Written by Christopher Hinojosa
Overview: Hydrographic Surveying is the process of mapping geographical features of the world's seas, sea floors, and coasts. Hydrographic Surveyors utilize specialized equipment on survey vessels to determine the geography of a body of water, including the depth, tide measurements, shoreline obstacles, and physical features of the body's floor. They often take the data collected on survey vessels and transform them into hydrographic models, which can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Most Hydrographic Surveyors use techniques like multibeam sonar and light detection to perform their jobs more accurately than ever. Hydrographic Surveyors spend much of their time working out in the field, which is typically an outdoor environment. Hydrographic Surveyors will be required to work in adverse weather conditions and spend extensive time out on boats managing heavy measuring equipment. At times, Hydrographic Surveyors doing onshore work may be called offshore to handle any issues that may arise with a project. International and overseas work is not uncommon in the profession. Most Hydrographic Surveyors work full-time on regular schedules but may be required to work longer hours during the summer, when weather is ideal for fieldwork. Any surveyors maintaining GIS systems without fieldwork generally stay on the same schedule. Advancing into actual mapping positions may require degrees from institutions in higher learning, such as a bachelor's degree in geomatics or GIS. Though licensures and certifications are not required, credentials from the National Society of Professional Surveyors or GIS Certification Institute can increase the chances of getting hired.
Geographers at work: Geographic Information Scientists, Physical Geographers
Skills: Geographic Information Science, Cartography, Surveying/Field Methods