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Searching for MH370 - Surveying Graduates in University of Otago Alumni Magazine

Thursday 15 October 2015 4:25pm

Seven of our 2015 Bachelor of Surveying (BSurv) graduates feature in the recent University of Otago’s Magazine in the “Alumni News: Where in the World are You?” section.

Since the end of their studies, Kate Downes, Jason Farr, Rhiannon Woolhouse-Williams, Dan Graham, Ian Hauman, Hayes Ballantyne and Billy Greer have been working for Fugro Survey Pty Ltd , the company contracted to locate MH370 – the Boeing 777 that disappeared in March 2014. They are all based in Perth and spend 6 weeks at a time on a variety of specialised hydrographic surveying vessels using equipment in waters up to 5000 m deep in the Indian Ocean.

The students all participated in the SURV322 and SURV452 Hydrographic Surveying papers offered as optional papers during their BSurv degree and are putting their skills to work on a very high profile and challenging job. When they returned to graduate in May 2015 the current hydrographic surveying students were able to learn about the graduates' experiences at an informal and very interesting guest lecture. The School of Surveying always welcomes visits from past students and this was no exception!

Some comments from the article:
“Every day could be the day the plane is found,” says Kate Downes. “I feel privileged to be involved in a job that so many people around the world are interested in knowing the outcome of.”
“Reading the messages that the victims’ families sent to everyone working on the job reminds us of the greater purpose to this work and that a lot of people have been relying on what we do.” (Ian Hauman on the one-year anniversary)
“If you mention to someone that you are a hydrographic surveyor, you get a rather muted response,” says Daniel Graham. “But when you say you are working on the MH370 search, their interest immediately spikes.”
“I like the science and technology behind hydrographic surveying,” explains Billy Greer. “But it’s the idea of ‘discovering’ or mapping new parts of the world that have not been charted that really drew me in.”

The final work from Jason Farr is very interesting (and something the School of Surveying is very proud of!):
“If Australian-based companies are coming to New Zealand to recruit graduates, rather than recruiting from Australian universities, then Otago’s reputation speaks for itself”.

See pg. 44 of University of Otago Magazine: issue 41 for the full story!

The magazine can be viewed and downloaded from:
The link to the magazine website is: