Hydrography News – December 2020

December 3, 2020
Chair's Message

2020 is just about at the end, it would be an understatement to say this year has been different, challenging, even un-precedented. However, I would rather focus on the achievements of the year than the obstacles that were put in our way. This is a wrap of the last 12 months of activities within the SSSI Hydrography Commission and wider hydrographic community and has been written in collaboration with the commission’s communication representative Jennifer Brindle.

This year saw the introduction of the Hydroscheme Industry Partnership Program (HIPP), the program aims to develop an enduring partnership between government and industry to deliver the national charting program. Under the program, industry will collect and process hydrographic survey data for nautical charting and safety of navigation purposes. The HIPP is the most significant activity in the Australian Hydrographic sphere since the creation of the Australian Hydrographic Office (AHO) 100 years ago this year. The AHO is responsible for an area covering approximately one eighth of the world’s oceans and seas from Antarctica to Torres Strait. In addition, assistance is given to pacific island nations such as the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

I would like to congratulate the AHO for rolling out this program under extremely trying circumstances, they have had to undertake a large shift in the way they do business. They have taken up the challenge to align the AHO expectations with industry capabilities all while being chronically understaffed. As the program matures, the hydrographic industry will be developed with confidence to introduce new technologies to further improve data collection volumes and time frames.

The SSSI Hydrography Commission has continued to work in the background to develop new initiatives for members and assess CPD for certified surveyors.

A commission working group has developed the Hydrographic Mentoring program where certified Level 1 and 2 surveyors can volunteer to mentor younger surveyors and assist them in their career aspirations and applications for certification.

The activity to address the definition of Hydrographer within the Australian Bureau of Statistics is ongoing, this is important for the future of the industry and development of a national pay award for Hydrographers who currently sit under the Survey Award that does not capture the unique challenges of the Hydrographic Profession.

The commission will take up the challenge to engage with training organisations to deliver hydrographic training packages. A syllabus that is aligned with S-5B has been developed and is currently available on the training.gov.au website under the National Water Training Package. The introduction of the HIPP has highlighted the need for more hydrographic surveyors and this can only happen if Australia introduces local hydrographic training. Additionally, early engagement with school leavers, TAFE and university students is required to raise awareness of the profession, it is also particularly important to attract females to the industry with positive experiences from current female hydrographers. The commission will be calling on input from women in the industry to increase the representation of women within hydrography.

The Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel (AHSCP) has continued the activity of assessing applicants for certification. The introduction of the HIPP has most likely driven an increase in the number of applicants, in fact last meeting saw a record number with a total of 13 applicants to be assessed. A working group has been formed to review courses to assess suitability to be considered an allied discipline under the current AHSCP Guidelines. This will assist the panel in assessing the educational element of an applicant’s submission.

Outside the HIPP, the hydrographic industry continues to be quite buoyant, and ports continue to undertake regular survey operations for navigational safety of the ports to support the nation’s trade and other maritime activities that rely on safe passage through our ports.

In summary the commission continues to work for the members, and I would like to see our activities increase over the next 12 months with an aim to increase the awareness of the industry. It is important to raise our profile not only to students but to all industries that are suppliers and users of hydrographic data.

By Neil Hewitt (SSSI Hydrography Commission Chair) and Jennifer Brindle (SSSI Hydrography Commission SA and Communications Representative)

We would like to extend a warm welcome to new members to SSSI and the Hydrography Commission.

Kasiram Kumararaja   OS
Victor Kortlang    VIC
Tayne Raumati    WA
Natachia Goswell    WA

Hydrographic Excellence Award - Nominations now open

Nominations for the 2020 Hydrographic Excellence Awards are open until 31 January 2021.  With the upheaval that Covid-19 has had on the industry, and knowing surveyors, I am sure there are numerous examples of innovation that have kept the industry moving.  Some I imagine will change the way the industry operates and will be picked up by others as innovative and effective ways of working going forward.  If you know of such an example pop in a nomination, or if you are unsure feel free to contact Dave Field (david.field@ixblue.com) as Chair of the HE Committee to discuss the idea.

The HE Awards not just for innovation, rather it aims to recognise hydrographic project and field work that embraces hydrographic surveying activities that reflect hydrographic excellence and which deliver hydrographic best practice, either ashore or afloat. Further details and nomination forms can be found here

Hydrography Commission Mentoring Program

The Hydrography Commission is excited to announce the launch of the SSSI Hydrography Commission Mentoring Programme (HCMP). The aim is to encourage the development of young professional hydrographic surveyors by connecting them with certified Level 1 and Level 2 hydrographic surveyors, with a focus on working towards certification and networking with other professionals. The program will launch on the 1st July, and a memo will be circulated soon to all SSSI Hydrography Commission members with further information. 

If you have any comments or queries please email the Hydro Commission secretariat suling.meimaris@sssi.org.au 


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