New hydrospatial specialist competencies

Katie Holt, Development Manager

CICES working group completes major revision of the hydrographic surveying competencies

AN extensive review of the CICES specialist competencies for hydrographic surveying has been completed, resulting in a new set of hydrospatial competencies. The working group was led by William Kelly, programme convenor and lecturer in geospatial science at the University of Glasgow. The purpose of the review was to reflect:

Why has the name been changed? And what is hydrospatial?

It was felt that the previous name ‘hydrographic surveying’ did not adequately describe the range of activities that members, and future members, of CICES are involved in. Many of these surveyors will probably not consider themselves to be the traditional hydrographic surveyor, performing a bathymetric survey to create a chart for safety of navigation purposes, but may still be surveying in or near the water environment, for engineering applications. The challenge then is what term to use.

The Engineering Council and its professional engineering institutions (of which CICES is one) have limited examples of potentially relevant terms. The terms marine, maritime or hydrography are used to describe some activities that are included within, or adjacent to, the CICES remit. Other professional surveying institutions still use hydrographic surveying.

The term marine geospatial, an all-encompassing term for the sector and increasingly used by the Geospatial Commission and the Hydrographic Office, was considered. When talking about surveying specifically within the marine environment however there is a possible confusion with marine surveyor – an unrelated role. Marine also technically refers to saltwater bodies so may not be seen to be inclusive of members working in freshwater environments.

This brings us to hydrospatial – the hydro, or water component of geospatial – a term that has seen increased discussion in the past few years in the hydrographic sector and used to cover the rapid expansion in how hydro-related data are captured, shared, and used in society1 ; beyond the core focus of safety of navigation.

Hydrospatial therefore was selected as a more inclusive, all-encompassing term for this CICES geospatial engineering specialism.

Working group for hydrospatial competencies

William Kelly, University of Glasgow (chair)
Andy Waddington, Hexagon AB
Anthony Pritchard, Storm Geomatics
Stuart Leakey, Port of London Authority
Eric Primeau, British Petroleum
Ed Danson, (CICES past president) self-employed
Sandy Powell, Vision

With thanks to all other member contributors

The new hydrospatial competencies

The new competencies have been organised into four categories:


Katie Holt, Development Manager