CEO's Report July 2018


Peter Olah



Most people have some idea of the work of surveyors, even if ill-defined at times, but “spatial scientists” often draws a blank.

But when I tell them that SSSI is the national institute for Australia’s world-leading and game-changing professionals in land surveying, engineering and mining surveying, cartography, hydrography, remote sensing, spatial information science and 3D? Then the ears start to prick up.

Then, I tell them about the projects – the amazing, revolutionary and increasingly everyday services and products driven by data, in turn driven by SSSI professionals. This is where the conversation usually tends towards “that’s really cool, I didn’t know your members did that!”

Sounds like a first world problem, right? And it is, but it’s a genuine economic and social problem for Australia. We are one of the smartest countries on earth, with incredible technical and innovative capacity in our professions and many others. The list of global fields into which we provide leadership is beyond a short column such as this. But our fellow Australians don’t understand, and those in other countries have no idea.

There are many things we are doing at SSSI to fix this, but there is one way in which you, and your SSSI colleagues, can help right now.

“Brand Australia” is the sum total of how Australia is seen - how our products, services and people are perceived - in our major global markets. And in truth, it’s not a great brand for smart industries and professions. It’s still formed around nearly 40 year old tourism images, sporting prowess and occasional bad sportsmanship, and a loud, can-do approach. Not bad, a bit of a larrikin image still, but not at all representative of what smart Australians do, and how they lead in global industries and professions.

The Federal Government has commenced a detailed consultation process to redefine and relaunch Australia’s Nation Brand, in order to:

…help drive our nation’s competitive edge in international markets. To keep Australia globally competitive – now and in the future – we are developing a nation brand that is applicable to all Australian industries, services and experiences and recognisable globally.

This project is a unifying initiative for the nation and will be an opportunity for businesses to build on Australia’s strong international brand to open international doors and keep them open.

Australia’s Nation Brand will draw on the strengths of business, industry and Government. This is an opportunity for Australian businesses to work together to enhance their international reputation.

You have a chance to contribute online at:

This is an important piece of work for the future of our professional streams in an increasingly globalised professional and project space. Please have your say!


I would like to take this chance to sincerely to thank all of our members for being a part of the institute. We rely on our members' experiences, commitment and feedback to continue to grow and improve. 

Please always feel free to contact us if you have comments on SSSI's activities or your involvement in the Institute.  We love to hear from our members! And if you haven't had the opportunity to renew your membership as yet, we encourage you to do so.  


Peter Olah
Chief Executive Officer
Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI)

Telephone:  +61 7 3371 5059
 Address:  64 Sylvan Road, Toowong, QLD, 4066  |