In the past hydrography was a purely naval concern (e.g. Admiralty Hydrographic Office UK) but since the 1950’s hydrography has been used in the offshore and dredging industry. Nowadays hydrographic knowledge is also used ashore, e.g. investigation of the underwater structure of reservoirs and dams. This specialised work is carried out by a hydrographic surveyor. He will not only be involved during preparatory activities but also during execution and follow up actions. Currently Belgium has over 300 hydrographic surveyors.They are employed by both governmental organisations (Flemish Hydrographic Office, Economic Affairs, Flanders Hydraulic Research, the Port Authorities) and the industry (offshore, dredging, underwater project development etc.). Recent research has shown that about 35 new hydrographic surveyors are needed annually in Belgium if the industry is to keep pace with demand. On a global scale the shortage of hydrographic surveyors is even greater.
With a Cat. B certificate the hydrographer can independently execute parts of the process and specialise in a certain discipline such as multi beam echo sounder or data processing.