Looking for a Career in Hydrography

A career in Hydrography can be extremely exciting and rewarding, with the workplace enabling the choice of being in the great outdoors or carrying out important calculations in the office. Many career opportunities today require a balance between the two activities. Technology is improving daily and thus the hydrographer is ensured of an ever changing and technologically stimulating career.

Study Options

Hydrography has two distinct levels of academic qualifications, technical and professional. Options available are University Degree courses or TAFE qualifications. Surveying is the main stream of study with a specialism in Hydrography this method of study also enables the variety of career on the land or water or even a mixture of both.

Note that Surveying is also known as Geomatic Engineering and related courses are sometimes titled Spatial Information.

Below are some universities and training centres around Australia to get you started, a background as a marine scientist could also lead towards a career in hydrography, however only the Surveying links are provided below.

TAFE Study Options

If you are considering studying at TAFE it is a good idea to go and speak to the Surveying related Department to discuss the level of study you wish to complete. If you are at all considering University studies then I would suggest aiming for the highest level of study at TAFE currently being the Advanced Diploma. Many universities provide credit for TAFE studies in order to articulate to University. Ask your University of choice if this is an option they provide, in some cases the credits can be quite substantial.

Hydrographic Certification – Level 1 or 2

The next step for many hydrographers after obtaining a tertiary qualification is to gain professional recognition of their specialized skills through hydrographic certification. In Australia and New Zealand certification is endorsed by the Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel (AHSCP) through the Spatial Sciences Institute.

All surveyors are encouraged to gain Certification enabling industry to set a high level of standard for hydrographic surveyors. If any members have concerns about the system of certification or require assistance with how to get started please visit the Australasian Hydrographic Society Forum page. Voice any concerns or questions regarding certification and current certified members will happily assist. In addition, specific concerns or queries can also be raised with the AHSCP Secretary, Mr Jasbir Randhawa on Tel: +61(02) 4223 6672.

Category A and B Courses

Category A – Otago University, New Zealand. Currently this course is no longer available.

Category B – Malaysia and Singapore, RAN Hydrographic School (Defense members only)

Are you a student or researcher seeking a grant?

Applications are accepted for the AHS Education Award for every Academic Year. The closing date for applications is in April/May every year. Please visit our website closer to the date to get more information about the sutudent and researcher's grants.

Hydrographic Certification ...

In Australia and New Zealand certification is endorsed by the Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel (AHSCP) through the Spatial Sciences Institute.

Annual Education Award

The Australasian Hydrographic Society is proud to provide an Annual Education Award of $ 3,500 AUD.

Applications for the AHS Education Award usually open February/March each year and will close generally in April/May.

Applications for grants under the AHS Education Award will be accepted ONLY from nationals and persons with official permanent residential status of the following nations:

Australia, New Zealand, East Timor, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, whether the applicant is studying at home or abroad.

The award is open to students studying, or proposing to study, within a broad range of maritime disciplines including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:

  1. Hydrography - Nautical Charting - Surveying at Sea 
  2. Coastal Studies - Coastal Zone Management 
  3. Offshore Resource Surveys and Management 
  4. Port Development and Maritime Engineering 
  5. Law of the Sea 
  6. Marine Cartography 
  7. Environmental Studies 
  8. Marine Geology and Geophysics

Policy Directive 002/15 AHS Education Award Scheme

Please download and read throughly before you apply for the edication award..

Application Form

If you are going to apply for the education award, please download and fill out the form as instructed in the form.


Please contact AHS Education Award Chairman, John Maschke if you have any questions or you want to submit your application form. 

History of Education Award Winners

2016 AHS Education Award Winner - Kay Critchell

The AHS Education Award for 2016 has been awarded to Kay Critchell. Kay is a PhD Candidate at the College of Science and Engineering and TropWATER, James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland. The 2016 Award has been provided for her excellent contribution to the hydrographic surveying profession through her project involving research into understanding the impacts, processes and risk to primary consumers by the micro-plastic portion of marine debris. This research into predicting and connecting sources of anthropogenic marine debris, mainly of plastic origin, accumulating in marine and coastal environments around the world, and causing damage to fauna, flora and habitats to ultimately manage the issue of plastic debris pollution utilising hydrographic and oceanographic tools, is considered highly practical and commendable. Her research and development of an advection-diffusion debris model that includes beaching, settling, re-suspension/re-floating, degradation and topographic effects on the wind in near-shore waters has the potential to be applied globally. The further aspect of this research into the permeative effects of plastics in the food chain, the minimisation of risk to food security plus other effects including on tourism, is also worthy. Kay’s research will further contribute to addressing the problem of marine debris in oceans and coastal areas and provide a decision-making framework for environmental managers plus provide risk mapping data for prioritisation of resource allocation and assessments for endangered species. 

