Welcome to the World of Hydrographic Surveying
If you’re at home on the water, you can make a splash specialising as a hydrographic surveyor.
Hydrographic surveyors map the sea floor and other waterways. These surveyors work in coastal areas and overseas, collecting data about the underwater world – data that can be used in any number of applications.
Some hydrographic surveyors work in gas, oil or mineral exploration. Other hydrographic surveying experts aid pipeline, bridge or port construction. There are those that put their skills towards shipping navigation, supporting military efforts or environmental research and conservation.
Every hydrographic surveyor is an important part of a larger team – which can include ecologists, civil engineers, planners and more. These co-workers rely on the hydrographic surveyor for accurate, reliable information about the goings-on under the water’s surface.
Great Barrier Reef
Here’s a timely example of one of the roles that hydrographic surveyors can serve.
Surveyors conducted a spatial study of the seabed environments in the Great Barrier Reef marine park for clues about the sources of sediments and reef habitats in our eco system.
The data they mine will help marine park managers monitor changes in the seabed’s habitats. It will also assist stakeholders make informed decisions to protect one of Australia’s world heritage areas.
With environmental bodies increasingly voicing concerns about the wellbeing of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, this is one of the important ways that surveyors are contributing to our planet in a tangible way. And with increasingly intelligent technology on hand, hydrographic surveyors are gaining the power to do more and more.
The Tools of the Trade
The hydrographic surveyor’s toolset is made up of some impressive technologies, such as underwater laser scanners, tide gauges and a wide variety of sonar mapping techniques.
Scans of the water’s surface and the sea floor can be captured from boats, on the air and from space.
The tech has developed to the point that high accuracy positioning systems can be used worldwide, at any time of day, during any weather conditions. While there are plenty of factors that can affect a hydrographic surveyor’s job – factors as seemingly insignificant as the temperature of the water – the latest techniques and methods allows surveyors to ferret out the results they need despite these obstacles.
All this makes the field of hydrographic surveying a challenging yet rewarding one to step into.
A Career in Hydrography
Want to know what working on the seas as a hydrographic surveyor is really like?
The Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) and the SSSI Hydrography Commission have put together a video that takes you below the surface of hydrography and shows you why it is important, what you could be doing as a hydrographic surveyor, and how to get started.