Chair’s Message – SSI Qld Journal Jan08

From the Chair, Spatial Sciences Institute Queensland.

Welcome to the January 2008 edition of ‘Spatial Science – the magazine of the Spatial Sciences Institute (Queensland edition)’. As the returning SSI Queensland Chair I hope that your festive season was a joyous one and that your new year resolutions are still intact.

2007 – a year of growth, new communications and changes
Last year was a busy year that saw continued growth and proactive changes thanks to the committed efforts of fellow colleagues and staff of your professional body, the Spatial Sciences Institute Queensland Region. It was a year that continued to see the Queensland region grow from strength to strength. Membership over the year passed the 900 mark. As of December 2007 Queensland membership was at 926 which is over a quarter of the Institute’s entire membership. Much of this consistent growth can be credited to the efforts of our young professionals (YPs) and committed colleagues who continue to reach out into their communities and forge new lasting relations with allied professionals.

Communication
The previous edition of this magazine was its inaugural release. The new format publication was seen to complement the new makeup of our profession, one where not only are our disciplines united but also our regions. The new publication replaced the many independent state based magazines and newsletters that were being published. It builds on those publications to unite us in our common interests, sharing knowledge across the whole membership and providing a rich source of information for all.

The new Institute magazine was well received by all regions. Some regions who previously were only provided news in digital format, now welcome the opportunity to be provided their industry news also in hardcopy, a format that your Queensland office has always aspired to provide. Indeed Queensland has been recognised as a leader, both setting the format, and coordinating the capture of content for this impressive magazine.

During the year there has also been a steady growth and appreciation of the other communication technologies which the Institute has embraced to foster communication. The Institute’s Wikispaces ( http://spatialsciences.wikispaces.com) is seeing increased use by both spatial professionals and para-professionals (those in allied vocations), both members and non-members, who are sharing thoughts on issues of common interest and who are enjoying the freedom of being able to discuss freely over their own website. If you wish to personally establish a special interest group or other discussion forum, simply contact the SSI Qld office (07 3217 2566) to have your own area established on the wikispace.

A Busy Year
2007 was a busy year, with Regional Committee meetings focussed on policy discussions for Governance, Competition (internal and External), Culture, Budget, Regional Rules, Town Group communication, Membership, SSI Relationships, the Sustaining Partner Program, and Succession Planning. The Queensland Region also reviewed the SSI Strategic Plan, ensuring its goals and actions were aligned with that of the Institute.

Our capable CPD Committee and Office staff were also very busy planning 12 events throughout the region which covered a broad spectrum of spatial disciplines; the Central and Northern Groups of SSI held very successful sub-regional conferences in April, May and October 2007; and both SSI Queensland and ASIBA successfully hosted the third Queensland Spatial Excellence Awards in August 2007, showcasing the excellence that our industry offers. Thank you to the CPD Committee, our office staff and other volunteers whose efforts have provided such valued services for our community.

Similarly, I thank those who have continued to serve our interests acting as SSI Queensland Regional representatives on the ASIBA Regional Management Group, the Spatial Education Advisory Commiittee (SEAC Qld), the Qld Spatial Information Council (QSIC), the QSIC Education Working Group and the Bicentennial Education Foundation Advisory Committee.

The YP Committee, those young professionals who continue to enthuse and inspire us with their vitality, had a very active year with their main focus on promoting spatial careers. They hosted a successful Tertiary Studies Expo stall in August 2007, where they exhibited spatial software, technical equipment, and held a catchy competition to give out a donated prize. They maintained an active meetings and social calendar, attracting many new YP members, and hosted several successful CPD events for the wider audience. YP events included a speed networking event and the ‘Emerging Spatial Technologies’ workshop, which attracted 110 registrants. The YPs have now also gained a seat as an observer at ASIBA meetings, creating a strong link between the YPs and the industry.

Changes
Last year was also a year of changes, besides the new Institute communication processes, 2007 saw the retirement of many who have steadfastly served you. We now have a new Chief Executive Officer based in Canberra. Dennis Puniard now replaces Jim Connolly who retired at Xmas to enjoy a more relaxing life on the southern NSW coastline. Dennis joins us with highly regarded skills evidenced in his past government Executive roles, his commitment to forming the Spatial Sciences Institute through the 2001 Spatial Action Agenda, and in his professional leadership of Australia’s Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry sector.