The Award was presented to Kay at the 2016 JCU Post-Graduate Conference held the Townsville Campus of James Cook University by John Maschke, Chair, AHS Education Award Panel on 29 September 2016”. 

PhD candidate Kay Critchell receiving her AHS Education Award certificate from John Maschke, 29 September 2016 at JCU Townsville.

2014 AHS Education Award Winner - Carolyn Martin

In 2014 the AHS Education Board received 6 applications from students throughout Australasia. The 2014 AHS Educational Award, by unanimous decision, went to Carolyn Martin from Australia.
Carolyn is a Masters candidate at Curtin University, Perth, Australia where she is researching “3D photogrammetric modeling of SCUBA-accessible shipwrecks” with a view to enhancing divers’ experience and safety by advancing current methods for diver navigation with realistic digital models of dive sites.
Carolyn also holds a position as a Senior Geospatial Office at the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum. She holds a Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma in Geographic Information Science and has worked in similar positions with governments in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

2012 AHS Education Award Winner - Michelle Linklater

Thirty educational institutions in the Australasian (including Oceania) sphere of influence were advised of the award and were asked to inform their students accordingly. As a result, the AHS Education Board received 6 applications for the 2012 award. The 2012 Educational Award, by unanimous decision, went to Ms. Michelle Linklater from New South Wales.
Michelle is a PhD candidate at the University of Wollongong where she is researching “Past and Present Reef Growth at High Latitude Reefs: Implications for Expansion and Refugia”. A refugium (plural – refugia) is an area whose climate remains habitable, especially for rare or endangered species, when that of the surrounding areas has changed.
Michelle holds a first degree – Bachelor of Environmental Science (Advanced) with First Class Honours from the University of Wollongong. Michelle plans to use the money from the Award to assist with the expenses associated with the collection of field data at sea, including high resolution multibeam data around Lord Howe Island and Balls Pyramid.

2011 AHS Education Award Winner - Emily Todd

Thirty educational institutions in the Australasian (including Oceania) sphere of influence were advised of the award and were asked to inform their students accordingly. As a result, the AHS Education Board received 10 applications for the 2011 award. The applications were submitted by people from a diverse range of activities including Marine law, Fisheries, Geospatial Science, Marine Geophysics & Geology, Marine Biology, Oceanography, Marine Morphology and Hydrography. The 2011 Educational Award, by unanimous decision, went to Ms. Emily Todd from New Zealand who is currently studying the CAT A MSc course at Plymouth University, U.K.
Emily is collecting and analysing multibeam field data together with related acoustic velocity data to determine the effects of errors in acoustic velocity measurements in estuary environments where salinity and temperature vary continuously. It is anticipated that results will allow guidelines to be proposed for the frequency and duration of acoustic casts required during multibeam operation in estuarine areas to supplement surface acoustic measurements in order to maintain the accuracies defined in IHO S44 specifications. Given the widespread use of multibeam systems and perhaps the potential for 'blind' acceptance of the results from such systems as being of high order quality in all environments, the Board felt that Emily’s work had high potential value and is directly related to hydrography.

2009 AHS Education Award Winner - Jacquomo Monk

The Education Award Panel has selected Jacquomo Monk for the Australasian Hydrographic Society Education Award 2009.
The Australasian Hydrographic Society Patron, Vice-Admiral Chris Ritchie RAN(Retd.), presented the 2009 AHS Educational Award to recipient Jacquomo Monk at a luncheon in his honour hosted by Educational Award Committee Chair Dan Fitzhenry on 10th May 2010. The financial component of the Award had been made earlier in the year. Jacquomo was passing through Sydney on his way home from the GeoHab Conference recently held in Wellington, NZ.
The title of his PhD research project being undertaken at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University is "Understanding demersal fish-habitat associations using video observations and sonar imaging".
The project utilises the recent advances in underwater remote sensing (e.g. acoustic positioning, multibeam sonar and remotely operated underwater video) to generate detailed remotely sensed data to investigate the spatial relationships between seafloor characteristics and marine coastal fishes in southwest Victoria. Innovative spatially explicit predictive modelling techniques will be applied to gain greater understanding of these relationships. The resultant models will enable us to improve our understanding of the spatial distribution and complexity of habitat requirements for coastal marine fish species. The subsequent information is essential to better manage these vulnerable, rare and ecologically important communities.

2008 AHS Education Award Winner - Malcolm Lindsay

The winner of the Australasian Hydrographic Society Education Award 2008 was Malcolm Lindsay who is working towards a PhD at the University of Melbourne within the Zoology Department and his project satisfies all the parameters of the AHS Education Award.
The title of his research project is: "The larval recruitment and oceanographic dynamics of the Wilson's Promontory Marine National Park, Australia".
The research data should provide significant aid to marine park managers and will be of particular value in the case of an oil spill in the containment and clean-up operations.
The project is directly linked to Parks Victoria, the marine park management body, encouraging real outcomes for marine park management.