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Hydrographic Surveying GEOM 8195

Geomatics Part-time Studies Course

Course details

This course provides an understanding of hydrographic surveying in sufficient depth to enable the student to plan, carry out, and evaluate proposals for such a survey. Topics include Canadian legislation, oceanography and marine geosciences, marine positioning, depth determination using echo-sounders and multi-beam systems, side-scan sonar, some non-acoustic depth determination techniques, tides, hydrographic charts, data management, hydrographic survey specifications and project management.


  • 50% in GEOM 3050 and 50% in MATH 3512
  • Course registration is restricted to students with completion of 2-year Geomatics diploma.





Course offerings

Winter 2023

Below is one offering of GEOM 8195 for the Winter 2023 term.

CRN 88238


Mon Jan 09 - Fri Apr 21 (15 weeks)

  • 15 weeks
  • CRN 88238
  • $1073.23
Class meeting times
Dates Days Times Locations
Jan 09 - Apr 21 N/A N/A Online


Course outline

Course outline TBD — see Learning Outcomes in the interim.





Important information
  1. Internet delivery format.
  2. Departmental approval needed
  3. Important course information will be sent to you prior to your course start date. Check your myBCIT email account to access this information.
  4. **IMPORTANT: The final exam must be written at an approved Exam Centre only. Details will be emailed to you after registering for the course. Students may receive approval to register for this course with completion of 2 year Geomatics diploma, and meeting all other prerequisites. To receive approval, please email your official academic transcript(s) and BCIT Student ID to If you're new to BCIT, create an ID at .

Sneak Preview

This section is only available for registration starting Wed October 26, 2022 at 9:00 am (PDT)

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the three main pieces of Canadian legislation that govern a large portion of hydrographic surveys conducted in Canadian waters.
  • Demonstrate how Canada's offshore international boundaries are determined.
  • Explain why a basic knowledge of oceanography and marine geosciences is necessary for the planning and conduct of hydrographic surveys.
  • Recognize some key instrumentation used to collect oceanographic and marine geosciences physical samples and digital data.
  • Relate the physical properties of water to the speed of sound in water and demonstrate how to calculate sound speed from measurements of temperature, pressure (depth), and salinity.
  • Evaluate the various coordinate systems involved for the horizontal positioning for a hydrographic survey.
  • Differentiate between the various vertical datums used in hydrographic operations and methods used to establish them.
  • Explain the functions of marine positioning instrumentation used to determine system orientation and vessel heave.
  • Illustrate the various sources of errors of horizontal positioning when conducting a hydrographic survey.
  • Describe the principles of long, short and ultra-short baseline acoustic positioning system modes.
  • Perform a water level datum transfer, for both tidal and non-tidal waters.
  • Explain how acoustic system performance is affected by frequency, beamwidth, pulse-length, pulse repetition rate, detection threshold, bandwidth, and resolution.
  • For single-beam echo-sounders:
    • Explain the differences between narrow and wide beam transducers.
    • Describe the various calibration methods.
    • Explain the reductions needed to be made to measured depths due to water level variations, draft and transducer separation.
    • Assess the uncertainty in soundings due to errors in the positioning system, echo-sounder, water level measurement, vessel motion and seabed topography and explain how to select appropriate methods for controlling or reducing sounding uncertainty for specific applications.
  • For multi-beam echo-sounders:
    • Explain the basic principles of multi-beam sonar transmit and receive beam forming and steering.
    • Analyze and process a multibeam sensor calibration dataset, known as a Patch Test
  • For side-scan sonar systems:
    • Explain how side-scan sonar systems work.
    • Interpret side-scan sonar records.

Effective as of Winter 2018

Related Programs

Hydrographic Surveying (GEOM 8195) is offered as a part of the following programs:

School of Construction and the Environment

  1. Geomatics
    Bachelor of Science Full-time


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