Meet Jennifer Ryan


Manager Chart Production for the New Zealand Hydrographic Authority (NZHA) within Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).

Job description

In a nutshell, I am responsible for providing direction and operational leadership for the production and maintenance of hydrographic charting products to meet New Zealand’s international charting obligations and commitments under the international Safety of Life at Sea convention. Associated with this, I lead a team of dedicated technical experts and their production, in conjunction with nurturing their personal development to deliver on this mandate.

Work background

I started out at Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) as a Geospatial Sciences Intern within the State Sector Summer Internship Programme. From this opportunity I was offered part time work with the New Zealand Hydrographic Authority (NZHA), within LINZ, while I completed my degree. This role turned into a full time permanent position once I finished studying. Early in my career I attended a four month long training course on marine cartography hosted at the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. This gave me specialised skills and international recognition of my competence to produce nautical charts. Extending on this, I then received expert people management training through the Building Capable Managers Programme (a New Zealand Government Natural Resources Sector Initiative). Combining these skills I was offered a position within the NZHA to lead the chart production team and take on the new challenges of operational and people capability leadership.

Favourite parts of the job

New Zealand is a small country with an extensive coastline and is responsible for a relatively large area of water. I thoroughly enjoy producing high quality, specialised nautical charts to aid safe navigation in New Zealand waters and certain areas of Antarctica and the South West Pacific. Timely distribution of these products and the publication of important navigational information are hugely important to me, to enhance firstly the safety of life at sea and also secondly to support a positive experience using our products. It’s a fantastic feeling working for the government agency responsible for producing official hydrographic information.

Least favourite parts of the job

Official nautical charts show the location of marine features such as buoys, lights and lighthouses, rocks and sandbanks, and how deep the water is. The information is constantly updated because maritime features are changing all the time. The largest over-arching challenge I face is the pursuit to continually improve our data and provide an accurate description of New Zealand's seabed, coastline and hazards.


  • Bachelor of Science, majoring in Geography and Environmental Studies from Victoria University of Wellington
  • Category B certified Nautical Cartographer by the FIG-IHO-ICA International Advisory Board on Standards of Competence for Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers

Interests outside of work

I am an active member of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI), Rotaract Wellington and Muritai Yacht Club. Outside of work I enjoy yachting (sunburst class), running, mountain biking, photography, reading and travel.

Watch the video where Jennifer talks about her work (6Mb mp4 file).