April/May 2017 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; No. 88
The Australasian magazine of surveying, mapping & geo-information
Geospatial Industry on the Cusp of Revolutionary Change
Official publication of
inside Geoscape Spatially informed decision making
Cars of Tomorrow When will driverless vehicles take off?
Locate17 Guide The must doâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s for the event of the year
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Simple, affordable, professional. It’s all you need. TRANSFORMING THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS
April/May 2017 No.88
Geoscape. The dataset you won’t stop hearing about.
Drones. Is there anything they can’t do?
features 16 COVER STORY: Geospatial Industry on the Cusp of Revolutionary Change
Change is coming. Reaching a nexus between assets and information.
30 Positioning in Time The research body positioning Australasia for a future of sustainable dollars and smiles.
34 The Democratisation of Geography
Workflow adjustments and automation are changing the status quo for projects of all kinds.
26 CENTREFOLD SPECIAL: Geoscape The national geospatial mapping project helping industries and communities make better decisions.
14 Q&A with Narelle Underwood Four months in, Australia’s ﬁrst female Surveyor General reflects on the changing role of surveyors.
18 The Cars of Tomorrow Self-driving cars are already on the road. Are they good enough? Or are the skies safer?
22 The Digital Beach The tech-savvy council using geo-information to enhance beach leisure and life.
28 Locate17 and Digital Earth Survival Guide Your checklist to ensure you get the most out of the spatial and surveying event of the year.
Crowdsourced geospatial data creates a new point of view in the science of map making.
36 Drones/RPAS/UAV - New Fact or Passing Fad? There are many names for them, and as many opinions about their use as a survey tool.
40 The Digital Surveyor The surveyor’s role changes in line with data capture and management technology.
42 Monitoring the Oldest Datum GNSS provides a solid foundation for evaluating sea level change and the history of Earth.
Regulars 4 7 8 44 46
Upfront, calendar Editorial News New products SSSI www.spatialsource.com.au 3
Upcoming Events 3-6 April 2017: Locate Conference & Digital Earth Symposium; Sydney, NSW. locateconference.com 5 April 2017: Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards; Sydney, NSW. locateconference.com 19-20 April 2017: Cubesat Innovation Workshop; Sydney, NSW. bit.ly/2mh4DVz 27-28 April 2017: GISTAM 2017; Porto, Portugal. www.gistam.org 4-5 May 2017: SSSI Qld Surveying and Spatial Conference; Southport, QLD. bit.ly/2k6KpA5 22-23 May 2017: ANZMapS 2017; Melbourne, Victoria. www.anzmaps.org 23-24 May 2017: GEO Business; London, UK. geobusinessshow.com 23-25 May 2017: CeBIT Australia; Sydney, NSW. www.cebit.com.au 29 May-2 June 2017: FIG Working Week 2017; Helsinki, Finland. www.ﬁg. net/ﬁg2017 6-9 June 2017: ISPRS Workshop; Hannover, Germany. www.ipi.unihannover.de/hrigi17
Saving language with maps
ustralia is situated in one of the world’s linguistic hot spots, however, many are unaware of the incredible linguistic diversity of Aboriginal Australia. In the late 18th century, there were between 350 and 750 distinct Australian social groupings, and a similar number of languages. At the start of the 21st century, however, fewer than 150 indigenous languages remain in daily use, and all except roughly 20 are highly endangered. Of those that endure, only 10% are being learned by children and those languages are usually located in the most isolated areas. To help overcome this situation and more accurately quantify Australia’s linguistic diversity, not-for-profit organisation First Languages Australia has collaborated with regional language centres to develop a map of Australian languages that reflects the names and groupings favoured by communities. Known as Gambay* the interactive web map currently lists 795 Aboriginal Australian languages, which are broken into 270 language families. Knowing which languages are related can help communities share language resources, so some related languages are linked on the map by colour.
