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Surveying in marine environments

The Area of Practice Committee for hydrography is a group of professionals within the geospatial industry who are dedicated to advancing the practice of hydrographic surveying.

The Committee recognises the critical role that hydrographic surveying plays in a wide range of applications, from marine navigation and coastal management to offshore oil and gas exploration and environmental monitoring.

The Committee serves as a forum for collaboration and knowledge-sharing for our members in the hydrographic surveying field.

If hydrography is your career, lifestyle or passion, you will find enormous benefits as a member of this area of practice. Connect with others in the field, share your experience and ideas for the future of the profession. GCA will tap into this targeted community for guidance on all areas of hydrographic surveying as it evolves in the digital age.

To get involved in the Hydrography Area of Practice Committee, you can contact

Neil Hewitt

Hydrography Chair
Neil Hewitt

Paul Kennedy

Hydrography Deputy Chair
Paul Kennedy


The professional assessment and certification of hydrographic surveyors is conducted by the Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel. The Panel represents all the IHO nominated hydrographic surveying specialities:

  • Nautical charting
  • Coastal zone management
  • Industrial offshore surveying/offshore construction surveying
  • Education
  • Private practice

More on Certification

Find a hydrographic surveyor

Hydrography icon
Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel (AHSCP) List of Current and expired Certified Professionals in Hydrographic Surveying.

Hydrographic Coaching Program

The Hydrographic Coaching Program (HCP) aims to encourage young professional hydrographic surveyors to work towards certification, be involved in the industry network with other professionals who they may not otherwise have the opportunity to connect with. The HCP connects young and emerging hydrographic surveyors with certified Level 1 and Level 2 hydrographic surveyors.

The program will ensure that trainees working towards certification have identified knowledge gaps and addressed them prior to the panel assessing their application for certification. The coach will provide guidance on how best to remediate these gaps.

To be eligible: Trainees and coaches must be a current Geospatial Council of Australia or S+SNZ member who resides in Australia or New Zealand.

  • Trainees of any level are invited to participate. This includes students, recent graduates or members working towards certification.
  • Coaches must be a current Certified Professional Hydrographic Surveyor at Level 1 or Level 2 with a minimum of four years of experience. The program is not compulsory for certified surveyors – involvement is voluntary.
  • Potential trainees are welcome to organise a colleague or contact from their organisation to participate as their coach. This should be noted on the application form.

Expressions of Interest to participate in the HCP will be called in mid 2023.

What does a hydrographic surveyor do?

The hydrographic surveyor is a specialist in precise positioning and data acquisition in marine environments, expected to work in a wide range of differing situations and applications from inland waters and rivers, to ports and the deep oceans. The effects of wind, waves, changing land and sea levels all necessitate coastal protection. The hydrographic surveyor is a key member of a team comprising planners, ecologists, civil engineers and others dedicated to the acquisition and application of data necessary for monitoring and protection of the environment.

Navigation, oil, gas and mineral resource exploration and recovery, dredging, coastal works, bridge and port construction, submarine pipeline and telephone cable construction, environmental monitoring, aquaculture and oceanographic research are all crucially dependant on the hydrographic surveyor for accurate, reliable information.

hydrographic surveyor

Hydrographic surveyors use state of-the-art technology ranging from sophisticated sensors to high accuracy positioning systems and were at forefront of developing and refining the use of GPS/GNSS, enabling worldwide, 24-hour, all weather, high accuracy positioning. The latest underwater acoustic techniques provide precise relative positioning of both surface and subsea vessels over large distances. Seawater temperature and salinity profiles make allowance for changing signal paths in the water layers. Sound impulses emitted at close intervals as a vessel moves ahead enable electronic stacking of reflected data from points on the rock strata. The resulting high-resolution two and three-dimensional images are essential to the successful search for oil and gas. Developments in swathe sounding technology allow coverage of large areas of the oceans from a single vessel in a fraction of the time previously taken. Airborne data gathering (Lidar) has also become more commonplace with the use of colour lasers and remote sensing of the seabed.


The Geospatial Council of Australia

Hydrography Supporting Partners’