Chair’s Message – SSI Qld Journal May07

From the Chair
Welcome to the May 2007 edition of the Spatial Sciences Institute (SSI) Queensland Journal. As an environmentalist I value diversity, both within our physical environment and our business environment. I believe that diversity provides us both sustenance for today and growth for tomorrow.

Diversity
Diversity provides a multitude of benefits. With diversity comes an important resilience to ‘catastrophic’ changes that we often face in this ever changing natural and political climate, a wealth of sustaining resources to support one another, an exciting cauldron of innovative solutions to solve problems that we share and the potential for a pleasing environment of activity and harmony.

The “business case for diversity”, as it is often phrased, is just as important in our global and diverse marketplace. An enterprise such as the Spatial Sciences Institute accepts membership from all who share an interest in our industry. It seeks to embrace representation and composition which mirrors the demographics of our marketplace, the spatial information industry. This philosophy equips us to better serve our industry and to potentially thrive in our rapidly changing marketplace. More so than one that chooses an appearance which is out of step with its market’s appearance.

The importance of our diversity and our service to one another cannot be understated. The river of spatial information that feeds us is a supply chain that flows between those that capture it, to those that store, manipulate, analyse, model, visualise, setout and govern its use. Spatial information is our blood and it is vital for the policy, planning and operational activities which touch on all aspects of the way people and communities live. Governments, businesses and individuals rely on the spatial sciences for the fundamental spatial infrastructures that support the economic, social and environmental security, health and vitality of their communities.

In responding to this need for representation to our decision-makers and our societies, the Institute provides leadership, promotes the capabilities of the spatial sciences, and advocates on behalf of its members. To its members the Institute offers fellowship and, amongst other benefits, the opportunity to learn and grow through its continuing professional development programs and events. Instrumental in its service to our industry is the Institutes drive to develop a certification scheme that is internationally recognised.

Certification
In its role to service our profession and the public, the Institute continues to develop a Certification scheme that adheres to the standards of Professions Australia, a national organisation of professional associations such as the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Engineers Australia and CPA Australia. It is a scheme that offers decision-makers and our other clients a quantifiable measure on those in our industry deemed qualified professionals by their peers. Importantly, this Certification scheme is available for all fellow professionals within our industry, whether they be Institute members or not.

To date, the Institute has offered a general level certification identifying professionals with interest in the spatial industry. Indeed those holding recognition within our formation associations (ISA, AURISA, MSIA, IEMSA and RSPAA) were automatically deemed with this general level certificate. Recently, a higher level ‘specialisation’ certificate was developed by the Spatial Information Commission. The Geographic Information Systems Professional – Asia Pacific (GISP-AP) certificate not only adheres to the standards of Profession Australia, it embraces international recognition. The GISP-AP certificate was developed in association with the the United States GIS Certificate Institute (GISCI), an associate of our sister association, URISA.

The drafting of the GISP-AP Certificate has provided our Institute the process to draft the other equally important specialisation certificates. The Engineering and Mining Commission is well advanced in developing its own certificate that will provide peer recognition for those professionals involved in this particular discipline. And our other Commissions are closely following suit, encouraged by the success of those in front and determined to also provide services for our progressive industry. Indeed our industry is rapidly changing and we are changing with it.

Strength to strength
The Spatial Sciences Institute promotes communication both within its membership and with the many others that share an interest in our industry. To facilitate this participation the Institute has adopted a communication technology that provides the ability for all to participate in setting the course that the Institute follows. The website, http://spatialsciences.wikispaces.com, is the gateway to have your say about our industry. Its usage statistics show an ever increasing acceptance of this new communication technology by our comrades and serves as a growing forum for much of the activity within the Institute.

Here in Queensland the success of our ISAQ – SSI Qld alliance has not only strengthened our profession; today it is providing the environment to seek synergies and prosper into the future. The support that the old and the new professional bodies provide each other has created a formidable force that is being recognised by others. Our Queensland membership has now reached over 900 and its strength continues to attract more members every day. This increased strength in representation is helping the spatial profession be seen as an important contributer to building a strong Queensland economy while providing more services to more members at less cost.

To seek the synergies that will take us into the future we need to continue to recognise how we can work together. By showing that all our disciplines, whether it be surveying, GIS, cartography, remote sensing, or other, we all play a role together to have our industry recognised. As independents we will simply grow old and wither under the continued workloads that are placed upon us, but together and supporting one another, we are once again a strong leader within Queensland’s economy.

To continue this growth and important diversity we need to encourage those that are unaware of our purpose within the spatial information industry to join the groundswell. Whether they be the new surveyors who capture spatial information, the hidden analysts who manipulate that information or the silent mappers who present that spatial information to our decision makers. In isolation we are subservient to those in power, but together we lead our state into the future. To communicate our presence to others the Institute is continually coordinating many outreach activities, but these activities are dependent on you, the troops on the front line to spread the word, to inform others of our purpose and destination.

Outreach
Our dynamic and energetic YPs are continuing to reach out into our communities. They are an exciting team that the regional committee strongly support. If you are aware of any one under the age 35 interested in our industry, I recommend you have them contact this group through the SSI Qld office. The YPs have been busy again with a Financial Seminar (9th May) and are busily planning many exciting events in different regions of the state. The YPs will also be in attendance at the TSXPO Careers Expo in Brisbane in July promoting the Spatial Sciences to our school students. With the ever increasing technologies and things like Google Earth capturing the imagination and interest of school students, it is certainly the time to publicise the industry and its career opportunities.

The Spatial Technolgies in Schools (STiS) program that the Institute coordinates in association with Education Queensland is doing much to provide for our future. One of its goals is to provide today’s students the spatial awareness needed to move into the exciting spatial science career opportunities of tomorrow.

The recent debut meeting of the Qld Spatial Information Technologies special interest group (QldSitSiG) is testament to how pervasive the spatial sciences are as a career opportunity. The meeting, in association with the Australian Computer Society (ACS), SSI, ASIBA and GITA provided an informative session for this important SiG to consider, discuss and work towards for the betterment of our industry. I welcome them and look forward to learning of the issues that they believe need addressing for our industry to prosper. Together we will identify, map and scale mountains. For those wishing to follow the activities of this special interest group, they have started logging their discussions to the http://spatialsciences.wikispaces.com/qldsitsig wikipage.

Our SE Qld colleagues have been eager to showcase our profession and to provide the next great event for our state. The SSI Qld 2008 Conference is now scheduled for the Gold Coast in July 2008. It will be a showcase of how all our disciplines are working together to solve important issues facing our economy. An excited team of colleagues have volunteered their time to plan this showcase. It is promising to provide not only an event that will inform you of the advances in your own disciplines but to showcase how together we achieve much more than we can alone. It will provide you the opportunity to invite others who are not aware of us to see how our solidarity can achieve much. Should you wish to assist in this important event please contact your SSI Qld office.

Sustaining Partnerships
As said at the start, the Institute seeks to embrace representation and composition which mirrors the demographics of our marketplace, and to provide increasing services to our industry’s professionals. To do this requires partners, partners who also need a strong, vibrant and skilled workforce. To address this common need the Institute is launching a new program, a program that offers those agencies, businesses and academia the opportunity to support the Institute in its quest to better the spatial information industry, to better the professionalism and status of the industry’s workforce. The launching of the ‘Sustaining Partnership Program’ will be one of the highlights of the this years premier event, the Spatial Sciences Biennial Conference. If interested in further information about this new opportunity please contact the SSI Qld office (07 3217 2566).

Tom Taranto
SSI Qld Chair

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