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. 

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Locate 18 in Adelaide in early April. This was the fifth Locate conference which is growing in popularity each year and is unique, bringing together 700 surveyors and spatial professionals at the one national conference.

The weather was unusually hot but that did not deter the delegates. With the massive growth in geo-spatial technology expenditure doubling in 3 years its clear that we are riding a wave of surveying and spatial information development.

Times have changed since the mid nineteen eighties when moves towards the formation of a National Digital database began. At that time at least one State Government declined a Federal Government invitation to join the initiative. Now all states and territories are firmly on board.

ANZLIC, the Spatial Information Council, is the peak government organisation providing leadership in the collection, management and use of spatial information in Australia and New Zealand. The Foundation Spatial Data Framework provides a common reference for the assembly and maintenance of spatial data in order to serve the widest possible variety of users.

One essential session of Locate, for surveyors, is the Surveyor Generals Forum which I first attended at Locate 17 in Sydney. Its clear that we are in a period of great change. Not only are we seeing the commercialisation of land titles but we are also seeing the introduction of E conveyancing, E plan and the complete digitalisation of the land title system across the nation. Attending a national conference such as Locate gives you a national perspective which may not be readily apparent at a state level.

One obvious challenge for us all is that increasingly people expect to be able to position themselves via their smart devices to an unprecedented level of accuracy. We can only imagine at this stage how far this trend will continue and what level of positioning people in the community will achieve in the future but we do know that the surveying and spatial information professions will have a key involvement going forward.

As we move to a 3D (and even 4D) cadastre we need to ensure strong collaboration between all levels of government, the surveying and spatial professions, business and academia. Given the inevitable push towards a digital/coordinated cadastre across the nation, some in government and the wider community might be tempted to question the need for a regulated surveying profession.

This is folly of course, but we must be ready to respond to this challenge, if and when it arrives. It is interesting to observe large infrastructure projects like a light rail project where the location of boundaries and underground services, for example, is a critical design/cost factor. I vividly recall when, as a young surveyor, with the water board, I was regularly instructed to undertake Work As Executed surveys for newly laid sewer and water mains. But even then some bean counters would question the value of such survey work, to the horror of surveyors. Unfortunately this mentality still prevails in some quarters and it is proof that we need to be constantly alert to those who would question, undermine and downgrade the work that surveyors do.

Attending Locate 18 was a good opportunity to continue the National Survey Discussion Forum. I met the ISV President Elect Kellie Dean who will take up the Presidency late this year. Representatives from the CRCSI gave us an update on the Agenda 2026 which sets out a coordinated suite of initiatives for the next decade that will foster a new era in cooperation across the nation in the surveying and spatial information space. The agenda covers a variety of initiatives relevant to surveyors including the forecast shortage of surveyors, the proposed dynamic datum including the move to 3D, programs targeting STEM graduates and training and capacity building in the fields of geodesy, surveying and photogrammetry. I met a cross section of surveying and spatial professionals from across the country and participated in wide ranging discussions on a variety of topics. I hope to travel to both Victoria and Queensland in the months ahead to continue the discussions. Unfortunately I missed what I understand was a fascinating presentation on the mysterious Maree Man, which I mentioned in my March report, but then I discovered it was written up in the April edition of Position. Definitely worth the read.

Changing the subject, you would know the Institution has the option to nominate up to 3 positions on BOSSI. Two of these appointments will expire on 7th June 2018. In the past the Institution would call for nominations from the membership and if appropriate give the membership the opportunity to vote for their preferred nominee. Such a process could take up to two months, or more, to complete. In this case we did not have the time to hold a vote. We received five nominations, all highly experienced and well qualified surveyors and all of whom could represent the interests of the Institution and the members.

Under our constitution the ISNSW Board is allowed to nominate representatives of ISNSW on BOSSI and in this case we did so. It is hoped that when next an appointment expires on BOSSI that we will have sufficient time to allow for a membership wide vote if required, as has been past practice.

Recently I joined a teleconference with the NSW Surveying Taskforce which has been doing excellent work for 5 years promoting surveying as a profession. In particular, the meeting was about the NSW ANZAC Memorial project, which has a couple of surveying components, which will culminate in the ANZAC Centenary project late in 2018 and which we hope will be an opportunity to promote the profession and surveying as a career.

We also discussed the couple of hundred graduate surveyors who are listed with BOSSI as candidates for registration and the barriers they might face to achieving registration which include the shortage of mentors and support of survey firms, the shortage of city, rural and planning projects and the need to convince these graduates of the value of achieving registration which can be considered the equivalent of a masters qualification. I urge the Principal Surveyors who employ these graduates to encourage them to get a move on.

Finally I should tell you that in mid April ISNSW was invited to participate in a ‘requisitions summit’ organised by the Office of the Registrar General which was highly productive. Following the summit was the first ISNSW cadastral webinar which focussed on requisitions. I hope that by the time you are reading this that the LRS ‘plan reference guide and checklist’ will be available for use.


Tony Proust
Registered Surveyor
President ISNSW

May 2018

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