SSSI Young Professionals News – December 19

November 30, 2019 | Young Professionals
Chair Report – Roshni Sharma

What a year it’s been! Boy, am I ready for some down-time over the holiday period, and simultaneously so excited for 2020!

It’s been an amazing journey this year, with so many great initiatives coming to life. We’ve had the SSSI National Young Professionals Mentoring Program with almost 400 applicants and over 200 graduates, and the monthly career development webinar series with the highlight being the four-part series held in conjunction with ICSM and GA with Nicholas Brown that had over 1,000 registrations and participants. We have also broadened and deepened our relationships with tertiary institutions across Australia with almost 100 links to academics, and our efforts in consolidating communications to keep our members informed has seen our monthly GeoMessages and YP Newsletters strengthen alongside relevant articles in Position Magazine. We have also had some fantastic national events, including the Young Professionals Symposium at Locate19, a full day of YP activities at the South East Asia Survey Congress, and two fantastic White Papers based on each of these.

As 2019 is wrapping itself up, we have been busy (before we all get caught up in the silly season) doing strategic planning and preparations for what is set to be a year full of fireworks taking us higher and further. With a clearer understanding of what each of our committee members is passionate about and skilled in, we have plans to take our relationship with Universities and TAFEs to another level, showcasing the ways that we can offer value to students in an accessible and approachable way, helping them prepare for entry into industry and to get their foot in the door. We are also planning delightful ways to level up the mentoring program, digging deeper into the skills shortages and how to help our professionals and graduates to perform at world-class levels. We have plans to create new ways for students, graduates, early-career and mid-career young professionals to build their networks in ways that are easier and less scary to do, and look forward to revamping the way we do our events and webinars to really hit home with relevant and inspiring content.

As the year comes to an end, we are sad to see one of our longstanding and active members, Jason Heritage from Victoria, step down. Jason has been absolutely invaluable to the National Young Professionals for many years, contributing with quality ideas and endless enthusiasm paired with valuable critical thinking skills and most recently a huge contribution to the automation of the SSSI National Young Professional Mentoring Program. Jason, we are very grateful for the time, effort, hard work and dedication you have put in during your time with the National Young Professionals, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you with us, and we wholeheartedly wish you all the very best in the future!

We are also temporarily farewelling another one of our members, Briallen Hall, who will be on maternity leave from January - Briallen, we wish you all the very best, and hope you’re getting some sleep in while you can! We very much look forward to your return, and wish you and your family all the very best!

With change the only constant in life, we are also delighted to welcome some new members into the SSSI National Young Professionals committee and to our regional Young Professionals committees, with Nelson Kuna joining us in QLD/TAS (as he transitions jobs), Haifi Al-Haifi in TAS, Madhavi Shankarling and Donny Darmawan in NSW. We are also very grateful for the involvement of Frazer Wilson and Oscar So from VIC and Sam Holt and Marcio da Silva from SA, and the ongoing involvement, support and great ideas from Nicholas Brown from ACT, Dan Reimers from NT, Michael Topp from QLD and Sam Fulton from SA.

The committee is always open to submissions from the community on things that we could do better, feedback on past events, ideas for new events, or anything that might make the YPs better than ever. Please send an email to

Upcoming Events
SSSI National Young Professionals Career Development Webinar Series: Fisherman's Bend Digital Twin

Tuesday 4 Feb 2020 | 12:00 - 1:00pm (AEDT) | Register now

Join us for the first of SSSI Young Professionals webinars for 2020!

Dr Davood Shojaei will be presenting on the Fisherman's Bend Digital Twin. A digital twin is a digital representation of the real world. This project will enable creation of 4D modelling of a physical asset’s design and condition (above and underground), including precise location and legal boundaries, enabling better decision-making about how to manage current and future infrastructures.

Event Highlights
Webinars Series: Upgrades to Australian Geospatial Reference System

The Australian Government has committed $225m to Geoscience Australia to provide 5-10 cm accurate positioning to anyone, anytime, anywhere in Australia by 2023. This is a significant improvement from the 5-10 m accuracy you can currently achieve using GPS enabled devices.

The YPs partnered with ICSM to present this highly successful four part webinar series, with over 1700 people registered, to explore the changes that are coming our way and how to navigate them most effectively for your business. The recordings can be accessed for free at any time of your convenience from the SSSI ECPD page.

