Chair’s Message – SSI Qld Journal Mar07

From the Chair
Welcome to the March edition of the Spatial Sciences Institute (SSI) Queensland Journal. As noted in the last Journal edition, a focus for 2007 is communication, to build relationships both within the Institute and with our communities. It is destined to be a year where our movements are viewed in purpose and solidarity. In this message I will be highlighting some of the initiatives being developed to strengthen these bonds between ourselves and our communities, and how you can participate in this unprecedented campaign.

The Spatial Sciences Institute has adopted a communication technology that provides the ability for all to participate in setting the course that the Institute follows. The website,, is the gateway to this new participatory environment. Here members can unite to develop ideas and strategies on how to achieve their goals. It is a website that both facilitates collaborative authorship by those wishing to be members of this initiative and feedback from those wishing to simply watch from the sidelines.

Examples of how this technology works can be seen in documents currently in draft. Documents in progress include one where you can discuss and help describe what the spatial sciences are so we can convey common messages to our audiences – whether they be politicians, students or the general community. Another lets you list suggestions of what you would appreciate on the next generation SSI website, a website directly linked to our new membership database. This is just a start, with our working groups already active in using this new web-based tool, the Institute is working as one to progress your visions for the future.

Many SSI Committees and working groups are already actively using the wiki interface to collaboratively develop documents of purpose, to provide resources for decision making and to elicit suggestions, ideas and feedback from those watching on the sidelines. To address our drastic skills shortage, the Spatial Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) is actively using wikispaces to share informative reference resources; Towngroups have been invited to their area of the wiki to unite, develop events and share resources; the Careers working group are involved as is the much valued CPD and YP committees.

I invite you all to participate in this new world using a communication technology that allows us to work together to make the Spatial Sciences the place to be.

SSC2007, Hobart May 14-18.
The premier event for 2007 is only months away. Are you ready? The main highlight of this year’s calendar is the SSI International Conference. Titled: The Spatial Sciences Revolution – Powering the Information Generation it will be a conference that gives new direction on how the spatial sciences are empowering our communities. It will be a conference that demonstrates how our profession is providing for the decisions of tomorrow and how we can each rise up and enlist. Hosted in refreshing Hobart, this years gala event promises to be a ‘cool’ visit to our southern most city. Our Tasmanian colleagues have gone to great lengths to ensure that our visit to Hobart will be memorable. So it is only fitting that we Queenslanders fly south to support the apple islanders, and show how warm we are to their efforts. Do your bit to ensure the success of our Institute’s major event of the year. Visit the Promotions page, printout a flyer and post it up so others can see. Do all that you can to promote our professions role in society and help spread the spatial word.

If flying south to be apart of the big event is difficult, then attending our own Queensland events should be easy. Your Central and Northern groups have once again worked hard to provide you the opportunities to learn and network with one another. I hope to see you at the March Conference in Gladstone or the early May conference in Mackay. These events may not be as big as Hobart’s International event but they are a great time for the sub regions to shine with professionals networking, sharing ideas and gaining CPD points.

In recognition of the growing south east corner of the state, the Queensland Region is looking at coordinating (and supporting) SEQ Towngroups to collaboratively provide CPD events. The Regional Committee believes that the current independent Towngroups in our southern region have the potential to emulate the collective strengths as shown by our Northern and Central groups and to shine out as a beacon to our southern counterparts. If you are a SEQ member interested in contributing to our new ‘Southern Group’ hit the Towngroup wikispace or contact the SSI Qld Office (07 3217 2566) and let us know of your interest. We will ensure you are joined to those who share your desire.

The Institute’s commitment to your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is with purpose. Not only does the Institute value CPD to promote fellowship and learning, CPD provides a quantifiable way of measuring your professionalism. By now many of you would be aware of the Spatial Information Commission’s Specialist Certification. It has been benchmarked across International certification schemes and now provides applicants who gain this Certificate much valued International recognition. The Institute’s Engineering and Mining Surveying Commission is presently reviewing the second draft of its own specialist certification documentation. This certification has been written to parallel the Spatial Information certification so there will be commonality across the SSI commissions. Once ratified, this new Certificate will have our professionalism recognised even further.

