SSSI WA News – December 2019

November 30, 2019



  • Chair Report

  • SSSI WA News and Updates

  • Register Now for Locate20

  • Curtin University needs your feedback!

  • Five Minutes with...  

  • SSSI WA Christmas Closure

  • SSSI WA Representatives


Welcome to the SSSI WA December Geomessage! Firstly, we welcome our recently appointed SSSI WA Chair, Mr Darren Mottolini. 

As the incoming Chair for the WA region of the SSSI I first like to acknowledge and thank Dr. Lesley Arnold for her untiring work in the past two years reshaping the SSSI and the spatial sector here in WA.  Her work along with the fantastic WA committee demonstrates that there are passionate people that will keep striving to have our profession recognised, valued and maintain a  vibrant WA community.

With the new decade approaching, I reflect on the past 10 years since I was last involved on an SSSI committee and recognise the vast amount of change that has happened, both as a professional institute and the world around us. Our profession is a strong one with a rich history yet we cannot wait for history to re-write itself. Technology is changing rapidly as are the industries that our profession services.

I look forward to working with you all to represent the geospatial community and with the wonderful WA SSSI committee we will all work hard to ensure there are new opportunities to learn, network and grow the sector together. 

Darren Mottolini
Chair, SSSI WA


SSSI WA Activities  



SSSI WA and WAIS proudly hosted the 2019 Fellows Dinner on the 21st November, 2019. It was a great evening to catch up with friends and former colleagues. There was a great buzz in the room! 

The Fellows were also treated to a presentation from Geoff Robb, Managing Director, RM Surveys and 2019 APSEA Professional of the Year who discussed his volunteer work and the benefits gained from volunteering. 

Image: 2019 WA Fellows Dinner attendees
WA fellows


Bernard O'Sullivan was conferred as Hon Fellow at the 2019 WA Fellows Dinner. 

Bernard has significantly contributed to the growth and development of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute. He was appointed to the SSSI Board in October, 2013 and was president of the Institute from October, 2015 – November, 2016. He was also Chair of the Engineering and Mining Surveying Commission from 2011 – 2016. 

SSSI WA welcomes Bernie to this very prestigious group. 

Image: Bernard O'Sullivan accepts Hon Fellowship from Tony Snow


SSSI WA memebrs and guests were treated to a Surveyor's tour of Elizabeth Quay, by RM Survey's Managing Director, Geoff Robb. The tour included may sites RM Survey's had worked on within the Elizabeth Quay precinct including the foot bridge, Rotz Carlton site and the new Lot 2 & 3 sites. 

After the tour, the group walked to the SSSI WA office for networking and presentations from Murray Dolling, Landgate and Rachel Chapman, Director, Taylor Burrell Barnett.

More site tours are planned for 2020 - so stay tuned!

Image: From our Site Tour


SSSI WA recently prepared a submission in relation to the regulations that will support the proposed Work Health and Safety Act for Western Australia (WHS Act (WA)).

To view the submission click here


Registrations are now Open for Locate20! 

Exploring the themes Convergence, Collaboration and Community, Locate20 will be held from the 28-30 April, 2020 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. For further event details visit Locate20 

Don't miss out on the Early Bird Registration - REGISTER NOW


The Curtin Bachelor of Surveying (BSurv) course is undertaking a course review. As part of the review and renewal process, the university requires feedback on the current course and its future direction.

The questionnaire comprises two sections, A and B.  Section A is required and only takes 3-5 minutes.  Section B asks more detailed questions but is optional: if you can spare another 5-10 minutes, it would help greatly if you could also complete Section B.  

If you do not feel comfortable answering a question, please leave the field blank. This survey is anonymous.

You will be able to access the survey until Sunday 8 December 2019. 

Please follow the link below to start the survey.

Participation in this survey will contribute to an improved BSurv course at Curtin. Please feel free to forward this email to your members and colleagues.

If you have any questions about the survey – or would like to provide additional feedback, please contact: 

Dr Petra Helmholz
Course Coordinator Bachelor of Surveying (BSurv) Degree at Curtin University
Senior Lecturer | Photogrammetry | Spatial Sciences
School of Earth and Planetary Sciences| Faculty of Science and Engineering
T: 08 9266 3369 

Jon Kirby
Associate Professor
Deputy Head | School of Earth & Planetary Sciences
Discipline Lead | Spatial Sciences
Curtin University
T: 08 9266 7565 



This month we feature two members - SSSI WA's recently appointed Chair, Darren Mottolini and Deputy Chair, Nicholas Flett.