VIC YP Mentoring Graduation 

This event celebrated the graduation of 19 Mentors and 28 Mentees located in Victoria from the SSSI National Young Professionals Mentoring Program 2019. It was great to see so many smiling faces as they received their certificate before the group enjoyed some refreshments and lively conversation. Everyone was grateful to be a part of the program and would like to see it continue next year. Thank you to C.R.Kennedy for sponsoring the program nationally, and the Victorian Regional Committee and the University of Melbourne for the local support of the program and provision of facilities, and most of all to all of the Mentors and Mentees for connecting and taking the time and putting in effort throughout the whole program.

NSW/ACT YP Graduation Event

It was a fantastic evening coming together to celebrate the achievements of the NSW and ACT mentors and mentees in the 2019 mentoring program among food and drink. There were some great narratives shared by both mentors and mentees about their experiences, as well as some very useful feedback that will be used to broaden the scope of next year’s mentoring program. We are always very grateful for the support of the NSW regional committee, and to the event sponsors Macquarie University and C.R. Kennedy.

SA Mentoring Graduation Event

They had a great showing for the South Australian SSSI YP graduation event at the ESRI offices in the city with mentors and mentees represented from the private sector, public and academic areas of GIS and surveying. Attendees mingled and chatted for the first half hour before listening to a presentation from local YP representatives. They reviewed the positive feedback and the statistics from the National group, summarised some of the big take aways from the written feedback and finished with a round-table discussion on ideas for improvement after a quick word from sponsors C.R. Kennedy.

A few mentors expressed the benefit that they perceived with the face-to-face meetings and how the mentorship has led to a lasting friendship. They would like to see how the reviews compared for people who met face to face vs remotely.

Another mentor suggested a 3rd stream that could be potentially titled, 'Start-Up GIS' or something along those lines. For the young professionals who are interested in honing and applying their skillsets for the private sector in a start up environment. I joked that he might find his next business investment with some quality mentees in that stream.

A mentee expressed their gratitude for having a quality mentor who was able to listen to his progression in the final weeks of his thesis project and provide sage advice.

All mentees agreed it was through a diversity of opinions and development of the skills in the topics covered that we are to build a strong industry here in SA. We had an excellent evening with delicious snacks and beverages provided in the ESRI offices. We ended the night with a round of applause for Imogen, who we could not thank enough.

Qld Mentoring Graduation Event

A small group of mentees and mentors, as well as members of the Queensland Regional Committee, came together at the Regatta Hotel at the end of November to celebrate the end of the 2019 mentoring program. Mentees gave very positive feedback on their experience with the program and mentors also appreciated the opportunity to pass on some words of wisdom!

Locate20 Travel Grant competition launched!

See here for more details and to apply before Friday 13 March 2020!

Geospatial and surveying young professionals often possess great technical aptitude but take time to develop and understanding of some of the intangible skills that lead to business success - the power of networks, the value of continuing professional development to benefit their business, and personal branding to become ambassadors for their workplace.

Attending national conferences such as SSSI’s Locate20 can be a life-changing experience for young professionals, helping them to better understand the industry they are entering, to find out about cutting edge research and technology, and to meet industry leaders. However, the cost of registration, travel and accommodation prohibits many from attending. Workplaces often prefer to fund more experienced professionals to attend.

Large professional development events like Locate are an opportunity for young professionals to be inspired by the industry they are joining and to become more engaged with it, building their leadership capabilities.

SSSI, championed by our Young Professionals Group, is hoping to support five young professionals to attend Locate20 in Brisbane on 28 - 30 April 2020.

Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards 2019 - Regional Young Professional Awardees

This year, we’ve had a number of SSSI young professional members take out regional awards at the APSEAS - and we’d like to celebrate them!

Sam Fulton - Young Professional of the Year South Australia


Sam Fulton has shown dedicated continuous improvement in both his own professional development and ensuing his workplace and colleagues benefitted on an on-going basis. He has shown leadership in his workplace, taking on a training role and mentoring work experience students and been recognised for driving new innovations with a constant push to use transformative technology to increase services. He has single-handedly led projects to implement digital capital works programmes and interfaces that are transforming team operations. The impact of this work has seen his role to transform from a new, limited position within an assets team to one that is now responsible for all organisational spatial data, a direct reflection of his impact and leadership.

