APSEA 2017


AWARD: Education Development Award
RECIPIENT: Dr. Petra Helmholz 

    Dr. Petra Helmholz receiving the award from    SSSI Boar Director Paul Digney       


Petra Helmholz has a PhD in Photogrammetry and GeoInformation from Leibniz University Hannover, Germany and is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for her research in photogrammetry and laser scanning for heritage mapping, archaeology and engineering applications and underwater photogrammetry and mapping using drones.

Petra co-led a Community Heritage project that used high resolution 3D imaging to survey the wrecks of HMAS Sydney and Kormoran. She also participated in the Curtin Fireballs in the Sky Project to determine the trajectory and impact zone of a Perth sited meteor using photogrammetry.

Petra is Coordinator for the Bachelor of Survey and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Spatial Science, Curtin University. She is highly regarded by her students who say she is a friendly, enthusiastic, engaging, knowledgeable and awesome lecturer.

Petra contributes extensively to SSSI, arranging events that have engaged and contributed to the professional development of the surveying and spatial sciences community.

AWARD: Postgraduate Student Award

Prof Megan receiving the postgraduate student award on behalf of Iffat Ara


Food security is of major national concern in Bangladesh. Iffat’s thesis examines the impact of spatial variability of climate, management practices, and socio-economic variables on food security in the country.

An in-depth review of existing research and policy papers on food security indicates that there is an urgent need and potential for spatially informed policy development in the country.

The results shows that future climate change impact will be rice ecotype specific with distinct spatial differences between the three main ecotypes (Aus, Aman, and Boro). The effect of regional agricultural management factors, particularly irrigation was a stronger determinant of rice yield than climatic variables. Increasing groundwater use for irrigation has contributed to food security, raising questions about future sustainability. Livelihood capitals were also found to influence household food security.

Iffat’s study recommends national policies should account for regional differences and future uncertainties to improve food security regionally in the country.

AWARD: Professional of the Year Award

Mr Dan Paull recipient of Professional of the year


Dan Paull has been CEO of PSMA Australia Limited since 2001.

Dan is a highly influential leader in the geospatial industry – both nationally and internationally. Yet it's Dan's unique ability to apply his vision in a practical sense, while leading and inspiring his team and network that makes him particularly valuable for effecting and responding to change.

Dan has taken his vision for a continent-scale spatial dataset that can support analytics to full commercial scale with Geoscape, while continually exploring opportunities for PSMA – together with partners in the industry – to mature and address market demands.

Dan received a prestigious invitation to Ordnance Survey UK’s Cambridge Conference in July 2017, where his thought leadership was acknowledged in his role as co-chair of a workshop on the relevance and benefit of a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) in 2027.

AWARD: Undergraduate Student Award

Joint winners in the undergraduate student category, Queensland’s Leigh Tingle and New Zealand’s Craig John MacDonnell, with Lewis Walsh of Western Australia receiving a high commendation.

LeighTingle, SSSI Director Franco Rea, Craig MacDonnell and Lewis Walsh

CITATION: Craig MacDonnell

This nomination is for Craig MacDonell to recognize his outstanding achievement and leadership in a mapping project he undertook in the last semester of his Bachelor of Science. As part of a research-led paper on remote sensing technologies and resource mapping, Craig emerged as an exceptional leader of a team of students and a driving force behind the successful completion of the topographic survey of Quarantine Island/Kamau Taurua in Dunedin. In addition, Craig exceeded expectations by characterizing the performance of surveying products derived from Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). Beyond his technical excellence, Craig revealed a talent in dealing with many stakeholders to address logistical, regulatory, safety, and wildlife management issues. This project involved multifaceted public engagement with clients and members of the community, which culminated in a public presentation where Craig received praise, as well as a feature in the Otago Daily Times.

CITATION: Leigh Tingle

The use of affordable rotary Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) technology and the alternative software used to create digital terrain models from UAV images is a recent addition to the industry.

This has created a situation where data sets obtained from a UAV can be sold to third parties containing significant errors that the user has no knowledge of, including systematic errors associated with the use of the system.

Leigh’s research project investigated the legal and practical limitations of the use of the UAV in typical urban environments, conducting two test flights at 15m and 40m above terrain. Thirteen (13) key surfaces were identified and tested to provide an achievable accuracy of the system. A total of 52 data sets were presented and analysed to determine the measurable accuracy of each surface type in various operating conditions.

AWARD: Women’s Leadership Award
RECIPIENT: Patricia Burke

Patricia Burke receiving women's ledership award from SSSI President elect Zaffar Sadiq Mohamed-Ghouse


Patricia Burke is a Principal Lecturer at WA’s North Metropolitan TAFE; she influences the delivery of a trained workforce to the Surveying and Spatial Sciences industry which in turn underpins the WA and Australian economy.

Aspects of the role include improving teaching and learning for students, aligning skills development to industry needs, and managing curriculum standards to meet Australia’s academic and technical requirements.

As one of the few female lecturers in the STEM area Pat is well known as a role model for young female students, many of whom have graduated to become highly effective operators and leaders within the field.

Patricia has made a lasting difference through her leadership in the industrial relations arena. She has overlaid on her lecturing duties a determination to modernize the working conditions for both women and men within the teaching profession, significantly impacting the retention of teachers for advanced technical skills in our workforce.

AWARD: Young Professional of the Year Award
RECIPIENT: Adrian White

Wayne Patterson receiving the award on behalf of Adrian White


Adrian White has over 9 years’ experience in surveying and spatial sciences. Since 2014 he has been a highly valued cadastre programme manager with DFSI Spatial Services, with an additional 6 years spent prior in government based positions.

Adrain is an active and highly valued member of the SSSI, currently serving his second term as Vice Chair of the NSW Region, and actively and enthusiastically engages in regional training and education initiatives.


The recipient of SSSI President's Award: John Minehan
The recipient of SSSI Eminence Award: Professor Stuart Phinn

Professor Stuart Phinn receiving the SSSI Eminence Award following the event.

Lee Hellen receiving the SSSI Eminence Award on behalf of Professor Stuart Phinn


  • GITA Excellence Award: Taylors
  • Dial Before You Dig Award: Energex
  • Award for Environment and Sustainability: Mangoesmapping
  • Award for Innovation and Commercialisation: CSIRO Data61
  • Award for People and Community: AAM and WA Department of Health 
  • Techical Excellence Award: Arup Jacobs Joint Venture
  • Award for Export: Spookfish
  • Spatial Enablement: Esri Australia, Western Australia


  • SIBA Chairman's Award: Phil Delaney 
  • JK Barrie Award: CSIRO Data61