Chair’s Message – SSI Qld Journal Summer 2009

Chair’s Message – SSI Qld Journal Summer 2009
From the Chair, Spatial Sciences Institute, Queensland.

Welcome to the 2009 Summer edition of ‘Spatial Science – the magazine of the Spatial Sciences Institute (Queensland Supplement)’ and the start of a year to celebrate. In this message, as many of you are hopefully taking some well earned rest over the festive season and possibly contemplating your New Year resolutions, I would like to look back at the year that was and look forward to the year that will be.

2008 – A year of achievements for SSI Qld
First and foremost, my congratulations and appreciation to our staff and to our fellow colleagues who have worked so hard and volunteered their efforts and skills to make 2008 the success that it was.

Our Young Professionals (YP’s) continue to shine, hosting invaluable events such as the TSExpo for those in the education arena, the Emerging Spatial Technologies event which gave us all a glimpse of the technologies that lie ahead, and the numerous networking and social events that have provided both young and old the opportunity to be invigorated with the positive attitudes that our successors in the spatial industry embody.

Our Towngroup members have also held fast and continued to service those members in our outlying regions. The SSI Qld office recognises that living on the outskirts of the greater populace creates its own challenges and its staff are available to support these valuable members whenever needed.

I congratulate our CPD Committees and staff who have worked tirelessly to provide numerous events to both our membership and other spatial practitioners. These events provide us the opportunity to learn of the many new changes and practices that both bedevil and excite us in our industry. Your commitments to our profession provide us the opportunity to succeed in our workplaces.

I also thank our Commission Committees who are continuing to maintain the well-being of their Commission followers. Whether it be through monitoring Govt Regulations and advising agencies such as the Surveyors Board; developing Certification programs such as that by the Engineering and Mining Commission; or partaking the duties of the GISP-AP Certification Panel who I know have been deluged with applicants over the recent months – your support and commitment is what bonds us and gives us presence within the community. I also include the newly re-formed Qld Spatial Information and Cartography Commission delegates who are currently busy preparing for a significant Institute SI&C Commission event to be held in Brisbane this coming May, I am sure your efforts will be well recognised in the year to come.

Our silent achievers such as the Editorial Committee also have much to be proud of. Not only have they continued to assist those of us who submit content to this Journal, they have also been working with other SSI Regions to re-create our Qld Magazine into one that is now read throughout the whole Asia-Pacific. Special gratitude goes to Meredith (our Qld Regional Executive Officer) who has faithfully taken on the onerous task of coordinating this much bigger and better spatial industry magazine.

Our Spatial Education Advisory Committee have continued to provide input into shaping our children’s school curriculum. Hopefully in times to come there will be many graduates who desire to succeed us and maintain a sustainable spatial industry. The developing Spatial Industry Careers package, which has been progressed by the office, will also highlight to our youth the value of becoming a spatial professional and joining our throng.

As mentioned in the Spring edition, our Regional Spatial Conference was a huge success thanks to the exceptional efforts of our fellow SSI Qld volunteers Office staff on the Organising Committee. A special thank you also goes to the many Companies and Govt Agencies who have continued to show their support for the Institute through their sponsorships and desire to Partner with us. The outcome of the Conference was a positive budget that allows us to provide more services to you our members. Whether it be specific CPD events or representing your views to either Government or Industry, we are now on a stronger footing to provide these services for you.

Not all has been as successful as one would have hoped though. As your Chair I have learned an important lesson during the past year – we must always be vigilant and continue to strive to do our best. At last years Spatial Industry’s Gala event, the Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards (APSEA), our strong contingent of Queensland achievers were mostly outdone by our more western colleagues, my commiserations to those that came a close second place. Queensland can be proud of the finalists who went forward to the APSEA judging, and for the enormous efforts they put in to win our QSEA awards.

The lesson learned however, was that we must always be ready to put forward those whom we believe have achieved a betterment for our industry. We need to continually recognise our achievers, doing so invites others to achieve better and so put us in good standing for the next round of Spatial Excellence Award ceremonies in mid year. I encourage all members to think about those among them who do an outstanding job in their own field, and who support our invaluable network of spatial science professionals. They deserve your nomination for their efforts in future QSEA and APSEA events. Look about you and inform the SSI Qld Office of those colleagues whose work you have pride in.

The proposed new Institute
Over the past five years the SSI Qld Region has grown strong in the solidarity of the professions that make up the Spatial Sciences and our commitment to one another. Today SSI Qld maintains nearly a third of the entire SSI membership and is a significant contributor to the well-being of the Institute as a whole. Unfortunately fellow SSI Regions have not been so fortunate with unity of the professions as decreed in the 2001 Spatial Action Agenda. For them it has been difficult to provide the services that are available to you here in Qld. However, there is light. The efforts of the SSI/ISA Merger Working Group over the last year and the now mutual desire for unity has brought us the opportunity to complete the unification process that has drained so many.

