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Job Description


Job Title: Physical Scientist (Onboard Hydrographer)(ID#15923)

Location: (PORT) North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Onboard Vessel




Cherokee Nation Strategic Programs (CNSP) is a versatile, tribally owned 8(a), SDB providing solutions throughout the U.S. and overseas. CNSP has expertise in a wide range of technical disciplines, including global vulnerability assessment, information assurance, intelligence operations, program management and professional services with partners in Information Technology. CNSP is owned by Cherokee Nation Businesses, the economic engine of Cherokee Nation, the largest Native American tribe in the U.S. One-hundred percent of the company’s profits support future business investments and the well-being of the tribe’s citizens through health care, education and job creation, ensuring better lives for Cherokees today and tomorrow.



For more company information, visit our website at



The Hydrographer will be working on the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer (EX), which is a research vessel dedicated to exploring unknown areas of the deep-ocean. The vessel is fully equipped with an ocean depth multibeam sonar mapping system and a two-bodied, deep-water remotely operated vehicle (ROV) system capable to diving to 6000m. Images, video, data and other information will be broadcast to the Internet and to science command centers located across the country from the ship using a state-of-the-art satellite system.

US Citizenship or Permanent Residency is required.



Leading at-sea ocean exploration mapping operations on the Okeanos Explorer will be the overarching focus of this position.

The Physical Scientist (Onboard Hydrographer) will be primarily responsible for maintaining and operating the vessel's hydrographic survey equipment, overseeing the work of the surveying team at sea, and managing associated mapping data. These duties include sonar data acquisition, data processing, data management and product generation. Secondarily, this person will be expected to help manage, quality assure, and archive extensive cruise data sets from at-sea expeditions. This position will collaborate closely with the ship’s Senior Survey Technician to ensure high quality Survey Department capability for the EX. The individual will also be expected to help with ROV dive planning operations, specifically providing expertise in mapping dataset processing and visualization. During dedicated ocean mapping expeditions (non-ROV cruises) this position serves as the primary at-sea representative of NOAA OER responsible for coordinating with the ship’s Commanding Officer, Operating Officer, and crew. Daily reporting of at-sea activities to shore-based NOAA OER colleagues is required.

  • This person must also be able to maintain and operate all mapping-related software packages and technology associated with sonar data acquisition and data management such as preliminary processing and storage.
  • This person will help maintain and support the mission-related computer systems, networking infrastructure and mission specific software packages.
  • This person will be expected to show initiative in solving technical and operational problems; to troubleshoot and resolve problems in a time-critical environment; to perform proof-of-performance testing and preventive maintenance such as providing technical advice on maintenance of ship-based acoustic sensors and backing-up data.
  • This person will be involved in the design, development and implementation of new equipment and/or software related to maintaining and/or improving sonar system capabilities.
  • This person will also create advanced mapping products unique to EX's missions, and analyze operating programs and make constructive recommendations for improvements.



This position will not have supervisory authority.




BS that includes at least 24 semester hours in physical science, engineering, or mathematics and/or related technical discipline. (MS Preferred)



  • 1 -5 years of relevant hydrographic or mapping experience with specialized experience including:
  • General knowledge of hydrographic surveying and ocean exploration tools, operations and objectives.
  • Ability to learn specific tasks related to data acquisition, data processing and product creation, specifically with multibeam sonar systems, preferably with Kongsberg equipment and software.
  • Ability to apply analytical and evaluative methods used to gather, analyze, and evaluate information about organizational design and management processes.
  • Data management experience and the ability to help create and maintain an efficient data processing pipeline and data network, conduct studies on programs involved in managing data, identify procedural problems using quantitative/qualitative methods to analyze findings and be able to make clear recommendations on system improvements and Standard Operating Procedures
  • Ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing, and possess strong interpersonal skills to enable working as part of operations and development teams.
  • Experienced with word processing and spreadsheet software and database management.
  • Experience with standard Windows computer operating systems is essential.
  • Skill in using multibeam sonar acquisition and processing software and GIS software (e.g. Kongsberg SIS, Qimera,QPS Fledermaus, ESRI ArcGIS, etc.) is required.
  • Experience in operating oceanographic equipment and associated software, which includes but is not limited to, CTD, XBT, sound velocity probes, and thermosalinographs.
  • Experience with ancillary equipment directly supporting multibeam sonars, such as heave/pitch/roll/yaw inertial motion sensors and global positioning systems (GPS).
  • Experience leading at-sea field teams is preferred.
  • Good judgement and tact in working with diverse teams.
  • Familiarity with UNH CCOM activities, capabilities and staff is preferred.
  • Must be physically fit and medical qualified to spend up to 130 days at sea per year, plus travel to and from the ship, and be familiar with shipboard routine on a research vessel.




Ship-Based Schedule:


Hours worked will be based on a 12 hours on / 12 hours off shipboard schedule which allows for a compensation plan (additional pay or compensation time) for hours exceeding 40 hours per week. The project requires significant travel to foreign and domestic port locations and onboard the ship during expeditions throughout the year, with up to 130 days per year of at-sea work duty. Two trips per year are anticipated to domestic locations possibly including but not limited to Silver Spring, MD and Narragansett, RI.

On Shore Duties:


The Physical Scientist (Hydrographer) will be based at the Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IOCM) processing center located at Joint Hydrographic Center (JHC) / Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping Center (CCOM) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and will be a primary Physical Scientist rotating aboard the EX to support expeditions.

While the vast majority of work time will be onboard the ship, shore based duties may include: post-processing of EX data; providing support for EX operational planning including aid with cruise plans, staffing, budgeting and schedule estimates; and developing advanced, nontraditional mapping products.



With $400 million in annual revenue, 20% growth per year, approximately 950+ active contracts serving 60+ government agencies in 25 countries, 47 states, 2 territories and 2000+ employees, Cherokee Nation Businesses’ (CNB) group of Federal Contracting Section 8(a) companies is well positioned to deliver expertise needed to solve complex technical issues. Federal Solutions provides an array of services for 12 of the 15 cabinet-level departments and agencies – from applications and data services to cybersecurity and national defense.

Why consider Cherokee Nation and our Federal Solutions business? Here are some great resources highlighting what we do and compelling reasons for joining our team!

Applicants selected will be subject to a U.S. Government security investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information.

We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, protected Veteran status, gender identity and sexual orientation. If you’d like more information about your EEO rights as an applicant under the law, please copy and paste the links to the following two sites: EEO Statement | EEO Poster

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