FAQ's

What is a Map-a-thon?
A map-a-thon is a simple and easy way for everyday people to contribute something towards a disaster recovery effort from the comfort of their own computers. It’s simple and doesn’t require any prior knowledge about how to map, or any specialised equipment. We (SSSI) will provide you with all the instructions you need to understand the what and how, and from there you can put in as much time and effort as you like - with no expectations or requirements from us. 

I’m not a spatial expert, so can I still participate in the Map-a-thon?
Absolutely! No special skills are required to take part in the Map-a-thon - just a willingness to help the bushfire preparedness efforts, a reliable internet and a computer. We’ll provide you with all of the how-to’s, as well as support along the way if you need help where we can.  A comprehensive training manual will be available on the SSSI website on the morning of the Map-a-thon

Why has SSSI organised this Map-a-thon?
In response to the national bushfires which devastated many parts of Australia in late 2019 – 2020, earlier this year, the Surveying & Spatial Science Institute marshalled a significant surveying and spatial volunteer network to collect data on burnt infrastructure.  The previous Map-a-thon focused on bushfire recovery; this Map-a-thon, the SSSI FireWater Map-a-thon focuses on bushfire preparedness. 

During bushfires, firefighters often have difficulty sourcing water. In some regional locations’ mains water may not be accessible to fight a major bushfire. Static water supplies, such as swimming pools, tanks and dams, are vital sources of water for firefighters. This map-a-thon seeks to map swimming pools, tanks and dams to update Australia’s Static Water Supply System.

How do I register?
Everyone participating in the Map-a-thon will need to register online. Click here to register.

Due to COVID-19, we are encouraging everyone to register as individuals, not teams. 

Do I have to register?
Yes , you will need to register to be able to access the training materials. You can easily and quickly register for free here, no matter where you are based around Australia or around the world. Click here to register.

How do I know the data I am collecting will be put to good use? 
The Growing Data Foundation has created a web application called FireWater, which shows how low-cost, long range radio technologies (LoRaWAN) and open GIS mapping systems can be used to provide real time water source data (such as water tanks and natural water sources) to on-the-ground fire crews. It will also incorporate a journey planning functionality, to direct fire crews to nearest available water sources. The data collected during the SSSI FireWater Map-a-thon on static water infrastructure will be used in the App.

In addition, the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying & Mapping, through its Chair Simon Costello has confirmed ICSM and its members organisations welcome the assistance of the surveying and spatial volunteer community to collect data on static water supply infrastructure.  Data collected will assist in improving the accuracy and completeness of the foundation spatial data used by emergency management. 

What areas will the Map-a-thon be focusing on?
We will be mapping around 12 million hectares - parts of regional Victoria and Kangaroo Island. 

Who is supporting the Map-a-thon?
Thank you to the wonderful organisations supporting the SSSI National Bushfire Recovery Map-a-thon

Can I only attend for part of the day?
You sure can - we understand that being a weekend, people will have prior commitments. While the event will run on Saturday 31 October 2020 from 10am AEDT for a 24 hour period.  You are welcome to join for as long or short as is convenient for you, especially if you are participating remotely from home.  

I can't participate in the Map-a-thon on Saturday 31 October 2020, am I able to map on another date?
Nearmap, has generously supplied high resolution aerial imagery for this Map-a-thon which is only available for the 24hour period. 

Can I take part in the map-a-thon remotely from my computer at home, from a regional location or from overseas?
So, no matter whether you are away from home, based in a regional centre or overseas, we’d love to have you join us for the Map-a-thon. 

Simply register by clicking here so you will be provided access to the training materials and links, and you’ll be set to participate and help the recovery efforts. 

Please be COVID-19 Safe
It is all participants responsibility to participate in this Map-a-thon in a COVID-19 safe environment. For further information click here.

Who is the SSSI?
The Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI) is the peak national body for all custodians of quality spatial (location) data creation, storage, maintenance and use in Australia. SSSI exists to serve the evolving needs of this community, maintaining its rich heritage stretching back hundreds of years, in balance with adapting to new technologies as we move towards the fourth industrial revolution with changes in the way we work and the skills valued in the workplace. 

What sets SSSI apart is it’s unique national reach, which enables a number of significant strengths:  stronger and broader advocacy, the ability to break down geographic silos and build stronger technical excellence, the ability to offer a plethora of events that allow a broad and diverse network of professionals with strengths in many areas the ability to network and collaborate, certification to strengthen the core of the Australian geospatial and surveying industry for a future where it is even more strongly positioned in an international context, the ability to provide professional development opportunities with a broader reach and scale, migration skills assessment to provide another pillar of support for the future of our profession, and many more. 

What is surveying and spatial science?
Surveying and spatial sciences come together as two sides of the coin of all things related to location data (anything with coordinates, primarily on the Earth but also in space). 
Surveyors have a long and well-established foundation in the history of many countries and cultures around the planet as the creators of accurate and precise records of location information that underpin the smooth operation of society - around cadastral (property) boundaries (land surveying); around building and civil construction (engineering surveying); around the planning, construction and operation of mines (mining surveying), around understanding and measuring the geography of land under the ocean (hydrographic surveying); and understanding the shape and size of the earth and it’s changing surface over time (geodetic surveying). Surveyors use many tools to undertake their work, utilising a range of technology from theodolites to photogrammetry. 

Spatial science goes hand-in-hand, almost inseparably, with surveying as the management and applied use of this location data - from the creation of small and large spatial datasets of many types and capabilities, interpretation of remotely sensed images and photogrammetry, to cartography (the display of location data as maps in various mediums) to modelling (utilising location to accurately and precisely predict how a product or situation might play out in the real world) to complex analyses (for example to understand constraints or make comparisons). 
Increasingly, the geospatial industry as a whole is moving towards capturing and modelling the world around us digitally in 3D and 4D, allowing a spatial data framework to become the workbench for other data that links to its location context. This is both a spatial data science and an information management art, bringing together both surveyors and spatial scientists as custodians if quality location data and its effective management. Spatial data can be related to almost any dataset in the world, and in a quiet, humble way, geospatial underpins the work that all other industries do.

I still have more questions - who do I ask?
Yes, we are happy to answer any questions you may have! Please email them to Johanna Gastevich at info@sssi.org.au