Hydrographic surveying technician


Hydrographic surveying technicians perform oceanographic and surveying operations in marine environments. They assist hydrographic surveyors, using specialised equipment to map and study underwater topography and morphology of bodies of water. They assist in the installation and deployment of hydrographic and surveying equipment and report about their work.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to hydrographic surveying technician:

mapping technician
oceanographic scientist
hydrographic surveyor
marine surveyor
surveying technician
oceanographic surveyor
marine surveying technician
hydrographic survey technologist

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Hydrographic surveying technician is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Hydrographic surveying technician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to hydrographic surveying technician.

surveying technician
remote sensing technician
soil surveying technician
mine surveying technician
geology technician

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of hydrographic surveying technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of hydrographic surveying technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

hydrographic surveyor
geographic information systems specialist
land surveyor
cadastral technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of hydrographic surveying technician.

  • Geomatics: The scientific discipline that studies gathering, storing, and processing geographic information.
  • Surveying: The technique of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional position of points and the distances and angles between them.
  • Cartography: The study of interpreting the elements depicted in maps, the measures and technical specifications.
  • Mathematics: Mathematics is the study of topics such as quantity, structure, space, and change. It involves the identification of patterns and formulating new conjectures based on them. Mathematicians strive to prove the truth or falsity of these conjectures. There are many fields of mathematics, some of which are widely used for practical applications.
  • Survey techniques: Techniques on how to identify a target audience, choose the right survey method and analyse the data.
  • Surveying methods: Have an understanding of surveying methods, remote sensing methods and equipment.
  • Topography: Graphic representation of the surface features of a place or region on a map indicating their relative positions and elevations.
  • Geodesy: The scientific discipline that combines applied mathematics and earth sciences in order to measure and represent the Earth. It studies phenomena such as gravitational fields, polar motion, and tides.
  • Bathymetry: The scientific discipline that studies underwater topography.
  • Hydrography: The scientific discipline that studies and measures the physical features of bodies of water such as oceans, lakes and rivers. It studies the current situation for navigational purposes and predicts change over time.
  • Morphology: The field of study dealing with the general structure of organisms and their features, including size and shape.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of hydrographic surveying technician.

  • Record survey measurements: Gather and process descriptive data by using documents such as sketches, drawings and notes.
  • Prepare surveying report: Write a survey report containing information on property boundaries, the height and depth of the terrain, etc..
  • Collect mapping data: Collect and conserve mapping resources and mapping data.
  • Document survey operations: Complete and file all required administrative, operational and technical documents related to a survey operation.
  • Perform surveying calculations: Perform calculations and gather technical data in order to determine earth curvature corrections, traverse adjustments and closures, level runs, azimuths, marker placements, etc.
  • Write work-related reports: Compose work-related reports that support effective relationship management and a high standard of documentation and record keeping. Write and present results and conclusions in a clear and intelligible way so they are comprehensible to a non-expert audience.
  • Conduct underwater surveys: Conduct subaquatic surveys to measure and map the underwater topography and morphology of bodies of water in order to aid the planning of aquaculture projects, the construction of marine constructions, and the exploration of natural resources.
  • Operate surveying instruments: Operate and adjust measuring instruments such as theodolites and prisms, and other electronic distance-measuring tools.
  • Adjust surveying equipment: Ensure accuracy of measurement by adjusting surveying equipment.
  • Assist hydrographic surveys: Assist in the installation and deployment of hydrographic surveying equipment.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of hydrographic surveying technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Geographic information systems: The tools involved in geographical mapping and positioning, such as GPS (global positioning systems), GIS (geographical information systems), and RS (remote sensing).
  • Oceanography: The scientific discipline that studies oceanic phenomena such as marine organisms, plate tectonics, and the geology of the ocean bottom.
  • Geology: Solid earth, rock types, structures and the processes by which they are altered.
  • Vessel safety equipment: Gain theoretical and practical knowledge of safety equipment used in vessels, including devices such as lifeboats, life rings, splash doors and fire doors, sprinkler systems, etc. Operate equipment during emergency situations.
  • Geography: The scientific discipline that studies the land, phenomena, characteristics and inhabitants of Earth. This field seeks to understand the natural and man-made complexities of Earth.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of hydrographic surveying technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Collect geological data: Participate in the collection of geological data such as core logging, geological mapping, geochemical and geophysical surveying, digital data capture, etc.
  • Operate marine machinery systems: Operate principles of marine machinery, including marine diesel engine, steam turbine, boiler, shafting installations, propeller, various auxiliaries, steering gear, automatic control systems, and deck machinery. Follow safety and emergency procedures for operation of propulsion plant machinery, including control systems. Prepare, operate, and maintain the following machinery items and control systems: main engine and steam boiler and their associated auxiliaries and steam systems, auxiliary prime movers and associated systems and other auxiliaries like refrigeration, air-conditioning and ventilation systems. Take necessary measures to prevent damage to these systems.
  • Analyse scientific data: Collect and analyse scientific data resulting from research. Interpret these data according to certain standards and viewpoints in order to comment on it.
  • Use geographic information systems: Work with computer data systems such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
  • Develop geological databases: Develop geological databases in order to acquire and organise information.
  • Operate marine communication systems: Operate on board marine communication systems; communicate with other ships or with on-shore control centre e.g. to send urgent messages concerning safety; transmit or receive alerts, etc.
  • Process collected survey data: Analyse and interpret survey data acquired from a wide variety of sources e.g. satellite surveys, aerial photography and laser measurement systems.
  • Apply scientific methods: Apply scientific methods and techniques to investigate phenomena, by acquiring new knowledge or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.
  • Apply digital mapping: Make maps by formatting compiled data into a virtual image that gives a precise representation of a specific area.
  • Write technical reports: Compose technical customer reports understandable for people without technical background.
  • Create thematic maps: Use various techniques such as choropleth mapping and dasymetric mapping to create thematic maps based on geospatial information, using software programmes.
  • Use CAD software: Use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimisation of a design.
  • Interpret geophysical data: Interpret data of a geophysical nature: Earth’s shape, its gravitational and magnetic fields, its structure and composition, and geophysical dynamics and their surface expression in plate tectonics.
  • Create GIS reports: Use relevant geographic informations systems to create reports and maps based on geospatial information, using GIS software programmes.
  • Conduct research before survey: Acquire information about property and its boundaries before the survey by searching legal records, survey records, and land” titles.
  • Assist scientific research: Assist engineers or scientists with conducting experiments, performing analysis, developing new products or processes, constructing theory, and quality control.
  • Collect data using GPS: Gather data in the field using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices.
  • Provide information on geological characteristics: Provide information on geological structures, host rock quality, groundwater implications and details on the mineralogical and textural composition of ores to enable mining and processing to be planned efficiently. The geological model is used to design the mine workings for minimum dilution and maximum ore extraction.
  • Prepare geological map sections: Prepare geological sections, a vertical view of the local geology.

ISCO group and title

3111 – Chemical and physical science technicians

  1. Hydrographic surveying technician – ESCO
Last updated on February 12, 2023