Spatial Information & Cartography News - June 2020

May 31, 2020
Committee Meeting Report

The May meeting of the National Spatial Information & Cartography Commission Committee covered the following :

  • Discussion and agreement around the nomination of a new member for the  GISP-AP assessment panel.
  • Discussion around the Oceania OpenStreetMap Foundation possibly forming a local chapter in Australia and how SSSI would benefit from a relationship with this group.
  • Agreement on a process for promoting SICC members through the publication of a monthly profile in GeoMessage.

SICC members shine at APSEALIVE

The Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards were presented late last month via a well-executed Zoom session. All entries into these awards were winners in their category from their own regions. A big congratulations go to the following Spatial Information & Cartography Commission members who received awards in their categories at the oceanic level.

SSSI National YP Committee: SSSI President's Award

The SSSI President’s Award was bestowed on the SSSI National Young Professional Committee for their outstanding mentoring program implemented, drawing mentors and mentees from across Australia and overseas in all areas of spatial sciences. This has been one of the most successful recent programs of SSSI. The President also noted the outstanding contribution of YPs in the Mapathon for Bush Fire recovery which was held in early 2020. (Roshni Sharma, Chair of National YP Committee pictured)

Charity Mundava - Women's Leadership Award

Charity Mundava is a passionate Geospatial Scientist professional and researcher. She is a STEM ambassador for the Parramatta electorate and works closely with the Federal member through collaboration with Science Technology Australia in the inaugural STEM Ambassador program. As an early career professional, Charity recognises the impact of visible role models and mentors and has actively mentored in the SSSI Young Professional mentoring Program. She has regularly presented at NSW SSSI CPD-Assessed events and engages in a program of industry-related and research-related continuing professional development. Charity was also a 2019 participant in the Homeward Bound global leadership program for women in STEM.

Stephan Winter - Educational Development Award (Joint Winner)

Over more than 20 years, Prof Winter has developed an international reputation in the field of Spatial Science, an enviable research and publication record and maintained a very high standard of teaching and learning in his courses. As Discipline Leader of Geomatics at the University of Melbourne, he has guided the group through the difficult transition to the Melbourne Model and led the changes in curriculum and introduction of new programs that were required. He continues to advocate strongly for the spatial sciences at all levels of the university and for spatial education more broadly across the community.

Kent Olive - Undergraduate Student Award

Rapid innovation across the space and remote sensing industries, and the proliferation of spatial data, has increased the utility of satellite image classification for forest species mapping. Despite this, the accuracy of remote sensing analysis for tree species classification across Australian native forests remains under examined. Kent’s research implemented an object-based data fusion method to classify spotted gum across plantation and natural forests using high-resolution multispectral satellite imagery and airborne laser scanning. The judges felt that Kent demonstrated great technical knowledge, capability and understanding of spatial data and its application to this research project. They felt his work was of significant benefit to the conservation, forestry and planning sectors.

Check out all the winners from night here.

APSEA 2020 – Regional award nominations open

Feeling inspired by the above? The 2020 Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Award nominations are open for each region.

Information is available from the APSEA website. Nominations close on 31st August.

Member Highlights
SICC Member Profile

Each month we will aim to publish a profile of one of our commission’s valued members. Today, we introduce you to Nicholas Flett!

•  Who are you? Nicholas Flett, I'm 37 and live with my family of 4 in suburban Perth, Western Australia.

•  Where do you work and what's your role? I work at Esri Australia as a Solution Engineering Consultant, designing fit-for-purpose spatial architecture for GIS customers across Australia. I also volunteer with SSSI on the SICC committee and with MAPS-WA as a volunteer emergency services mapper.

•  What drove you to choose a spatial science career? My first experiences with a world atlas at age 5 I asked my dad what the job was to draw maps. He had to research, then came back with Cartographer, the rest as they say is history! Geographic content can be found scribbled all through my schoolbooks from Year 1 to 12 and beyond.

•  What is a memorable moment you can share from your experience? Working on the Farmlands Water Supply renewal scheme in my time at Water Corporation. It was the first time we had used web mapping to share our capital investment program and helped in sharing some difficult decisions on where to spend a limited budget. I got to share my work with the general public at the Dowerin Agricultural Field Days and even had the pleasure of going out with Kep, the leak-sniffing dog to capture GPS locations along buried pipeline services in the region.

•  What keeps you excited about your chosen profession? Knowing that we really do make a difference - especially with cartography. Quality cartography helps send the right message with the least confusion; taking the time to get it right when creating maps and services can save money, reduce rework and confusion and in some cases truly save lives.

New SICC Members

The SICC Committee welcomes the following new members to SSSI. 

 Ross Jenkins  NSW  Member
 Vaughan Middleton  NSW  Member
Liam Oakwood  VIC  Member
Kelly Stanhope  VIC  Member
Scott Rye  QLD  Affiliate
Wilbur Chaloping  VIC  Associate
Galmandakh Boldbaatar  WA  Student
Todd Lakeman  VIC  Student
Erin Heinrich  NSW  Student
SSSI Events

Despite the cancellation of Locate20 and other face to face seminars, SSSI have continued to provide members with a wide range of CPD opportunities through webinars. The following may be of interest to our SICC members.

Check out the full list of events here.

Did you miss a recent webinar?  Don't worry - you can register for the recording from our eCPD page!

Other Events

Events postponed:

Events still scheduled:

Other News
About Big Data

This month, SSSI asked the question … What is Big Data?  The following looks at big data from a spatial perspective.


Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. But it’s not the amount of data that’s important. It’s what organisations do with the data that matters. Big data can be analysed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.

According to SAS, one of the global leaders in big data explains the importance of big data as follows:

The importance of big data doesn’t revolve around how much data you have, but what you do with it.  You can take data from any source and analyse it to find answers that enable cost reductions, time reductions, new product development and optimised offerings, and smart decision making.

When you combine big data with high-powered analytics, you can accomplish business-related tasks such as:

·       Determining root causes of failures, issues and defects in near-real time
·       Generating coupons at the point of sale based on the customer’s buying habits
·       Recalculating entire risk portfolios in minutes
·       Detecting fraudulent behaviour before it affects your organisation.

So how does this look from a spatial perspective?  When you begin to analyse the data against other layers of information you are able to gain a better understanding of what you are seeing and relate it to the real world, this is particularly prevalent when comparing data with high resolution imagery.

Companies are moving towards using tools such as Micorsoft Power BI to display big data using data analytics and sharing interactive analytics across the organisation and across the globe.  Using this technology combined with location intelligence enables the possibility of real-time data to be displayed in a meaningful and powerful way that enables better situational awareness that previously not been possible to the extent it is today.

An example of combining the spatial power of ArcGIS maps and the big data of Power BI takes mapping beyond the presentation of points on a map to a whole new level.  The combination of authoritative data layers on a map with spatial analysis conveys a deeper understanding of data sets that provides the user with a much deeper visualization that offers a limitless mapping capability, demographic data, and even-more compelling map visualisation to best tell a story.

How are you going to use big data to tell your story?

Other news sources for spatial professionals
Recent News – Back Issues

Missed out on our recent news articles? Click the links below to have a read!

Editorial Team – Acknowledgements
  • Georgie Cassar
  • Angus Scown
  • Robert Campbell
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