Chair’s Message – SSI Qld Journal Autumn 2008

From the Chair, Spatial Sciences Institute, Queensland.

Welcome to the 2008 Autumn edition of ‘Spatial Science – the magazine of the Spatial Sciences Institute (Queensland edition)’. This autumn, as many of you are mapping what surrounds us, others are extending themselves to bring you exciting news, events and activities for the coming seasons.

Increasing Communications

As your professional body, the Spatial Sciences Institute does more than represent your interests to decision makers and provide you the opportunity to continue with your personal professional development. It also seeks to continually inform you of what is happening in your areas of interests so that you are well placed to make decisions for your future. From professional journals to impromptu newsletters, your Institute is servicing you with many media outlets that provide you news of what is happening.

This Spatial Science Magazine provides you the news of your region and outside, covering both the light hearted banter and hard working efforts that we are recognised for. There are also the impromptu mailouts, newsletters that bring you the latest news for your area, keeping you abreast of happenings so that you can respond sooner rather than later.

The Institute’s biannual Spatial Science Journal is an academic peer reviewed journal that provides you the opportunity to have your works recognised both now and into the future, with editions lodged in libraries throughout the world.

Then there is the latest addition to our media network. The new official website to the SSI has been launched at http://www.spatialsciences.org . Our new website is one that may not look too different at the front end, but it is what lies beneath that provides the Institute the opportunity to effectively increase the services that matter to you. The new website is powered by modern technologies that provide effective management and authorship by both staff and contributors.

These new internet technologies also provide us the means by which we can open up the newly implemented membership database to you so that you can securely tend to your personal and professional details online.


Then there is the Institute’s wikispace, http://spatialsciences.wikispaces.com , an online website that provides you the opportunities to connect with others, to discuss matters of common interest, and to collaboratively author documents.


Today, the SSI is providing you the communication services that are world class, and it is continually looking into increasing its worth to you as our industry moves into the future.


A new dawn

The recent WALIS Forum 2008, put on by the WA Government Land Information Section, highlighted the renewed intensity that our professions are being recognised for, a renewed recognition of the important contributions that our industry provides to our nation. The Forum, similar in format to our own Qld Spatial Conference, attracted a record number of attendees. Some 820 delegates attended the Forum to learn from, and network with, fellow spatial science professionals. It was a truly successful event and one that demonstrates the interests that our professions are generating in this 21st century.

Here in our homeland state, your fellow volunteer colleagues and dedicated SSI office staff are working hard to bring you similar successful stories. The next major event on our calendar is our Queensland Spatial Conference, to be held on the Gold Coast on 17-19 July. With an in-depth education program and an exhilarating social program, it is an event not to be missed.


The Conference Program Committee have reviewed a record number of abstracts that were seamlessly submitted and managed using today’s online technologies and have published their efforts to the website.


And the Conference Social Program Committee has prepared exciting networking opportunities. Prepare yourselves to not only look into the future but to step back into the past. In close association with your industry body, ASIBA, the Institute has secured Warner Bros. MovieWorld on the Gold Coast to provide the Conference Gala Dinner in conjunction with the Queensland Spatial Excellence Awards (QSEA). It will be an exceptional networking occasion applauding those that are leading our profession while dressed in the theme costume for the evening – 1940’s, the gangster era. Get your Bonny and Clyde outfits out of the closet and have some fun. This will be an event not to be missed and will undoubtedly be remembered long into the future.


The 2008 Queensland Spatial Conference Program and online registration can be found at http://www.qsc2008.com.au .


Recognising your worth

A major initiative of the Institute is to provide you the opportunity to have your professionalism officially recognised by your peers and for businesses to be seen as employing professional staff. The SSI Certification Program provides you the opportunity to gain Certification through assessment of a combination of academic and vocational achievements. Certification can be attained at either the General or Specialised levels. While the General Certification simply identifies your professionalism of any discipline, the Specialised Certification is related to a specific spatial discipline.

Each Commission has formally developed their own Certification requirements. Ranging from recognition of long term service to the requirement to hold a four year university degree.


Last year the Spatial Information and Cartography Commission launched their Specialisation Certification documentation (GISP-AP). It recognises that individuals with Tertiary tickets and diplomas, but with extensive work experience, are deemed just as professional as those with a four year degree and with limited work experience.


Please be aware that the “cut-off date” for GISP-AP Certification via the 10 year “Long Term Practice Provision” is 31 December 2008. Also, that similar ‘educational’ cut-off-dates may be introduced in the future as the Institute moves forward securing itself and the future of our professions through mergers with other professional associations.


