Careers in the Canadian Hydrographic Service

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You may apply to job opportunities within Fisheries and Oceans Canada through a public service jobs account.

CHS Crest

Learn about the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS), our clients and what qualifications you need for a career with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

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About the Canadian Hydrographic Service

The CHS is responsible for the development of electronic charting and methods for surveying and mapping Canada's waters, including the Arctic.

A CHS hydrographer:

  • develops and refines hydrographic:
    • standards
    • methodologies
    • technologies, including geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing
  • provides professional advice and services related to hydrography
  • publishes and distributes nautical charts and publications, such as:
    • sailing directions
    • tides and current tables
    • related publications about Canada's offshore, coastal and inland waters
  • participates in hydrography surveys aboard a variety of maritime vessels, including ice breakers, to collect data using modern equipment and technologies

You may be interested in a career with CHS if you:

  • think that Canada's sovereignty and security, including in the Arctic, is improved by defining and delimiting Canada's marine territory
  • feel that marine transportation and shipping can become safer and more efficient with the development of modern nautical charts and related products and publications

Clients of the Canadian Hydrographic Service

Our CHS clients include:

  • managers of:
    • ports and harbours
    • coastal zones and ocean areas
  • commercial industry, such as:
    • fishing
    • marine transportation
  • government partners, such as:
    • Global Affairs
    • the Canadian Coast Guard
    • Natural Resources Canada
    • the Transportation Safety Board
    • the Department of National Defence
    • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • marine engineers and scientists
  • the recreational boating industry
  • the non-renewable resource sector

Career qualifications

The CHS offers science professionals and students the opportunity to become a certified hydrographer through the multi-disciplinary hydrographer (MDH) training program. Candidates for MDH training need 1 of the following qualifications:

  • a diploma in:
    • geomatics
    • surveying
    • cartography
    • a related discipline from a technical college
  • a university degree in applied science, such as:
    • GIS
    • geodesy
    • geomatics
    • geography
    • survey engineering
    • a related discipline
  • a certificate of registration or a commission as a land surveyor

The MDH national career plan allows new hydrographers to achieve a senior position after 4 years of:

  • course work
  • formal study
  • practical field training

Multidisciplinary hydrographers

Multidisciplinary hydrographers are from a broad range of scientific disciplines, such as: 

  • geomatics and data management
  • marine cartography and geography
  • hydrographic surveying and navigation
  • engineering, geography, geology and physical sciences

Their dynamic and challenging work environment involves:

  • measuring:
    • draught and squat
    • heave and attitude
    • tide and water level
  • profiling sound speed
  • dynamic positioning and navigation
  • sea-floor sampling and classification
  • remote sensing shoreline determination
  • photogrammetry or direct measurement
  • depth measurement by echo-sounders that are:
    • multi-beam
    • single-beam
    • multi-transducer
  • static positioning of fixed aids and control points
  • installation, operation, calibration and maintenance procedures for data logging:
    • equipment
    • instrumentation
    • acquisition hardware and software
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