It was also a year that saw the retirement of some of your representatives on the Regional and other Committees. Some of the committed volunteers who represented your interests and helped direct the goals of the Queensland Office have moved to the sidelines (for some R&R). I thank those outgoing representatives, your contributions to the Queensland committees and workgroups have seen the region continue on its growth curve and be highly regarded by other regions throughout the Asia-Pacific. The vacancies have now provided the opportunity for new faces to enter and invigorate our services. I welcome the new committee members, members whose fresh ideas and contributions will be valued as we continue to better serve the membership.

2008 – A year of further growth and excitement
During 2008 the SSI Qld Region will focus on hosting yet another successful regional conference and to showcase another Spatial Excellence Awards evening, while also placing a priority on enlisting new Sustaining Partners and enlarging its membership base. It will look to the future and continue to achieve goals under the Institute’s Strategic Plan 2007- 2010, while operating under the governance policies adopted under the Regional Rules. 2008 is destined to be a year of ongoing successes, growth and vitality.

Queensland Spatial Conference 2008
The Queensland Spatial Conference 2008 Committee welcomes participation by all people with spatial industry related interests, including those working or studying in the disciplines of land surveying, remote sensing and photogrammetry, hydrography, engineering and mining surveying, cartography and spatial information. This is also the premier event for land surveyors for 2008 and is endorsed and supported by the Institute’s Land Surveying Commission. The Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Surfers Paradise from 17-19 July 2008, a setting appropriate for the networking environment that the Institute values so much. The spatial sciences are changing rapidly and conferences such as this are vital to ensuring we keep up to date with these changes. The technical programme has been structured to provide quality education and development – and the social programme is one not to be missed!

The Conference theme of “Global Warning: What’s Happening In Paradise?” gives presenters scope to address the changes relevant
to our industry. Our own ‘Paradise’, like many other regions throughout Australia, is under stress from drought, intensive development,
population increase, effects of sea level change and other factors associated with global warming/climate change. Like-minded
professionals are contributing innovative spatial solutions to these and other challenges across the Asia Pacific Region, in areas
of water resources, agriculture, land development, environmental management, emergency services, infrastructure, transport and
marine biology. As spatial professionals, we are employing leading edge technologies and methodologies in mapping, surveying, GIS,
remote sensing and photogrammetry to address the impacts of climate change. The conference provides the opportunity for us all to share and learn.

I invite you to share your innovative ideas, facts and solutions to ensure a solid foundation is formed that will
provide direction for future decisions affecting the environment, our way of life and climate change. Be sure to visit the website (http://www.QSC2008.com.au) and mark your calendars to be apart of this premier event.

Looking to the future
The Spatial Education Advisory Committee of Queensland (SEAC Qld) continues to provide an important coordination role in education for the tertiary, professional, government, and industry sectors – preparing our sectors for the future. In November (2007) SEAC assisted our Regional Executive Officer to draft a response to the Qld Department of Education, Training and Arts: Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths (STEM) 10 Year Education Project Plan. It is a long term plan to increase participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics study and careers, from primary school to university and beyond, preparing students to develop skills relevant to careers such as the Spatial Sciences. A valued contribution that looks to the future.

Sustaining Partners
In closing this message I would like to thank the many regional, national and international companies that see the value in maintaining a professional organisation such as our own. The Spatial Sciences Institute (SSI) is an organisation that represents the interests of the spatial information community to decision-makers, that upholds a code of conduct which is in keeping with the demands of our vibrant industry, and seeks to provide services for a community recognised as a major player in the development of the nation’s economy.

A recently released economic study is entitled: “Spatially Enabling Australia, a Vision for the Future of the Spatial Information Industry”. This unique study states the substantial contributions that our industry makes to Australia’s GDP, that capacity building in the SI&T industry is needed to continue growth, and that amongst other findings, our industry plays a significant role in the new emerging markets such as climate change. The study then outlines recommendations to ensure Australia remains a leader with respect to SI&T (See article in this edition).

It is this recognition of the strategic importance of our industry for policy, planning and operational activities which touch on all aspects of the way people and communities live, this is driving governments around the world to invest in the skilling of the workforce and the development of policies that will ensure the viability and growth of the (spatial) industry.

With Government and Industry Partners supporting the Institute, the SSI will continue to provide the services that enable the spatial profession to be recoginised for its leadership and unique contributions to all sectors of the economy.

Tom Taranto
Chair SSI Qld

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