PLSO The Oregon Surveyor March April 2021

11 Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon | Featured Article T here is a growing need for pro- fessional recognition within the geospatial community, especially among hydrographic surveyors in the United States. As key differentiators for those requiring hydrographic services, professional licensure and certifica- tions provide agencies and other users of hydrographic services with assur- ance that an individual has met certain standards of competency, adheres to industry standards and specifications, is committed to continued education, and upholds ethical standards of practice. It is important to note that certification is not a replacement for professional licensure and does not usurp individ- ual state requirements; rather, it is an acknowledgement by one’s peers that they are competent in the field in which they are certified. Recogniz - ing this necessity, a board of experts in the field of hydrography have taken the next step in advancing U.S. hydrog- rapher certification requirements to meet international standards—sim- ilar to the Canadian and Australasian programs—and align more closely with requirements for professional licensure by state licensing boards. Currently, the National Society of Pro- fessional Surveyors (NSPS) and the Hydrographic Society of America (THSOA) jointly provide for official national recogni - tion that an individual has demonstrated a level of competence, knowledge, and expe- rience for hydrographer certification. The U.S. Hydrographer Certification Program started in 1981 in response to concerns about unqualified bidders having been awardedhydrographic surveying contracts. In 2016, a special working groupwas estab- lished by THSOA to evaluate requirements of the U.S. Hydrographer Certification Pro - gram relative to international standards as well as more closely align the program with professional licensure requirements. The working group produced a whitepa- per of findings and potential next steps. In 2019, THSOA tasked a committee, chaired by Mr. Dasler and composed of Mr. vanNorden and othermembers of the NSPS-THSOA Hydrographer Certification Board (HCB), to review the findings and advance the U.S. Hydrographer Certifi - cation Program. In January of this year, the HCB submitted a certification scheme for international recognition to the International Board on Standards of Competence (IBSC) for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers. The scheme is required to meet IBSC requirements for formal education, professional experience, a methodology to demonstrate and doc- ument competencies, and continuing professional education and training. This new NSPS and THSOA scheme includes two levels of certification—Certified Mas - ter Hydrographer, or Level 1, and Certified Hydrographer, or Level 2. Certified Master Hydrographer (CMH) or Level 1 The CertifiedMaster Hydrographer (CMH) or Level 1 is the highest attainable level of certified hydrographer, intended as a possible incorporation within U.S. state professional registration systems for surveyors and engineers to support re- quirements for high-quality hydrographic surveys. This level of professional certifica - tion is intended tomeet international and national standards of competence. Level 1 hydrographers will be fully capable of undertaking and managing hydrograph- ic surveys that meet the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) cur- rent standards of S-44 (IHO Standards for Hydrographic Surveys) and the more detailed U.S. standards and specifica - tions provided by NOAA or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Level 1 hydrogra- phers must have a theoretical education and foundational background necessary for hydrographic surveyors-in-charge and hydrographic managers who will develop specifications for surveys, establish quali - ty control and quality assurance systems, NSPS and THSOA Hydrographer Certification Submission to the IBSC By Jon L. Dasler, PE, PLS, CH, and Maxim F. van Norden, CH Authors Jon Dasler (left) and Maxim van Norden (right) in the field. continues on page 13 T