The
Engineering and Mining Specialised Certification is now in final draft and being reviewed by Institute and industry representatives throughout the Asia-Pacific. At this stage it is similar to that of the GISP-AP, providing those of varying academic and vocational achievement to be formally recognised. If you wish to learn more of this effort, contact the Qld Regional Engineering and Mining Commission Chair through the SSI Qld Office (07) 3217 2566.

The status for the Remote Sensing, Land Surveying and Hydrographic Commission Specialisation Certifications can also be found either on the website or by contacting the Regional Office.


Commitment to your learning and the future

Queensland’s extensive continuing professional development program – indeed that of the entire Institute – is in the process of being substantially expanded. The Institute is currently working in collaboration with the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRC-SI) to provide on-line educational packages. These online services will provide locational equality for those in remote locations. It will provide the opportunity to continue your professional development at your leisure and independent of whether you are in the big smoke or out in the bush. Yet another service that your dedicated SSI staff and committed volunteers have worked hard to secure for you. My congratulations to all those involved.

Indeed, those in our greater outlying areas are being well serviced by committed colleagues. The Northern and Central Groups, in support with their network of Town Groups continue to provide their members with the opportunity to attend their own conferences. I am sure that these hardy events will be enthusiastically attended. Though online education provides ease of access, nothing can be more informative or rewarding as that which is gained during a social occasion with fellow colleagues.


Through the Spatial Education Advisory Committee Queensland (SEAC Qld), the various education sectors (tertiary and secondary) are sharing information and coordinating activities with the profession and industry. Our SEAC Qld team recently responded to the call from Education Queensland for consultation on the future planning of teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). SSI Qld also participated in the QSIC Education Working Group, assisting in the involvement of the spatial profession through the teacher networks. Congratulations to those who have worked on these initiatives to provide the opportunity to seed spatial awareness to our children and those that will follow.


Other teams are also coordinating the Q150 Program, collating ideas and putting together material in preparation of the Queensland sesquicentenary (150 year) celebration. It has been recognised that the contributions of our professions to the development and economic status of Queensland over the last 150 years has been substantial and that the Q150 Celebrations are an opportunity to inform others of our works. If you have any interest in supporting this initiative please contact the Qld Office.

Our YP’s (Young Professionals) are ever full of vigour and enthusiasm. They continue to coordinate networking events that bring both members and non-members together and to share our knowledge and enthusiasm for the profession. The upcoming ‘Speed dating’ event which matches young enthusiastic professionals with experienced ‘older’ mentors will undoubtably be as successful as earlier events.

The YP’s have also taken charge of showcasing our industry to those who will hopefully succeed us in the future. In conjunction with the the Qld Spatial Conference, our YP’s will be introducing our profession to School children and guiding them around the exhibits that will be in place for us during the next Conference. Following the Conference the YP’s will also be convening their own TSExpo, showcasing our profession to tertiary graduates and lecturers.


As the SSI Qld Chair, I – and undoubtedly many others who are reading this message – wish to thank the Young Professionals and our other committed volunteers for their work in bringing all these services and initiatives to you. With the enthusiasm and camaraderie being generated here in Queensland I am confident that the future of our profession will flow into good hands.


Help map the growing force

The Queensland Region membership continues to grow, and with it comes the need to proactively map the paths we should follow and the services we should extend to our growing throng. In today’s business climate being proactive is essential. In this light the Institute needs to identify what is required to support and progress our profession (you) into the future. To successfully achieve this end we need your contributions, your feedback, and your thoughts on how we can better serve you. If you see the need for a service you require to gain your maximum professional potential then let us know, contact the SSI Qld Office so we can register your thoughts for actioning.

Identifying innovative services is not all that we seek. To implement these and existing services to a growing membership requires help. If you are endowed with a commitment for our profession and wish to share in the enthusiasm with similar colleagues then we both need and want you – many hands make light work and it is the foundation for valued camaraderie. Simply let the office know of your interests and availability.


The Institute is also seeking new ways in promoting the opportunities for industry and government to support the work of the Institute. Here the Sustaining Partner Program is growing in support. The Qld Main Roads Department is the latest in a succession who have identified the priority of maintaining a professional workforce and for having their agency being seen as supporting staff. Benefits flow mutually when employers and the professional association unite in the common goal of building the capacity of the industry, encouraging career progression through professional development and being recognised by certification.


If you wish to learn more of the benefits of the Sustaining Partnership Program for your Agency or Company then contact either myself, the Qld Office (07 3217 2566) or the Central Office (02 6282 2282) or visit the website http://www.spatialsciences.org and click on the ‘Become a Partner’ button.


Help us map our professions so it can evolve and be seen. As the ancient mariners who had discovered the Galapagos Islands (Charles Darwin’s origin of the Origin of Species) had once held true – ‘if it is not mapped, then it does not exist’.

Tom Taranto
Chair, SSI Qld

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