SSSI SICC News - April 2019

March 29, 2019


NATIONAL Chair Report

National SICC Chair -  Kerry Smyth GISP-AP

In April many celebrate graduations, awards and achievements.  We often look ahead for new challenges and opportunities as the year unfolds.  For some International Women’s Day can bring a focus on the challenges and opportunities that diversity offers us professionally.  The Spatial Information and Cartography Commission has a particular interest in diversity leadership, being the commission with the widest range of gender, age and cultural diversity across SSSI.  Logistically our activities are entwined with the WIS, YPs and support travel grants for cultural exchange.

The SI&C Commission is open to hear from you about diversity issues and seeks to influence at a National level access to leadership opportunities for all our professionals.  We are here to influence the national agenda and need your feedback and support. 


I am very pleased to advise we have finalised the details for the SSSI Spatial Information and Cartography Commission events taking place during Locate19.

Planning Resilient Communities: Actionable Geospatial Data and Tools to Protect Our Climate Future
Monday 8 April 2019  10.30am – 3.30pm

In this workshop, presented by 2019 URISA Exchange Delegate and CEO, Planning Communities (USA), Teresa Townsend, participants will identify ways in which they can work with their local communities and organisations to provide leadership in identifying data, gaps, collection and analysis needs and tools as well as resiliency related targets and measures. Topics will include effects of climate change and sea level rise, clean energy, emergency management, asset management, vulnerable communities and social equity, community redevelopment, healthy communities, economic considerations and environmental aspects. For more information and to register, please visit the SSSI Events page.

Spatial Information & Cartography Commission Open Meeting & Networking
Wednesday 10 April 2019  12.20 – 1.10pm

Join the SICC Committee and Teresa Townsend (URISA) during the conference lunch break on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing modernisation of our industry and how SSSI and SICC can facilitate it.  Open to members and non-members of SSSI who are attending Locate on Wednesday, just turn up, have some lunch and participate in the discussion! We would love to hear your challenges and ideas, while sharing our thoughts. For more information, see the SSSI Events page.

Fulbright Scholarship Awardees - 2019

The largest cohort of Australian-American Fulbright Scholars in 70 years were announced during a ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra on Thursday 28 February, as the Fulbright Commission continues to expand its program of exchange scholarships.

Special congratulations to recipients in the spatial sciences field:

Dr Renee Bartolo - Senior Scholar will be hosted by National UAS Project Office, United States Geological Survey


Dr Sajeda Tuli - Postdoctoral Scholar will be hosted by Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science, University of Illinois


For more details



summary of committee meeting 

The main agenda items at the March SICC National Committee meeting were:

  • Certification Review: Progress and feedback
  • Social Media Cartography Campaign Proposal (Map of the Month)
  • General meeting at Locate19 Email to all members
  • URISA Workshop at Locate 19



member Highlights

SICC Members in running for National APSEA Individual Awards

Congratulations to the following high achieving SICC members who have received individual awards within their states at the 2018 Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards.  They’re all in the running for the National level APSEA awards this month at Locate19.  We wish them luck!! Read about these professionals and their achievements below.

Professional of the Year Award Finalists

Mr Noel Ward (ACT)
Noel is a founder member of SSSI. Prior to joining Jacobs (formerly SKM) in 1997, Noel was involved with the delivery of Australia’s Antarctic mapping program and managing the Australian Surveying and Land Information Group’s (AUSLIG) delivery of that program for Australian Antarctic Division. Noel has held numerous leadership roles linked to Spatial Information and has led and managed a diverse team of spatial professionals working across all lines of business including Defence, Resources, Environment and Transport Infrastructure. Noel’s inclusive and collaborative leadership style empowered his team members to become effective leaders within Jacobs and in the Australian spatial profession. Noel has and continues to actively contribute to industry development through his involvement in the Institution of Surveyors Australia and now the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute.

Mr Paul Farrell (WA)
Paul is a high achiever and this is reflected in the success of NGIS, the company he owns and manages, in gaining unique and high profile partnerships with Esri and Google and also being one of the most awarded spatial business in the Asia Pacific Region.  He is incredibly active in the spatial industry through many prominent roles that promote the value of spatial technology to the wider community and influence the direction of research and development.  Paul is clearly well respected by his peers through his sustained contribution to the spatial industry over many years and this has been significant in lifting the status of the profession.

Ms Mary-Ellen Feeney (NSW)
Mary Ellen is a global leader for GIS in a very large multinational corporation, with over 20 years of experience in the spatial industry. She is an active member and leader of various spatial professional communities since 1998, serving SSSI, SIBA and BOSSI in various leadership roles. She was selected as a female leader in STEM for the Homeward Bound development program. The judges commented that building stronger ties between surveying and the broader spatial disciplines is an area where both sides of the equation can reap benefits and congratulated Mary-Ellen for her efforts in fostering this.