Darren Mottolini is the new Chair of the SSSI WA region and has worked within the sector almost 20 years, exploring how geospatial makes its mark, whether to solve complex challenges, generate new value in non-traditional industries or as an opportunities for new students to study. His background has allowed Darren to work in Government, Academia and in the priviate sector delivering operational improvements, data interoperability infrastructure and decision support frameworks. A mad-keen Dockers supporter he loves technology yet often goes camping away from it all just to disconnect. 

1. Please give us an idea of your professional background
Started life in the computer science field, doing some programming and technical development for ER Mapper. That was my first real taste of the Geospatial world and since then haven’t really looked back. I have completed numerous geospatial training courses, have gone back to uni to do an MBA and now am back at uni slowly getting into a Masters of Development Planning. The one thing that I am grateful for is all the opportunities to learn and teach others about the geospatial sector.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job? 
Currently, I balance two roles at GHD, one as senior data intelligence consultant and the other as digital lead. Both leverage and promote the opportunities a spatial approach can give to project yet as we have all seen, with the rise of technologies it is changing the fundamental value that surveying or GIS on its own can give to a project. This is where the second role, ‘digital lead’ is really opening doors to merge spatial with technologies to evolve how we traditionally deliver projects. 

3. Who influenced you to get into the Spatial industry? 
A person who I respected during my time at ER Mapper and really gave me the opportunity to step out from what I was doing. Clive Poole, who sadly passed a few years back is the person I will always remember for giving me the opportunity to expand my thinking in the spatial industry. 

4. What is the best thing about being a GIS professional
I don’t believe I consider myself a GIS professional. Having a ‘spatial mindset’ is just part of everything I do now yet I am particularly excited about the role ‘GIS’ and good, accurate data is going to play in a digital world. Think LiDAR merged with machine learning, with user inputted data delivering new answers to all sorts of location related challenges.

5. What are you most looking forward to being a part of in the next six months?
If I put my mind to it, the spatial industry is really on a fine edge, the role of the cartographer has gone to designers working with computer science professionals and GIS analysis is heading the same way. This brings fantastic opportunity to up-skill, partner and really shine the light on why the whole industry, from surveying to GIS and the knowledge of quality, accuracy and detail is so important in a world that is reliant on digital data derived from machines and sensors. If we can start making a small leap into upskilling then this is what I would like to focus on.  

6. Most spatial industry people are travellers, so what is your favourite country to visit and why?
Japan – culture, good food, excellent beer and whiskey and just such a fascinating land. 

Nicholas Flett has been involved in WA's spatial industry for nearly 20 years after moving from Albany to study Cartography at Curtin University. I'm always keen to share my learnings and love of mapping, so I dedicate time to volunteer with the MAPS-WA emergency services unit, SSSI committees and the GeoRabble Perth organising committee. I've also been learning martial arts for the last 3 years and love nothing more than spending my down time out on the dojo mats with my wife and 2 children.


1. Please give us an idea of your professional background
I work as a Solution Engineer with Esri Australia, picking out the best in modern GIS technologies to meet customer business needs. I've worked for many years as a cartographer in state government, a land survey mapper and briefly as GIS analyst in oil and gas, so I have a good feel for the needs of different industries.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job? 
Now working from a sales and consulting perspective, I get to enjoy visiting GIS teams across Australia to discover where their business is going on their geospatial journey, share stories of my own while equipping staff with new skills and capabilities. It's fast paced, but very rewarding.

3. Who influenced you to get into the Spatial industry? 
I recall asking my dad at age 5: "What do you call someone who makes maps?" He didn't have an answer for me then but came back days later and said "Cartographer" - I was fascinated with making and reading maps from that time on. It turns out my great-great grandfather had emigrated to Australia to teach Surveying during the Victorian gold rush, so I guess it was in my blood!

4. What is the best thing about being a GIS professional
The best thing about GIS professionals is their supportive nature. This is a small and highly skilled industry and we value the networks we make as no one specialist can understand every use case for our science and technologies.

5. What are you most looking forward to being a part of in the next six months?
Seeing amazing content from my clients. I've spent the last few months introducing people to StoryMaps and Experience Builder and a few of those client projects are starting to surface in media releases and promotions.

6. Most spatial industry people are travellers, so what is your favourite country to visit and why?
I made my first trip the United States last year and went back there in July. I've now visited 4 states on the west coast and really enjoyed the museums, landmarks and cycle trails - but most of all the diversity and character of the people. Would love to go back to see more.


The SSSI WA office will be closed from Monday, 23rd December, 2019 - Friday, 3rd January, 2019. 

SSSI WA would like to with you and your families a happy and safe fesitve season. 



Johanna Gastevich
WA Regional Operations Manager

Darren Mottolini                 
WA Regional Chair


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