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The “language legends” feature of the map shares video stories with some of the people working to preserve their language. Doing so gives faces to Australia’s first languages and helps users understand why these languages are important. To create the map, regional language centres provided maps for their regions to be collated into the interactive map, and language workers around the country contributed video profiles that are attached to their regions. Gambay is a growing resource, and as such communities are encouraged to contribute to the map and share their stories. The good news is that many language groups are working to preserve their languages, which are quietly and persistently being restored to use through online courses and face-to-face classes. The map helps to assist these efforts by allowing language centres and communities to update information as they require, and informing the wider community about Australia’s language diversity. The interactive map can be accessed at gambay.com.au. ■ *Gambay means “together” in the Butchulla language of Harvey Bay.
20-22 June 2017: Commercial UAV Expo Europe; Brussels, Belgium. www. expouav.com/europe 11-14 July 2017: Institute of Australian Geographers Conference; Brisbane, QLD. www.iagconference.com.au 18-22 July 2017: FOSS4G Europe 2017; Paris, France. europe.foss4g.org/ 11 August 2017: Spatial Information Day and APSEA-SA Dinner; Adelaide, SA. spatialinformationday.org.au 14-19 August 2017: FOSS4G Boston 2017; Boston, MA, USA. 2017.foss4g.org 31 August-2 September 2017: World of Drones Congress; Brisbane, QLD. www.worldofdrones.com.au 11-15 September 2017: Photogrammetric Week; Stuttgart, Germany. www.ifp.uni-stuttgart.de/phowo 18-22 September 2017: ISPRS Geospatial Week; Wuhan, China. gsw2017.3snews.net 25-29 September 2017: International Astronautical Congress; Adelaide, SA. iac2017.org 10 October 2017: STEAMx, Brisbane, QLD. qssa.com.au/events
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The Australasian magazine of surveying, mapping & geo-information
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from the editor CHANGE MANAGEMENT
ho would have thought? The industry has been disrupted, again. Our sector has always been one filled with changes, and accelerating ones at that. You could perhaps say we have become used to it, even learned to thrive off it. Our sector seems to have an innate ability to make the most of new developments; to take them as opportunities, not as threats. Maybe that’s because if you are involved in surveying and spatial science, change is literally embedded into your vocation. Deformation monitoring—a common surveying task—is literally the measurement and modelling of change. For those in spatial, managing changes in data is a key part of most roles. Australia’s impending Earth-fixed datum—facilitated primarily Anthony Wallace by surveyors and geodesists—will be gearing up the Editor nation for technological changes on a continuously firstname.lastname@example.org changing continental plate. Several articles in this issue discuss the extraordinary ways we can manage and study change. Our cover story, “Industry on the Cusp of Revolutionary Change” (p16) shows how projects of all types—whether through BIM or not—are increasingly demanding intelligently managed data. This is creating a valuable nexus between surveying, spatial and allied built environment professionals. In the article “Cars of Tomorrow” (p18) we discuss how 10 years of development in driverless technology is exposing our excitement and trepidation due to “the biggest change to the transport industry since the invention of the car.” At a similar scale, PSMA Australia is disrupting foundation spatial datasets with the roll-out of their impressive Geoscape dataset (featured in the centrefold, p26). Meanwhile, climate change from human factors is causing our seas to rise, but new research (p42) is factoring in the natural processes also taking place. Our Q&A with Narelle Underwood (p14) discusses the changing role of surveyors, as does feature article “The Digital Surveyor” (p40), which looks into software’s role in all this. Next time you are faced with intimidating changes, just think of the amazing people featured here that are making the most of circumstance.
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June/July 2017 – Issue #89 Features: Augmented and virtual reality; Agriculture to feed the world; Spatially empowered field teams
Position is the only independent magazine for spatial sciences, surveying, GIS, government and other mapping professionals to be circulated nationally across both Australia and New Zealand. It covers the acquisition, manipulation and presentation of geo-data in a wide range of industries including agriculture, disaster management, government, smart cities, environmental management and resources. Published: 9 June 2017 Advertising booking deadline: 17 May Advertising material deadline: 22 May
news National datum transformation detailed in new report
Australia’s Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ISCM) has released information to aid in the adoption of the Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 (GDA2020)- slated for official launch in late March 2017. The 9-page Geocentric Datum of Australia 2020 Interim Release Note includes technical
data such as the parameters to transform between Australia’s existing GDA94 datum and the new GDA2020 datum, as well as between reference frame ITRF2014 and GDA2020. It also aims to provide time for software developers to update and test their software before GDA2020 officially becomes the national datum.
