Education and Training 

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5505.3 - ICA Contribution to the Development of International Standards of Competence for Nautical Cartographers

Wednesday, July 5
2:10 PM - 2:30 PM
Location: Virginia C

All professions face challenges as how best to ensure the achievement and continuance of the highest standards as they seek to determine and promulgate best practices. In the essentially linked professions of hydrographic surveying and nautical cartography these challenges become immediately international in their impacts and require close cooperation between the professional elements. Thus, in order to achieve these objectives, three international organisations have developed Standards of Competence that institutions or professional bodies may adopt for their educational or training programmes and competency schemes. The three organisations are: Fédération Internationale des Géomètres (FIG); International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and International Cartographic Association (ICA). In consequence and according to the resolu¬tions passed at conferences of the three organisations, an International Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers (IBSC - the Board) was formed.
The Standards of Competence for Nautical Cartographers (the Standards) are known in short form as S-8 and they describe the minimum required competencies for nautical cartographers. They indicate the minimum degree of knowledge and experience considered necessary for nautical cartographers and provide a set of programme outlines against which the IBSC may evaluate programmes submitted for recognition.
The Standards recognise two levels of competence: Category A and Category B. In nautical charting communities, Category A programmes offer levels of comprehensive and broad-based knowledge in all aspects of the theory and practice of nautical cartography. Category B programmes provide a level of practical comprehension, along with the essential theoretical background, necessary for individuals to carry out the various nautical cartography tasks. The current standard for nautical cartographers is entitled S-8 – Standards of Competence for Nautical Cartographers and the presently available edition is (3.1.0). While current, this edition at the time of writing is undergoing complete revision.
The domination of digital cartography and the increasing use of and reliance on software systems and packages does not reduce or obviate the need for education and training in what might be termed "traditional" cartographic principles, knowledge and skills. If anything, the need is greater, since there have been many instances where an over-reliance on packages frequently results in less than desirable maps/charts. Successful nautical cartographers come from many related areas - they might be straight from school with some training in cartography, ex-navigators, naval officers, geodesists, geographers, drafts-persons, GIS trained persons, software developers, land-mappers, surveyors, hydrographic surveyors – from almost any geo-focussed area or discipline.
The educational process itself is in turn influenced by changing technological and methodological imperatives. Connectivity and the introduction of so-called e-learning methods and blended learning techniques have naturally attracted the attention of the professional community. Another relevant issue is the educational approach in the development of the Standards relating to the principles of the style in which the requirements are presented. The IBSC adopted the concept and principles of constructive alignment that are used in most academic institutions and are documented in educational texts, for example Biggs and Tang, Teaching for Quality Learning at University, Open University Press (3rd Edition, 2007). The Standards describe Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO’s) using verbs that are detailed under Bloom's taxonomy. In principle, an institution will evaluate students to ensure that they have achieved each learning outcome.
Publication of the revised Standards is anticipated toward the end of 2017 or early 2018. This paper aims to bring the existence and aims of the Standards to the wider notice of ICA members and to describe the philosophy and aims of the review in meeting the professional competency needs of the nautical cartographic community for the foreseeable future.

Ron Furness

Regional Representative Nautical Cartographer
IIC Technologies Inc.

Presently represents IIC Technologies in Australia and SW Pacific. His long career in nautical cartography commenced in 1960 at the UKHO. From 1965 he worked in the Australian Hydrographic Office from where he ‘retired’ in 2002. He has been a long-serving member of the FIG/IHO/ICA International Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers. He has served as the Chair of the then ICA Commission on Marine Cartography. His interest in bringing nautical cartography to the fore within ICA has seen him take on the position of Chair of the present ICA Working Group on Marine Cartography.


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Lysandros Tsoulos

Professor of Cartography
National Technical University of Athens

Lysandros Tsoulos is professor of Cartography at the Department of Surveying Engineering - National Technical University of Athens [NTUA] (1992-2016). He holds a degree in Surveying engineering from the University of Thessalonica (1972) and a Ph.D. in Cartography from the NTUA (1989). In 1975 he joined the Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service [HNHS] where he worked for 17 years (Directorate of Cartography and the HNHS Computing Center). In 1992 he was elected member of the faculty at the School of Surveying Engineering - NTUA. Until September 2016 he was director of the NTUA Geomatics Center and the Cartography Laboratory. He has coordinated and managed a number of National and EU research projects. He is the author/co-author of 170 research papers on Digital Mapping and Geographic Information Science published in journals or presented in Conferences. His research interests include cartographic design, composition and generalization, expert systems in cartography, GIS, digital atlases, data and map quality issues and spatial data standards. He teaches Cartography and GIS courses at undergraduate and graduate levels and supervises a number of Masters and Ph.D. theses/dissertations. He is reviewer of papers submitted to international scientific journals and project-research proposals. He is member of the council of the Hellenic Cartographic Society and member of national and international scientific committees [International Board of Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers, Technical Chamber of Greece, etc.].


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David Fairbairn

Senior Lecturer in Geomatics
Newcastle University

David Fairbairn has been Senior Lecturer in Geomatics in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle University for many years. He lectures in topics related to cartography and GIS, and has research interests in visualisation, education, citizen science and terrain mapping. Currently chair of the ICA Commission on Education and Training, he has also previously served as Vice President and Secretary-General/Treasurer of the Association.


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5505.3 - ICA Contribution to the Development of International Standards of Competence for Nautical Cartographers

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