The Geospatial Council of Australia

Member dashboard

Access your account details and member services

Manage CPD points

View and manage your Continuing Professional Development points

Member events

View and attend our events

Member support

Please contact our Membership Officer with any queries



Hydrographic Certification


The International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) publishes the internationally recognised Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors (S-5). This document provides guidance and syllabus for educational and training programmes in order that courses (not individuals) are recognised with Category A or Category B status. In addition to the academic requirements of Category A and Category B courses, an individual must gain appropriate practical experience to become competent as a hydrographic surveyor.

The Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel (AHSCP) certification process is based upon the minimum subject matter as outlined in S-5, recognizing Category A, B and equivalent qualifications and appropriate experience.

The AHSCP certifies surveyors at two competency levels:

Level 1 – The highest attainable level of professional hydrographic surveying certification:

  • Deep understanding (Degree equivalent level) of the theoretical aspects of hydrographic surveying.
  • Extensive experience in practical hydrographic surveying.
  • Experience in leadership and management of project teams.

A Level 1 Hydrographic Surveyor is expected to:

  • Plan, undertake and manage complex hydrographic surveying projects.
  • Identify sources of error and resolve data discrepancies.
  • Maintain quality assurance principles.
  • Provide professional advice on hydrographic matters.
  • Compile and approve project reports.

Level 2 – Initial professional level of hydrographic surveying certification:

  • A fundamental understanding (Diploma equivalent level) of the theoretical aspects of hydrographic surveying.
  • Practical experience in conducting various hydrographic surveying tasks.

A Level 2 Hydrographic Surveyor is expected to:

  • Undertake the survey plan as directed.
  • Conduct data processing.
  • Prepare reports.

The subjects contained within the IHO S-5 Standards of Competence include:

Basics (compulsory):

  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Physics
  • Nautical Science

Essentials (compulsory):

  • Bathymetry
  • Water levels and flow
  • Positioning
  • Hydrographic practice
  • Hydrographic data management
  • Environmental science
  • Legal aspects

In addition to the compulsory modules, a course may also provide additional Options and Hydrographic Surveyors will normally specialise in one or more of these areas:

  • Nautical Charting Hydrography
  • Hydrography to support Port Management and Coastal Engineering
  • Offshore Seismic Surveying
  • Offshore Construction Hydrography
  • Remote Sensing
  • Military Hydrography

Inland Waters Hydrography