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Chair’s Message – SSI Qld Journal Summer 2009

December 10, 2008

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 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


Chair’s Message – SSI Qld Journal Spring 2008

December 10, 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

Chair’s Message – SSI Qld Journal Jan08

December 7, 2007

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.

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 ( 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.

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 ( 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