Education Development Award Finalist

Dr Paul Corcoran (SA)
Through the University of South Australia School of Natural and Built Environment, Paul has guided many undergraduate and post-graduate students using modern teaching and mentoring techniques.   Paul continues to show great passion for supporting our future professionals, engaging them with the SSSI from their first day of undergraduate study. Through his efforts he has been able to cross-promote and encourage study in the Geospatial Sciences through the wide variety of programs that the School of Natural and Built Environment offers. Paul has encouraged and facilitates collaboration between universities to ensure students at UniSA have access to the best possible resources on topics where the expertise resides elsewhere.

Young Professional of the Year Award Finalist

Mr Nikolaas Kostraby (NSW)
Nikolaas is a passionate, driven and highly self-motivated young professional currently working as a Manager, Spatial Sciences and Design, with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment - influencing planning with spatial science. He is an active member of the spatial community and currently sits on the National SSSI SICC Committee. The judges felt that Nikolaas consistently goes above and beyond to upskill team members, managers and increase capability of those he interacts within the industry and was a worthy winner.

Postgraduate of the Year Award Finalist

Dr Marie Truelove (VIC)
Marie’s research was original and a topic of great relevance to current public debate. The research demonstrated a broad range of technical skills - the thesis applies natural language processing techniques, interpretation of verbal references to locations, spatial reasoning with geotags, bags-of-word machine learning approaches to image processing, and a Dempster-Shafer model to combine the collected evidence. The research is a contribution of the spatial sciences to information technology, data analytics and artificial intelligence. 

Postgraduate Student Award Finalist

Mr Kenneth Tsang (NSW)
Kenneth's thesis focussed on improving public transport reliability which has long been a challenge faced by transport planners. The objective was to provide a flexible dataset for analysis and research into bus traffic modelling, congestion and service reliability. The judges commented that Kenneth’s research is able to be applied to other cities without the need for redevelopment, saving time and money. This can be combined with demographic data and there will be real potential for improving public transport to end users.

Women’s Leadership Award Finalist

Mary-Ellen Feeney (NSW)

Mary-Ellen is Asia Pacific Technical Director of GIS at Jacobs, and a passionate advocate for STEM education, who is actively involved in promoting women in the surveying and spatial information professions. Mary-Ellen is an absolute powerhouse for advocating diversity and inclusion, promoting the spatial & surveying industry and actively being involved in championing change for women in those industries and the judges said she was well deserving of this award being actively involved in so many aspects of the spatial industry and showcasing women in leadership within this industry.

Certified Professionals

Our certified professional feature profile this month is on Ross Friend.

Ross Friend (GIS-AP) has worked in the spatial industry for fifteen years, covering both asset management and transport infrastructure delivery with both local and state government organisations. Ross currently works in a small GIS team within the Department of Transport and Main Roads to deliver spatial solutions and services for the management, planning and construction of transport nfrastructure.

Ross is a firm believer that spatial information is a key component to support evidence-based asset management decision making and strives continuously to enhance the visibility and accessibility of spatial information across the organisation.

Ross achieved certification in 2018.

New Members

SICC welcomes the following new members have joined SSSI during March.

  • Benjamin Johnston – Member (Vic)
  • Paul Farrell – Member (WA)
  • Jack Green – Member (WA)
  • Jeffrey Ramos Member (Vic)
  • Filomena Losi – Student (Vic)


EVENT Highlights


Homeward Bound Program – Returns Value

I had the privilege to hear a presentation and talk with Mary-Ellen Feeny at the SSSI-WA International Womens Day Event at Perth’s new Optus Stadium.  The Homeward Bound program is a leadership program, framed in the context of equity, sustainability and science, set against the backdrop of Antarctica. 

SSSI provided sponsorship towards Homeward Bound, which aims to empower a network of 1000 scientific women across the globe over 10 years with the leadership skills and knowledge to drive sustainable change.

In my view SSSI has received great ROI from this initiative.  Mary-Ellen shared with me her engagement program as a STEM Ambassador over the last year; this included more than 40 presentations, podcast interviews, media release, news and blog articles.  This benefited a target audience including, SSSI, Spatial Industry groups and the wider community.



Events Coming Up 

SSSI SICC related events 




8-10 /4/2019


Locate 2019 Conference in Melbourne



Planning Resilient Communities: Actionable Geospatial Data and Tools to Protect Our Climate Future



Spatial Information & Cartography Commission Open Meeting & Networking

Other Events

ICC 2019 Tokyo  - Tokyo, Japan, from 15 to 20 July 2019 
SSSI is an Affiliate Member of the International Cartographic Association. Important dates:
​- Call for entries for the Barbara Bartz Petchenik Children’s World Map Competition Closes 1 May 2019 ( (ICA Commission for Cartography & Children and
- Call for nominations for the General Assembly  principal delegate and a deputy delegate before 31 May 2019.



Spatial Source Media

Spatial Source is Australia and New Zealand's web site for the geospatial surveying, GIS and mapping community. Click here to visit Spatial Source. 

Recent News – Back Issues

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


Editorial Team – Acknowledgements

Georgie Cassar (lead), Raelene Forbes, Kerry Smyth


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