Already a name for the proposed new Institute has been democratically agreed – the ‘Surveying and Spatial Information Sciences Institute’. To some of you, this may be seen as a step back, but to me this is seen as an opportunity, an opportunity not only to unite and grow, but importantly an opportunity to effectively promote ourselves to our communities and to outreach into other industry sectors. Over the years I have been all too often at pains to describe just what the Spatial Sciences are about. With a new Institute name that explicitly links the traditional and well known term surveying with the futuristic term spatial sciences, not only do we gain quick recognition of whom we represent, we also gain anticipation of what lies ahead within this thing called the spatial sciences. It is an opportunity to more effectively communicate the directions from which we have come and the directions which we see our industry going. It is an opportunity to both gain the respect from our communities for what we have achieved and the excitement from our youth for what can be achieved in the future.

The proposed Institute’s governance, finance and membership models have also progressed and formed our proposed structure. Mostly they take from what has been the success of the SSI and makes us stronger. I recommend you continue to provide input to the merger group on matters that you believe will progress our unity. Doing so ensures that the best can be achieved for all.

Not only is such a name purposeful for communicating to the general community and a Institute structure an important edifice for us to build upon. As noted in November’s Communiqué to Members – The value of a “Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute” will be recognised by a single voice to government, a single member of international associations and a single entity for service delivery to its members. The cost of unity has been compromise. The cost of non-unity will be the continuation of discipline based organisations who will continue to struggle to adequately service the breadth of membership within the industry. A strong and unified Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute will continue to grow and will be able to plan confidently for its future whilst simultaneously catering for the needs of all the specialties and disciplines encompassed by our industry. I personally fully support these statements and put to you the value of a strong professional body to support your views to decision-makers has significant benefits for both you and your staff, both now and into the future.

In the coming month you will be asked to vote on whether or not the merger should proceed. I recommend you put an end to this disunity. Whatever the new Institute is, it must be resolute in its solidarity.

2009 – A year to unite and celebrate
Soon you will be informed of the outcome of our proposal to the Queensland Premiers Office to partake in the Queensland 150 Year celebrations. During August 2008, many of you were actively involved in preparations for 2009, a year of celebration and promotion of our purpose in the Spatial Sciences to Queensland and the world.
To recap, 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 surveying colleagues, has now been submitted to the Queensland Premiers Q150 Funding body. A desired outcome of our proposal was to raise spatial awareness within our communities and to provide recognition to those that helped build the communities within each of our state’s regions. In the coming weeks you will be informed 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, last year teams of SSI colleagues, coordinated through your SSI Qld office and the Q150 Steering Committee, Chaired by Past Surveyor General Dr Neil Divet, worked towards the Q150 Proposal. In addition to recognising our forbearers, the proposal seeks to occupy our young. With our children now enjoying pastimes such as geo-caching (modern day orienteering using GPS navigation units), this is an opportunity to both landmark our contributions into the future and outreach to our children, guiding them with our landmarks. If you have any interest in supporting this upcoming initiative some time during 2009 please view the Project’s wikispace at http://spatialsciences.wikispaces.com/q150works and contact your local SSI Qld Q150 project organiser. Else you may contact the SSI Qld Office (07 3217 2566) directly where you will be put into contact with fellow supporters in your area.

A time to network

Issues within our economy may provide some of us some breathing space during the year. If you find yourself with some downtime, I suggest you take the opportunity to step closer to your fellow practitioners and professionals, to learn from one another, to appreciate our fellowship and to network and strengthen relations. During the recent G20 Summit hosted by the US President, George Bush stated how in similar economic slumps, protectionism, collectivism and defeatism are a constant challenge. I suggest it is no better a time to build relations, to learn how to work together, to become both more efficient and effective.

I suggest we should take the opportunity of a slowdown to build alliances with spatial practitioners in related industries such as the engineering and environmental sectors, not only to reach out to potential members but also to create recognition and awareness of our profession.

If you consider now is the time to reach out to others and have any suggestions on what can be done in your locality to achieve them, then either contact me directly or the SSI Qld office.

In closing, I recall a tested saying for when times get tough – ‘together we stand, divided we fall’. Within the spatial sciences we are privileged to have a number of intricately linked disciplines that are both fundamental to society and reliant on one another through our common chain of supply. We are privileged to have many other professionals with whom we can share our experiences. I, for one, say now is the time for us to unite and grow stronger.

Wishing each of you the successes you wish to achieve during this year of celebration.

Tom Taranto
Chair, SSI Qld

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