Chair’s message – SSI Qld Journal Nov06

From the Chair

Welcome to the November 2006 edition of the Spatial Sciences Institute (SSI) Queensland Journal. As incoming SSI Qld Regional Chair I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and to share my visions for our region.

The past three years has seen the Spatial Sciences Institute (especially the Qld region) grow from strength to strength. Thanks to the efforts of our previous Chairs the Queensland Region is recognised as a leader within the SSI with one of its most valuable assets, an 870 strong contingent of dedicated SSI members, committed to sharing their knowledge and efforts.

The formation of the SSI from the founding disciplines of surveying, spatial information, remote sensing and cartography three years ago owes much to Richard Statham, our inaugural Chair. His determination, negotiation skills and the high regard held for him within the surveying community were instrumental in our formation. I was heartened to see him recognised at the recent Cairns Conferences where he received the Queensland Spatial Excellence Award for Service to the Industry. Today Richard maintains an active role within ISAQ and I am sure he will continue to assist in uniting our spatial communities. It is appropriate to also recognise the leadership of Phillip Pozzi as SSI Land Surveying Commission Chair, and President of ISAQ, who has continued in Richard’s footsteps. Phil’s efforts were recently recognised when he received the QSEA Spatial Professional of the Year Award also in Cairns.

For the past two years Rob Bischof has been our SSI Qld Chair and guiding visionary. Under Rob’s leadership the Qld Region has grown to be the envy of our sister Regions. Rob’s insight in nurturing our Young Professionals has both secured a sustainable future for the Industry and invigorated us. His business acumen has provided us with a Governance model that is now being adopted throughout the Institute, and his desire to promote an inclusive culture has given us a diverse membership where we can both recognise and appreciate the team that is the spatial industry – from spatial data capture to decision-making visualisation. Last year, Rob’s achievements were recognised when he received the coveted SSI Spatial Professional of the Year award. Recently, his endeavours have been developing the Spatial Information Specialisation Certificate into an internationally recognised credential, opening gateways for new spatial professionals and opportunities for our members. His drive in the region will be missed but I am sure his commitment to our profession will continue.

It is now my turn to step-up-to-the-plate and deliver. I am firmly resolved to support the platforms that have been built by Richard and Rob, to maintain the advantage that they have given us, and to continue to grow our profession in light of the challenging environments we face. As I take up the role as Chair, a little information on my background may be in order. As a young teenager, I remember attending a careers night and being captivated listening to a tall bearded surveyor (with ‘jigger’ by his side) talking of the adventure and precision in building the Snowy Mountains Scheme – a duty that many of us may be involved in once again given the current water crisis. From that day my path was set and resolve fixed. My experiences in our industry started like many from the baby boomer era, in the Survey discipline, beginning with the NSW Main roads and ending in Broome, WA some 20 years later.


My decision to move out of surveying was difficult, yet in hindsight was simply a new passion and progression in my spatial science career. I entered an opening gateway into the expanding spatial profession, a new degree in Geographic Information Science at Curtin University. This new learning complemented the spatial awareness and literacy that we spatial professionals intuitively share. After graduation, I accepted a position with CSIRO. For the past 12 years I have raised my family in the Redlands, by Moreton Bay, and faced the challenges to adapt the spatial observations of fellow CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric researchers with their innovative ideas on reality. I have learnt much and drifted only slightly from the spatial industry when I chose my academic Masters in Environmental Management.


Throughout my employ I have chosen to serve our industry. Initially with IEMS NSW, then AURISA, now SSI. In the years prior to the formation of the SSI, I served as the AURISA Qld Chapter Treasurer. Then, in call to the 2001 Spatial Action Agenda, I served on the Spatial Sciences Coalition Unification Committee helping to form our now 3200 strong Institute. Since the inception of the SSI Qld Region, I have served as Chair of your CPD Committee, a committee of 12 like-minded dedicated volunteers who set direction and policy for your three Qld Office staff. Over the past three years your SSI Qld Office has brought you a four-fold increase in CPD opportunities, with this year anticipated to break the 200 CPD point limit. I commend to you the efforts of both my fellow Committee members and the SSI staff that serve you.


I see the road ahead as exciting. The SSI is the voice and the place for spatial information professionals. The organisation that leads, promotes, advocates and delivers excellence on behalf of its members. The platforms that have been built allow your voices to be heard (and listened to) at both State and National levels. Indeed, the Spatial Sciences Institute is now a globally recognised forum in the Asia Pacific region for the spatial information community. The SSI continues to make decisions as the one Institution of choice for all spatial science practitioners and professionals, though distributed by geography, are joined by its application.


The year ahead will be challenging. We need to maintain our strong growth and to foster our inclusive culture. Some of the priorities I see include – to progress communication channels so we (the Institute and its membership) can engage proactively to address issues of concern to you, to promote how our professions have contributed to the economic and social development of Qld, to reach-out into allied professions that also share our intuitive spatial awareness and to continue nurturing (and learning from) our young professionals – the future of our profession.


Undoubtedly, my fellow SSI Committee members will continue to keep my feet on the ground, to ensure that our priorities are realistic and our goals achievable; and to ensure that the policies and processes needed to run our programs are developed. Their continued efforts and contribution of views to guide the Institute are invaluable, as is all participation by fellow SSI members who share their time and effort for the Institute.


In closing I wish share with you some words for thought over the coming festive season. By Lawrence Kushner – “The purpose in life is not to win. The purpose in life is to grow and share. When you come to look back on all that you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you have brought into other peoples lives than you will from the times that you outdid them and defeated them”.


Wishing you all a safe and happy festive season.

Tom Taranto
Chair SSI Qld

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