Geo Message (November 2011)

Inside SSSI

Having just returned from the SSSC11 in Wellington, I would like to personally thank each of the SSSI Staff and the Conference Organising Committee for their huge efforts in providing an excellent and successful event. It was great to see so many young professionals actively involved, particularly the number of young female professionals involved in the NZ spatial industry.


I would also like to congratulate Ben Dash from Eagle Technologies in Wellington and National YP Committee member Luke Czaban on their efforts in putting together a geocaching event for the school student workshop day.


Congratulations also to Narelle Underwood on winning the 2011 Young Spatial Professional of the Year.


In recent months I have found a couple of interesting articles that relate to our industry and our profession. The first is two responses published in the Sydney Morning Herald in relation to an opinion piece about the value of university degrees in the field of computer science. There is one paragraph from Matt Barrie that links well with the discussion had at the recent SSSI Careers and Education Summit held in Canberra.


"Over the last twenty years, the number of engineers, mathematicians, physicists and geoscientists graduating with bachelor's degrees have declined by 18 per cent and the ratio of university students achieving bachelor's degrees in these fields has dropped by 40 per cent. Fewer than 15 per cent of US high school students have sufficient mathematics and science qualifications to even consider beginning engineering in the first place. This trend is the same in the UK, Japan and other western nations. The only bright spot we've had in encouraging kids has been Mark Zuckerberg and particularly The Social Network movie, which has had some effect in the consumer internet space."

Read more:


The other article, also from the Sydney Morning Herald, is a story on the use of a LiDAR expert witness in a court case challenging a speeding conviction. I found this an interesting example of the use of spatial information in a non-GIS sense.


Read more:


Thirdly, on a flight to Singapore, making my way over to the Asia Geospatial Forum, I came to sit next to a Tasmanian who has been residing in Sydney for a number of years. As we came to our decent into Singapore, we got chatting. Ian had studied computer science at UTas, and been working for a number of years before branching out with a team to form a consultancy. On the side he has set up a website utilising location intelligence in a non-traditional sense that draws on algorithms to pull together the cheapest flights from any given capital city, and a number of regional centres, across Australia. I have a love for cheap flights, so to me this is a genius use of location intelligence, and in a completely non-GIS framework. Have a look at the site if you're planning a holiday, or simply for an excellent use of location intelligence that breakdowns the preconceived notions of what that means.


Internally, planning has begun for a workshop in Brisbane in March of next year. This should give your National YP Committee some strategic direction for the next few years, and provide consistency across the regions in establishing some goals and providing some input into the direction in which we want to move forward.


I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and new year break. See you in 2012!


Thanks again,

Simon Callaghan

Chair, National YP Committee



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