President’s Desk


Each month the President of ISNSW, Tony Proust, addresses the considerations and concerns of the Institution's members and the surveying industry alike. 

Congratulations to Vicky Tester on her elevation to Fellow. Not only is Vicky the youngest Fellow in the Institutions history she is the first woman. Very well done. Read her citation in Azimuth.

In the first week of May I attended my first GLADS – the RMS surveyors Geomatic Learning & Development Seminar which was held this year at Mt Panomara outside Bathurst, a popular venue for surveyors meetings in the Central West. I chose to drive to Bathurst from Newcastle via Deman, Kandos and Bylong which is somewhat infamous thanks to the Obeid coal mine affair. It’s a delightful drive with stunning sandstone cliffs and vast areas of untouched bushland interspersed with small farms along the valley floors. We city folk should take every opportunity to escape the city and checkout the backroads which criss-cross our beautiful state. I stopped at a remote roadside stop to have a cuppa and talked with a couple from Europe who were enjoying the bush. I left Newcastle on a warm sunny autumn day and arrived in Bathurst at dusk as the temperature dropped towards zero enjoying the stunning autumn colours of the poplars along the way. GLADS has been going for many years in different forms and includes a meeting of the Main Roads Surveyors Association which is 50 years old and they have a stubby holder to prove it. I was talking about CPD and it suddenly occurred to me that GLADS was CPD before we formalised the concept of CPD. The RMS surveyors were ahead of their time.

The highlight of the first day, for me, was John Brock and his enthralling presentation Surveying the Walls of Hadrian & Antoninus in Roman Britannia 118 to 142 AD which John delivered in his own unique style. I was reminded of my own visits to Hadrian’s wall over the years. Roman engineering holds a particular fascination for many surveyors because we can well imagine the challenges those ancient surveyors faced when designing and constructing these amazing structures. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to visit Vindolanda, a Roman fort just south of Hadrians wall, which it originally pre-dated. As an ex Water Board surveyor I was delighted to learn that not only did Vindolanda have a sophisticated water and sewer system but that the Romans were justly proud of their sewer systems and embodied this pride in a goddess – CLOACINA. A whole network of pipes has been discovered at Vindolanda. The pipes are of alder wood and were linked together by inserting the ends into a junction block. The pipes were full of silt when discovered, after nearly 2000 years, of course. The junction blocks connected two pipes together and formed the network of the water supply which carried fresh water across the site. They even found a rare example of a Roman toilet seat, also made of alder, which was used to cover a bad patch of floor. There is an example of a sluice filter, made of oak, which would have stood upright in a wooden frame and fitted securely into a drainage channel. The evenly spaced holes allowed water to flow at a regular speed while preventing debris from blocking the system. They also found heavy oak uprights thought to have supported an aqueduct which carried water from a nearby natural spring. It is estimated that the tree started life in 270 BC and was felled in about AD 100. It is interesting to note that the fascinating exhibits at Vindolanda includes a display which explains how they mapped the site:

“When you start excavating it is vitally important to keep an excellent and detailed record of everything you find. For this the Vindolanda Trust, (which managers the site) uses an electronic device called a total station and a highly accurate digital dumpy level. A total station is an electronic distance measuring machine which is a very advanced and highly accurate site recorder which can be used to survey the land, buildings and plot the location of finds at the site”

The display goes on to explain the various surveying techniques used to map and record ground levels and features of the site including:

Field contour survey, geophysical survey, aerial survey, ground penetrating radar survey and Lidar.

If you have yet to experience Hadrian’s Wall and visit Vindolanda in particular you need to add it to your bucket list. It’s a must see.

The second day included presentations by the Surveyor General Narelle Underwood who explained the Review of Digital Survey Plans currently underway. Details from our recent newsletter as follows:

The NSW Government and NSW Land Registry Services are undertaking a joint review of digital survey plans in NSW. The review will highlight the successes and shortcomings of initiatives undertaken to date, and make recommendations on how to achieve 100% digital survey plans in NSW.

A briefing session was held on Friday 5th April, where representatives from the Institution of Surveyors NSW and Association of Consulting Surveyors NSW were informed of the proposed review and objectives. A key aspect of the review will be working closely with industry to ensure that the needs and constraints of private sector surveyors are taken into account.

Over the next 6-12 months, the profession, including ISNSW, will be asked to participate in a number of engagement activities.

There have been some important developments in the CPD spaced. Firstly I am please to advise that the CPD committee has a few new members being Gilbert Flood from the Southern Group, Mick Gray from the Murray Group and Lee Schmalfeldt. I am very grateful for their assistance. Not only will this help speed up the CPD assessments for the membership more generally it should help those regional groups when they are organising their meetings and assessing the likely CPD content of same.

Secondly ISNSW has just completed our own internal CPD audit as undertaking CPD is a ‘condition of membership’ for ALL members – not just Registered Surveyors. I am pleased to report that 43 members were randomly selected for the audit and all but one passed although a small number were required to provide additional information to get over the line.

Thirdly you should be aware that you can now earn CPD points by viewing a webinar – after the live event – by applying at HQ for access to the webinar on the Institution website, paying the fee and answering some questions. A number of members have already taken advantage of this service. As we commission more webinars - I hope we will do at least two cadastral webinars each year – and then a couple of survey practice webinars as well – I hope they will be available on the ISNSW website for later viewing by members as required. If you have a suggestion for a speaker/topic please contact the office.

Recently the Newcastle Herald published an article – Going Down Garden Paths – about the Newcastle locality - Garden Suburb. You can find it on line. As a town planner I was aware that the term ‘garden suburb’ had a specific meaning in town planning circles and have always been bemused that a locality in Newcastle would have that name. What I did not know was that this Newcastle suburb was created by the well known Newcastle surveyor WR Pulver, the AA companys surveyor, in collaboration with the well known town planner Sir John Sulman. As many members would know WR Pulvers son, Astley Pulver carried on the name which is held in high regard by Newcastle and Hunter surveyors.

I plan to attend the next Southern Group seminar in June and the Cumberland Group seminar in July.

Till next month.

Tony Proust
Meritorious Surveyor
President ISNSW

June 2019

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