UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering


CEGE’s Geospatial Sciences (Hydrographic Surveying) MSc receives funding support from NORBIT UK

27 February 2020

NORBIT UK is providing funds in support of UCL’s Geospatial Sciences (Hydrographic Surveying) MSc, by underwriting some of the nautical sciences training students undertake, and offering a prize for the programme’s top student.

Students on board a boat wearing life jackets.

NORBIT, a global supplier of tailored technology solutions headquartered in Trondheim, Norway, has the following key target markets; global maritime markets, where NORBIT’s core offering consists of sonar solutions based on proprietary technology; and intelligent traffic systems, offering truck tolling devices, connectivity for tachographs, and other tailored solutions.

Its UK subsidiary, NORBIT UK, has announced support for UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering (CEGE)’s Geospatial Sciences (Hydrographic Surveying) MSc, establishing the NORBIT Prize for the top student on the programme, and underwriting some of the costs of the nautical sciences training students undertake. 

Geospatial Sciences (Hydrographic Surveying) MSc, which relaunched in 2019 and is taught by Geomatics staff at UCL, is recognised as a Category “A” programme by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) - the highest level of international recognition available. As well as currently offering modules which cover data analysis, engineering surveying and hydrographic applications, the programme also offers an increased level of training in nautical science, in preparation for working with professional surveyors, such as those from the Port of London Authority (PLA). Students on the programme work with PLA staff regularly, as the PLA runs Geospatial Sciences (Hydrographic Surveying) MSc in partnership with UCL. A basic level of nautical science and seamanship is also required for most hydrography related careers, underlining the importance of the training NORBIT UK is supporting.

In this academic year, Geospatial Sciences (Hydrographic Surveying) MSc students have taken part in sea survival training, and have completed a nautical science course, both of which have been supported by NORBIT UK. The nautical science course takes the form of a short module which includes a certified personal survival course, a series of lectures and practical boat work covering basic seamanship, an understanding of meteorology and sea conditions, navigation, nautical charts and publications, and emergency procedures. It is designed to make students competent and confident aboard survey vessels.

The nautical science course was “well put together”, according to Jack Pearce, a current Geospatial Sciences (Hydrographic Surveying) MSc student. Jack adds that “Ed Hadnett and the PLA team ensured a great variety of content was covered with each session. Ed was an engaging and knowledgeable tutor, and provided us with the materials we needed to enter industry confidently, and better prepared.”

NORBIT UK’s funding (beginning from this academic year), will also facilitate collaboration with companies such as NORBIT on practical project work.

John Fraser, Managing Director at NORBIT UK, comments how the company "recognises the importance of geospatial educated students entering a hydrographic surveying career." Mr Fraser acknowledges how  

UCL courses have well-known international accreditation, and our clients have already experienced the good work and industry outreach from UCL. Therefore, by supporting Geospatial Sciences (Hydrographic Surveying) MSc, we are upholding core NORBIT values, by both refining talents, and continuing our long and respected tradition of supporting academia." 

Mr Fraser also notes that as "the NORBIT brand gains wider recognition in the global hydrographic, naval defence and marine engineering markets, by working alongside UCL and other industry partners, the NORBIT office in the UK looks forward to assisting staff and students in their coursework, project work and in wider hydrographic experiences.” 

Programme director Dr Jonathan Iliffe adds: 

The NORBIT UK funding is fantastic news. Our new Geospatial Sciences (Hydrographic Surveying) MSc programme gives great scope for collaboration with industry, and it’s great to see NORBIT recognise this. We look forward to our students working with them on summer projects, and potentially on industrial placements at the end of their studies.”



Watch this video by the PLA about previous iterations of Geospatial Sciences (Hydrographic Surveying) MSc.

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NdecHed2yQ&feature=emb_logo

Please refer to the Geospatial Sciences MSc routes programme page and the Geospatial Sciences (Hydrographic Surveying) MSc prospectus page for the latest programme information (see below). 



Please note, some links lead to external sites.


  • Caption: Geospatial Sciences (Hydrographic Surveying) MSc students en route from Tower Bridge to Putney on board a PLA Harbour Master's launch, as part of their nautical science course practical.