presentation – Cartography is not only for the “CAD person” in the office.  It is your responsibility that representation of hydrographic information is accurate and according to international standards.
  • Hydrography for nautical charting – This is one of the most common areas of hydrographic surveying application.  You may not realise your data ends up here, but it probably will.
  • Environmental science

Courses:  There are courses within Australia held by commercial and government which can be used to fulfil these knowledge gaps.  If you do intend on taking these, it is advised that you provide the course content to the AHSCP Secrtariat attention the Education Rep, for evaluation before spending the funds.

The Hydrography Commission has been working with the  Australian Industry Standards and has had COAG approval for a fully Commonwealth assisted Diploma of Hydrographic Surveying to be developed and run via Recognised Training Organisations (RTO) (TAFEs).  For survey degree streamed Applicants, this will provide all required hydrographic elements and therefore may be the Level 1 educational pathway.  For those with a Diploma of Surveying or Advanced Diploma of Surveying, the Diploma of Hydrographic Surveying will provide a pathway for Level 2 certification.

Plans / charts / fairsheets at this time are still a requirement for Level 1 Applicants.  Cartographic skills are still a component of the S5 Syllabus and although many areas of hydrographic surveying are moving away from these products, there are many areas that continue to request cartographic outputs.  That being the case, some aspects that a plan should include are:

Datums / geodesy / THU / TVU / sounding and positioning equipment / control stations / symbolisation / contouring / hydrographic format / rounding / dates of survey / surveyor-in-charge / checker / cross lines / disclaimers / scale / drawing size.

Practical Experience Log.  It is acknowledged that this can be a challege however, it is an important component of the required evidence.  When completing an experience log, the Applicant should have due regard to matching the S5A and S5B subject content for that element at the required knowledge base.  The knowledge expectations which are put into practice include:

Fundamental – Basic knowledge of the subject, normally not permitting the candidate to apply it in actual hydrographic work, except in the simplest of cases or under close supervision.  Active verbs (indicating, recall, recognition and comprehension of materials): define, identify, describe, explain, differentiate, predict.
Practical – Knowledge of the subject as far as theory and principles are concerned, sufficient to enable their application in practice in all common hydrographic tasks.  Active verbs (indicating application and analysis): apply, use, calculate, solve, classify, analyze.
Detailed – Thorough knowledge of the subject in all its aspects to enable its application in all hydrographic activities including the most difficult areas.  Active verbs (indicating synthesis and evaluation): evaluate, select, design, specify, plan, create.

Sea Time.  As technology moves forward, there is a recognised reduction in the requirement to be on survey vessels.  While remote survey vessel operations currently do not have an assessable value within the Guidelines, Applicants are encouraged by the Commission to demonstrate these activities within their submission and how they continue to provide the expected level of input as a Level 1 or Level 2.  There is currently a review of this requirement being conducted within the Commission for submission to the Panel.

Disclaimer: The tips and trends above identified by the Commission are based on feedback from the AHSCP.  While the Commission has endeavoured to provide guidance to aid in a certification application, neither the Commission or AHSCP can resolve that an applicant will be successful should they use this information.