President's Report September 2018


gypsy10.jpgGaby van Wyk


First topic I want to raise today relates to the inequalities that still exist in our industry.   The International Business Culture that forms the Australian thinking, has for many years looked down on females as the weaker or less intelligent gender.  Of course, we will not admit this in public, but our actions speak quite loudly.  I used to believe that things were changing, because certainly, within my experience I see more and more females in good jobs with great responsibilities.  But statistics do not lie.  Woman on average still earn less than men for the same job and experience level. 

I recently learned that females who entered the spatial job market in 2018 started on average, well below males who start off at the same time.  Almost every time that we raise this topic at a SSSI event, I hear the same comments from men.  Quite recently I heard men saying things like: 'women must offer the same skills and experience for the same salaries' or   'women must just work as hard as the men do', etc.   While these comments may seem logical, they are not reflecting the reality.  And every time I hear such comments I watch the ladies graciously try to provide a logical perspective. 

It is time that men become bold and stand up for equality and fairness.  It is the men who currently hold the power.  It is the men who are making decisions.  And it is the men who are paying the salaries.  It is time that men become honest: women have to work harder than men to really get ahead.  Culturally we men have it easier.  We men have to question our own cultural bias.  It is easy to make those 'yes but...' type comments, but we have to actively become part of the solution.


Moving on - the second version of the AS5488 standard is out for review.  The standard is also known as the SUI standard or the standard for subsurface utility location and attributes information in terms of specified quality. 

Now, this standard is very relevant to anyone who is involved in Engineering Surveying and I encourage all of you surveyors to go out and read the new standard and then provide comment.  For the rest of the SSSI community  - don't stop reading!  I believe that the name of the standard is simply wrong.  And yes, I have raised that with Standards Australia, but it takes a lot of effort to change the direction of that ship!  I believe that the standard should be named something like a Survey Quality standard because it can be applied much wider - to any spatial class where accuracy is important. 

So allow me to explain, very briefly, what AS488 is all about.  The MAIN part of the standard revolves around reporting on the positional accuracy of different assets.  The accuracy is qualified through a simple normative scale that ranges from A to D. In very simple terms, it relates to a range of survey methods used to survey the position of assets and describes the quality of the survey data obtained from the specific methods.  The people who first drafted this standard needed it for SUBSURFACE UTILITY assets, but that does not mean that the same measurement scale for accuracy cannot be applied to any other above ground asset. I have seen many GIS systems with an attribute 'ACCURACY' and then some way to try and define that accuracy according to some scale.  AS5488 provides a very nice range with good definition unambiguously defined.  I believe we can use it whenever we need to define the quality of a location record. 

Now, this second edition of the standard has grown substantially.  The first part - the quality definitions - was updated with some significant changes, although the definitions are still similar to the first edition.  It is however in the second part of the standard - attribute definitions - that significant changes were made. 

Click here  to review the standard.  As a bonus, you will get to download and read the standard before it is published and that will not cost you anything.  (After publication you will pay over $2000.)


In a few days I will be handing the SSSI Presidency over to Zaffar Sadiq Mohamed-Ghouse.  I have successfully implemented a new constitution handed to me by my predecessor, Bernard O'Sullivan and I now leave Zaffar with what I believe is a solid strategic plan and a positive way forward.  I believe that Zaffar will be a great leader and will take SSSI to new heights. 


Gabriel van Wyk
Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI)

Telephone:  +61 2 6282 2282 
Postal Address:  PO Box 307  DEAKIN WEST  ACT  2600 
Location Address:  27 – 29 Napier Close, National Surveyors House  DEAKIN  ACT  2600  |