Chair’s Message – SSI Qld Journal Spring 2008

Chair’s Message – SSI Qld Journal Spring 2008
From the Chair, Spatial Sciences Institute, Queensland.

Welcome to the 2008 Spring edition of ‘Spatial Science – the magazine of the Spatial Sciences Institute (Queensland edition)’. Over the past winter the SSI Qld Region has been glowing thanks to the efforts of many of our colleagues. Now that spring is upon us many of the seeds of thought that your SSI Qld Regional Committees and staff have sown are beginning to sprout.

Celebrating our Achievements
Our biennial gala event, the Queensland Spatial Conference was a huge success thanks to the exceptional efforts of our SSI Qld Office staff and fellow volunteers on the Organising Committee, thank you to all. This year the event not only provided us the chance to learn and network with one another, it also provided us some surprises and and insight into where our future may lie. Held on the Gold Coast July 17-19, the Conference itself was host to over 300 delegates and another 250 who attended the adjacent pre-conference workshops. Surprisingly, this year the attendances were very different between the two adjacent events. Rather than our mainstay practitioners attending both events it appeared their priorities were more towards updating their skills and knowledge on today’s work practices, while those that attended the conference proper included attendees from industries that previously were peripheral to our surveying and spatial information sectors. The Conference delegate list this year included Principals in the Environmental, Engineering and Research sectors – could it be that our industry is now being recognised for its relevance in other sectors of our economy and society? Armed with the feedback from this years Organising Committee, the next committee will have some interesting ideas to consider.

In concert with the Conference was our Gala event, the SSI/ASIBA Spatial Excellence Awards function (QSEA). This year the Conference Dinner and QSEA were at Warner Bros MovieWorld on the Gold Coast. It provided an exciting networking opportunity that stepped us back in time. It also provided many of us the opportunity to get our dusty Bonny and Clyde outfits out of the closet and have some fun – which we did. I am sure that photos of the evening have been well circulated, possibly with “Wanted – Dead or Alive” scrawled across the top. But the amusement of the evening did not diminish the accolades given to our QSEA nominees. They were all deservedly recognised by our profession and industry for the excellence and outstanding commitments they have given. Congratulations to all our winners and thank you to all for your contributions in demonstrating the excellence that our profession and industry provide to Queensland.

Our young professionals (YPs) have also been busy. Recently they convened their own gala event, the 2008 Emerging Spatial Technologies Workshop. It, like its predecessor, was a great success. Over eighty attendees were provided the opportunity to get a glimpse of the technologies coming into our workplaces, providing new opportunities and progressing our profession so it can address the challenges of tomorrow. I, and I am sure many of you, thank those in the YP Committee for the efforts made to give us these insights.

Preparing for the Merging
As many of you are aware, the merger of the Spatial Sciences Institute (SSI) and the Institute of Surveyors Australia (ISA) has been a long time coming. Where Queensland has enjoyed an enthusiastic well-being through the unification of the professional associations (ISAQ, AURISA and RSPAA) since 2003, our spatial colleagues in other regions have not, as of yet, been so enlivened. At the recent Qld Conference delegates were given the opportunity to face the Working Group delegated by the relevant Boards to construct the path for the successful merging of the two entities. It provided a great opportunity for both our Qld membership and the Merger Working Group to better understand the forces at play. I am confident that a mutually beneficial outcome will be achieved in the coming months thanks to the Group’s efforts and the contributions of those members who have provided valuable and constructive feedback.

Already we have seen a myriad of likely new names for this new merged entity cross our pages. We have voted our preferences along with all those from the other eight regions that make up our profession in the Asia Pacific. Now we await the outcome on the short list of those that we preferred. Whatever the outcome of this naming exercise, I believe the primary goal is to ensure that we have a united entity that is resolute in its service to its membership, mindful of the expectations of other spatial information practitioners and committed to ensuring excellence in service by the profession to society. With eyes from other industries now looking upon us, we cannot afford not to be united and sitting under a common name.

In Readiness for Celebrating 2009
In the last months many of you have been actively involved in preparations for 2009, a year of celebration and promotion. 2009 marks one hundred and fifty years of contributions of our industry to the economic growth and development of Queensland. The proposed project to erect a network of landmarks around the state depicting accurate GPS coordinates alongside information of our pioneering colleagues has now been submitted to the Queensland Premiers Q150 Funding body. A desired outcome of our proposal is to raise spatial awareness within our communities and to provide recognition to those that helped build the communities within each of our states regions. In December we will learn just how many of the Survey Marks and accompanying signage will be recognised within the 2009 Q150 Celebrations.

For those of you unaware of this proposal, over the past months teams of SSI colleagues, coordinated through your SSI Qld office, have worked towards the Q150 Proposal developed by the SSI Qld Q150 Steering Committee. In addition to recognising our forebears, the program seeks to occupy our young. With our children now enjoying pastimes such as geocaching, modern day orienteering using GPS navigation units, this is an opportunity to landmark into the future and have our children guided by our landmarks. If you have any interest in supporting this upcoming initiative please contact the SSI Qld Office (07 3217 2566) where you will be put in contact with fellow supporters.

New Faces, New Ideas
Over the winter, many of our valued volunteers had to move on or reduce the workload that they carried on your Committees. I would like to personally thank those that have given so much and wish you success for your future endeavors. The response from the membership to fill these vacant places has been overwhelming. I am sure that with the new breed of committed volunteers we can continue on our path of success. I am also sure that this new blood will not only maintain the invigorating pace as experienced in the past but also proactively seek to map the paths we should follow and the services we should extend to our growing throng. Just as in today’s business climate being proactive is essential, and I am confident that we can continue to identify what is required to support and progress our profession (you) into the future. I look forward to our upcoming meetings to discuss and develop plans for maintaining our regions services to its members. None-the-less, we always value feedback, if you have thoughts on how we can better serve you, please inform us. 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 action.

The Institute’s partnership with others is continuing to grow. Queensland business units are now seeing the value of maintaining a professional workforce and for having their agency being seen as supporting their staff’s professional development through the Sustaining Partnership Program. Here, benefits flow mutually when employers and the professional association unite in the common goal of building the capacity of the spatial 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 Institute Central Office (02 6282 2282) or visit the website and click on the ‘Become a Partner’ button.

Help us nurture our profession so it can grow and be strong.

Tom Taranto
Chair, SSI Qld


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