Our young professionals are never idle. They are being instrumental in outreaching into our communities. Towngroups by now should have been contacted by a YP representative outlining the initiatives being offered to support fellow practitioners and to inform local communities. The YP’s aim is in-keeping with the 2007 theme of Communication – to raise awareness and professionalism within the community. Our energetic YP’s have lots of great events planned throughout the year. I urge you all to support these activities and to encourage others to join this enthusiastic team.

Our bridge-building with allied professions is progressing. Already our partnership with the Australian Computer Society (ACS) has formed a “Spatial Technology” Special Interest Group. There first event will be held on 28th March – see your CPD calendar for more on this new initiative. Undoubtedly, with the spatial sciences being so ubiquitous, it provides us many potential partnerships with allied professionals (the topical water and climate themes especially providing likely candidates). We need to be conscious of these win-win situations and quick to sieze the opportunity to promote our expertise to others.

Another important initiative that is being actively pursued by your Queensland Committee is related to Queensland’s 150 Year Celebration. In 2009, Queensland will celebrate 150 years since its separation from the then NSW Colony. Over the next 2 years we have an opportunity to highlight not just how our industry played a significant role in defining our southern boundary but also on how our profession has been instrumental in the development of Queensland to what it is today – a vibrant state of excitement and potential. Each town undoubtedly has its own story to tell. This initiative provides an opportunity for Towngroups and individuals to document (through the various media) our important role in building this great state. Visit the wikisite to learn more about this Queensland initiative and how you can participate in promoting your town as well your profession.

Our future is undoubtedly our children. I was encouraged to learn that one of todays world leaders is now actively promoting our science to our children’s educators. Google has recently launched ‘Google for Educators’, a collection of online tools for grades K-12. Prominent among the tools offered are lesson plans and videos from Discovery Education focused on Google Earth and Google Map. Google Online mapping technologies are now playing an integral part in the teaching toolkit. It has been recognised that both Google Maps and Google Earth play important roles in helping to deliver high quality and engaging educational activities with children. I believe it augers well for our profession when children are being inducted to the spatial sciences by such leaders. I also believe it provides us many opportunities to help guide tomorrows decision makers through initiatives such as the Spatial Technology in Schools program. I am sure you can see many opportunities where you or your colleagues can provide leadership. Feel free to communicate your thoughts with us, the Institute is always welcome to support you in your activities.

Since its incorporation in 2003 the Institutes membership has steadily grown to become the largest representation of Spatial Professionals in the Australasian region. Though the Institute now represents and advocates for over 3,300 members we have fallen short of our initial target of 5,000 members. Much of this shortfall is unfortunately due to some colleagues not willing to change with the times, not willing to join us as we tackle the challenges that today’s work, education and social environments present. Though this shortfall places a burden on our budgets, it has not stopped our enthusiasm and drive to advocate our profession or to provide services to members. Your suggestions on how we can attract others to join us is appreciated. Please add your comments on the Membership wikipage.

There are many initiatives currently being pursued to increase our membership and to ensure that members receive valued benefits. Soon a new category of membership will be trialled for our Corporate members. ‘Sustaining Membership’ offers businesses the opportunity to be recognised for proactively supporting the SSI while increasing benefits for their employees. If you wish to learn more of this initiative please contact the SSI Qld Office.

Our ‘Women in Spatial’ initiative is well advanced in scoping a workshop for the Hobart Conference. This workshop is seeking to identify the needs of women within the spatial sciences and aims to increase the female membership of the Institute. I invite all women reading this message to be apart of this welcome initiative. You can either have your say on the wikispace or contact the SSI Qld Office and let us know of your interest. We will ensure you are linked to the initiative. We always welcome ideas on how to increase our female membership.

The Institute continues to successfully provide one voice for its members, advocating our profession where ever possible, but it is you who makes the difference. Most of our efforts are done by volunteers, committed colleagues always prepared to promote our profession and to provide services for others. The Institute recognises these achievers and appreciates their commitment. I ask readers to take up a hoe and help us build the paths to our destinations, to participate in implementing our initiatives using our innovative communication protocols.

With a strong contingent to help reach our objectives, our profession will again be seen as a leader within the community.

Tom Taranto
SSI Qld Chair


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