Sam has volunteered tirelessly in university outreach programmes, facilitating events for SSSI and the Australian Institute of Traffic Planning and Management YP networks and acts as Chairman for the SSSI SA Young Professionals and as a SID committee membe

Frazer Wilson - Young Professional of the Year Victoria

Frazer is one of a handful of Bushfire Behaviour Analysts in Victoria and the youngest to achieve such a qualification. He draws strongly on his spatial skills in this role and has been instrumental in the development of the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan for Victoria. He is often called on to provide briefings to senior politicians in critical bushfire events. Despite a busy professional life, he still finds time to make significant contributions to the profession through the SSSI, as Chair of the Young Professional for 3 years, champion of the mentoring program and as a member of the Locate 19 organising committee.

David Kelly - Young Professional of the Year Victoria

David has taken on significant technical leadership roles at Jacobs, where the depth and breadth of his expertise has made him the ‘go to’ person in the Australian offices for technical spatial advice. His influence extends beyond the local domain, as a key player in many of Jacobs regional and international teams covering GIS Community of Practice and Asset Information Management. He has also been an active contributor to the SSSI, as Victorian Chair of the Spatial Information and Cartography Commission, national representative on the SICC Committee and organiser of the GIS Breakfast seminars.

Andrew Campbell - Undergraduate Student of the Year Victoria


For his final year major project, Andrew Campbell took a dive into deep-learning, exploring the combination of Google Maps Streetview product with Tensorflow’s Object Detection System to automatically detect and locate “Stop” and “Give Way” signs in Streetview images, with a view to using this information to update asset databases with the correct location and condition of the signs. The work was of such a high standard that it was accepted as a refereed publication in the journal Computers, Environment and Urban Systems.

Roshni Sharma - Young Professional of the Year NSW

Roshni Sharma is a true role model for the Australian geospatial industry and many young professionals globally. She has a strong and extensive network of young professionals around the world, which she seeks to assist and collaborate with, and an array of mentors amongst industry leaders. She has become an integral and valued member of SSSI/SIBA organising committees for national conferences such as Locate19, Locate20 and SEASC2019. Roshni has founded and led the SSSI National Mentoring Program, a free and accessible program that provides students, graduates and working professionals the chance to be paired with mentors to gain career pathway visibility, soft skills and intergenerational exchange of knowledge, skills and experience. Alongside this, she has collaborated with industry organisations such as ICSM to deliver a GDA2020 webinar series with over 1000 registrants, many face-to-face networking and technical events, and united regional and national SSSI Young Professionals with a structured strategic plan. Roshni has contributed greatly to a number of projects within SSSI in championing young professionals in the Australian geospatial industry. Roshni has been an outstanding champion for professional education, especially in regarding to her hard work for the SSSI mentoring program and webinar series.

SSSI National Young Professionals Committee Spotlight

This month we are highlighting our newest SSSI National Young Professional committee member, Nelson Kuna from Queensland.

Nelson graduated top of year 2010 Bachelor of Geophysical Sciences from The Southampton University School of Ocean and Earth Sciences, National Oceanography Centre. After two years working offshore conducting geophysical, hydrographic, geotechnical and environmental surveys for the oil, gas and renewable energy industry he moved to Australia. Since then he has been working nearshore and inland in support of coastal management, engineering, safety of navigation, dredging, ports and harbours most notably for the Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads, Maritime Safety Queensland Hydrographic Services.

Nelson is interested in Maritime Operations and through the course of his work has achieved a Coxswain Grade 1 Near Coastal Commercial Vessel License. As an active member of SSSI Nelson has represented the Hydrography and YPs commissions at several events and is passionate about raising the profile of our industry and engaging the new generation of professionals. His personal goals include continuing to produce high quality, professional work and attain Level 1 Specialist Certification in Hydrography. He is excited to start a new role soon at CSIRO based in Hobart, Tasmania and onboard the RV Investigator where he looks forward to a return to larger scale seafloor mapping, scientific research and contributing to mapping the vast Australian marine estate and worlds ocean floor.

Other News
Contribute to making surveying tertiary education better

Would you like to help the Curtin Bachelor of Surveying (BSurv) course become better? The questionnaire aims to gain an overview of (a) What do people think is important to know to perform daily work as a surveyor? and (b) What do people see as necessary to cover in a surveying course in the future? Provide some ideas or feedback here before December 8.

Hints, Tips & Resources (and just some fun!)


Warm regards

Roshni Sharma
Chair, Young Professionals | Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI)
T:  +61 2 4950 5322 | M: +61 (0)407 757 756
75 York Street, Teralba, NSW 2284  |

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