SSSI Queensland Conference Recap – Spatial Innovation for Future Generations

October 31, 2018

Tony Proust, President of ISNSW, gives has kindly given SSSI a recap of his thoughts after attending our SSSI Qld Conference - Spatial Innovation for Future Generations, which was held in Brisbane on 23-24 August 2018.

Tony Proust, President of ISNSW

SSSI Queensland Conference – Spatial Innovation for Future Generations

I travelled to Brisbane recently to attend the annual SSSI QLD conference having been invited to attend when I met some SSSI QLD representatives at LOCATE in Adelaide earlier in the year.

It is important that our Institution develops, maintains and fosters good relations with our related industry bodies and attending the Brisbane conference is clearly in our Institutions and members interests.

I arrived at the conference late on the first day having first met with Murray Fox the Secretary of CRSBANZ who is based in Brisbane. We discussed a variety of matters including the latest attempt by RICS to trademark the term ‘Charted Surveyor’ and the suggestion that we as a profession might seek to gain Masters Recognition for the registration/licensed surveyor process. Watch this space on both these matters.

The second and last day of the conference began with Mark Hickey opening the day’s proceedings. Given the political shenanigans going on in Canberra that same week, culminating in the dumping of Malcolm Turnbull as PM, it was fascinating to be in Queensland, well clear of the Canberra political bubble, to appreciate how the average Australian might have viewed the whole sorry proceedings.

This conference, in the magnificent Brisbane City Hall,  is a new event for Queensland surveyors and spatial scientists and it’s a positive sign that the wider profession is working together for the benefit of us all.

 Steven Jacoby began the presentations, after a hic-up with his PowerPoint -  Ready or not Four Spatial Disruptions coming our way which include:

  1. Moves to a numeric cadastre – (a coordinated cadastre?) – my comments in brackets.

  2. Moving from 2D to 3D – (and in the future 4D perhaps?) – my comments in brackets.

  3. Growth of position technology and a dynamic datum

  4. Moving towards augmented and mixed reality

Much of the existing cadastre does not align well with the existing photogrammetric data, which as NSW surveyors know, is well illustrated in the SIX mapping in NSW. The Cross River rail project in Brisbane is a case in point. Queensland is working with NSW and Victoria to develop a modern numeric national cadastre as we are moving past a time when such a matter is strictly state based. These days we must consider the management of the cadastre from a national perspective. Reliable survey data is essential to underpin major infrastructure projects such as the Cross River rail which is the number one infrastructure project in Queensland  in 2018.

We have seen many examples to date illustrating the journey from 2D to 3D not least the extraordinary development of the technology behind modern gaming. This trend is leading us into artificial intelligence and augmented reality which is developing rapidly.

We know that the Federal Government is investing heavily into GNSS and related positioning technology which will create huge opportunities for the surveying and spatial professions. Augmented, virtual and mixed reality will provide a new tool set using data which is already available to better illustrate and document our cities – above and below ground – to allow us to better and more efficiently develop as we go forward.

The issue with disruption is that it’s unpredictable – as illustrated by the PP hic-up earlier – but we have to go with the disruption, whatever it is, as best we can. We cannot stop or avoid disruptions. We have to view disruptions as an opportunity, whether it’s in the work place, your private life or in the day to day. If we don’t embrace the disruptions that are coming we will be left behind.

The next presentation was one of the most interesting I have seen for a while.  Stefan Hrabar, Principal Research Scientist with the CSIRO who has been working with drone technology for some years. Stefan is not a surveyor but is working in the robotics and UAV space and in particular the Hovermap Project. The Hovermap allows above ground and below ground mapping using AI and utilising collision avoidance and autonomous exploration by drones or UAVs. Often in GPS denied environments such as mines or under large concrete structures, particularly in places where it is too dangerous, or too expensive, for humans to venture. In particular, this technology has huge advantages for mine surveyors. This technology is faster, cheaper and safer while delivering better quality data. Hovermap uses ‘way point navigation’  in a GPS denied environment, such as an underground mine, where the drone is completely autonomous, often going out of contact and out of sight of the operator who is waiting in a safe place monitoring the proceedings with a laptop. It is extraordinary. Hovermap has been tested in mines in Australia and overseas and we should expect to hear more about this exciting technology very soon.

Michelle Brooks who is known well to NSW and Victorian surveyors, gave a revealing update on the success of the Surveying Taskforce and the Life Without Limits website. We now have solid evidence of the success of the program in both Victoria and NSW. It is good see that Queensland is getting involved with the Surveying Taskforce as well.

The next speaker was Anthony Schmidt from the Surveyors Trust, an organisation I knew little about. The Trust is a vibrant community of surveying and spatial professionals who work together as a collective, pooling the copyright royalties they receive from the sale of the plans they develop. The pooled funds are invested in capital and education projects to achieve recognition and sustainability for the surveying and spatial industry. Approximately 80% of Queensland surveyors are members and the Trust is going from strength to strength. NSW surveyors could learn from this example of  collective professionalism.

Todd Morschel from Land Solution Australia presented on “Utilisation of Geospatial Technologies is not the Death of the Surveyor’. An architect sees a laser scanner as technology which will complement the work of a surveyor, not replace the surveyor. Surveyors are the data collection professionals who can, and do, use technologies to innovate, to find new and more efficient ways to value add and find faster, cheaper and sometimes safer ways to collect data and provide spatial solutions to complex problems. The surveying profession is not under threat, or dying. So long as we surveyors keep up with the developing technologies, as we have done in the past, and continue to innovate and learn to deal with the disruptions that will inevitably cross our paths, we will survive and hopefully prosper into the future.

The closing session was led by Karen Joyce, Senior Lecturer and Spatial Scientist from James  Cook University who flies drones and teaches the next generation of spatial scientists. In the remote sensing courses, currently at University, the gender balance is about 50/50 but , as Karen said, when you look around this conference, you see too few woman. Karen put out a call to all woman to get into science. We know that we need more woman in STEM and surveying in particular and it’s good to hear such a call, as we did at this conference.

This was the first surveying and spatial science conference I have attended north of the Tweed, which I appreciated immensely and I hope it will not be the last. As you might know I enjoy train travel so I travelled back to Newcastle on the train. It was not as fast as the flight north but infinitely more enjoyable.

Tony Proust

President ISNSW

To view Conference Program click here.
To view Conference Photos click here.




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