Not so much divided, perhaps, as fragmented. The interests of professionals engaged in the hydro survey industry are represented by a number of different bodies, both nationally and internationally. In order to realise our full potential we need to pool our resources and work more closely together.
I have been involved in a number of different academic and professional surveying bodies over the last fifteen years and the experiences I have had lead me to believe that we are not truly united in the way that many other professions are. As specialists working together in such a narrow field, it is crucial that we work together towards common goals. In this way I believe that we can raise the profile of hydrography within the surveying profession.
Closer co-operation in areas such as standards, education and training, joint publications, conferences and seminars would be of benefit to all groups. There is a great deal of high quality research and development work being carried out throughout the industry, work that would benefit from a wider distribution down to grass-roots level. In the future, collaboration will be the key to providing adequate funding for educational grants.
Is closer co-operation really achievable? After all, each group is working to its own agenda and pursuing its own aims and objectives. Yet the answer is yes, because we are all fundamentally driven by a desire to improve knowledge and understanding in hydrography. Our common interest lies in the success of our profession and it is this imperative that I believe must bring us together to share our resources, expertise and knowledge.
A specific objective within the Commission 4 workplan is to actively seek closer links with sister organisations, especially the IHO and THS. In pursuit of this objective a new MoU between IHO and FIG has been agreed and is due to be signed this year.
The FIG/IHO/ICS International Advisory Board is highly respected and a good example of how we can work together successfully. I hope that in the future we might achieve the same success with the now autonomous national hydrographic societies. To this end I would welcome your comments and suggestions and encourage you to take a look at the Commission 4 web-site.
Adam Greenland, Deputy Port Hydrographer, Port of London Authority, Chairman of FIG Commission 4 ‘Hydrography’
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