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Meet Brad Cooper


Hydrographic Surveyor.

Job description: 

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Looking after New Zealand’s hydrographic survey program for safety of navigation surveys/nautical charting, New Zealand’s area of responsibility stretches from the Pacific to Antarctica. Checking data at the completion of each survey.

Work background: 

University of Otago, worked for a large survey company based in Perth, Australia. Have worked in lots of offshore projects in countries such as Norway, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Favourite part of job: 

Solving problems.

Least favourite part of job: 

Trying to sleep in rough seas!

What I am working on now: 

Checking the data from one of our surveys in the Pacific. Assessing data gathered by a mixture of satellites, airplane mounted lasers and boat mounted sonars.

A quick story about a job well done: 

Recently we had a survey in an area where locals had reported a rock of uncertain depth. Previous surveys had found the rock but this current survey did not. This prompted us to take a deeper look. On closer inspection the rock had been removed from the data by mistake! The current survey was a bit more accurate so we could provide a more certain position and depth of the rock to local mariners.

A (humorous) story about a job that went badly and what you learned: 

Trying to use a drone for mapping work in remote Papua New Guinea. A propellar came off when the aircraft was 100m above the ground and everyone was running for cover as the drone flew everywhere (the locals had never seen a drone before so their fascination turned to shock real quick). Fortunately no one was hurt, the drone wasn’t too badly damaged and I can see the funny side of it now. Never assume anything, check everything (including that the propellars are correctly attached).


Bachelor of Surveying (Otago), FIG/IHO/ICA Category A Certified Hydrographic Surveyor.

Interests outside work: 

Mountain biking.