In releasing the report, ICSM also revealed that the adoption of GDA2020 as the national datum will now occur in late March. This means the update to the recognised-value standard of measurement of position (RVS), and hence the shift of the national datum from GDA94 to GDA2020 has been further delayed from its planned launch in January 2017. GDA94 will officially remain the current national datum until that happens. When the RVS is changed to match GDA2020, further details will be published in a more extensive document, the GDA2020 Technical Manual. This document will include recommendations on how to
transform between historical Australian geodetic datums such as AGD66 and AGD84 and the new GDA2020. It will also contain information on coordinate transformations and conversions, and the Australian Height Datum and geoid model. ICSM have also recently launched a free online forum to support users with the implementation of GDA2020. The forum serves as a place for anybody interested in Australia’s datum modernisation program to discuss and share experiences, and find answers to questions relating to datum modernisation. The forum and the Interim Release Note can be accessed at icsm.gov.au/gda2020.
New Zealand joins Australia to develop precise positioning Ministers from Australia and New Zealand have announced an agreement for the two nations to combine forces to develop precise satellite positioning in the Australasian region. In January 2017, it was announced that the Australian Government will invest $12 million in a two-year program looking into the future of positioning technology in Australia. The
New Zealand government will now be contributing a further AU$2m to the cause and working on the project to test instant, accurate and reliable positioning technology. Three global technology companies, GMV, Inmarsat and Lockheed Martin, have also been reported to be collaborating closely on the project. As part of Australia’s National Positioning Infrastructure (NPI), the
project will study and test satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) and precise point positioning (PPP) infrastructure for instant, accurate and reliable positioning technology. The project will involve Geoscience Australia and the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) working closely with a number of New Zealand organisations, including
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), the New Zealand Transport Agency, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Ministry of Transport. From March 2017, Geoscience Australia and the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) will call for organisations from a number of industries to participate in the test-bed.
Experts agree: land titles are safer in government hands The NSW Government’s plans to privatise its profitable land titles registry, Land and Property Information (LPI), have been condemned by lawyers, surveyors and real estate agents at a forum convened by Shadow Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Clayton Barr. Under Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the NSW Government is planning to lease the part of the Land and Property Information service (LPI) that deals with defining land boundaries and
8 position April/May 2017
keeping property records to a private company for 35 years. The lease is scheduled to be decided 30 March 2017, and the South Australian Government has indicated plans to follow a similar path. Experts have spoken out against the move to privatise
LPI, claiming it is financially ill-advised, will undermine the integrity of the system, push costs up for house buyers and sellers and decimate the LPI’s skilled workforce. Don Grant, who was Surveyor General of NSW from 1986 to 2000, said the LPI underpinned the NSW property system and the integrity of the state’s land titles registry, which gave the public confidence. A recent survey by the Institution of Surveyors NSW
found that 70 per cent of homeowners were unaware of the proposed sell-off. The institution’s President, Michael Green, said there was a lack of transparency from the government about the sell-off: “it’s like a veil has been drawn,” Mr Green said. “They don’t want to tell the public that they’re selling what is a good public service but which will become a private monopoly.” It is understood four bidders remain in the auction for LPI and a decision will be made by the start of April 2017.
Locate17 and Digital Earth erupts with activity The week of 3-6 April 2017 will be a very busy one in Sydney, with a packed conference program, a plethora of ancillary events and an enormous exhibition making up the Locate Conference (Locate17) and Digital Earth Symposium (ISDE10). The event is shaping up to be one of the biggest spatial and surveying events to ever reach Australian shores. Spanning four days, Locate17 and ISDE10 will be held at the newly reopened Sydney International Convention Centre. Among the program highlights is a panel discussion by the Surveyor Generals of the various states and territories of Australia, as well as presentations and workshops from the likes of NASA, what3words, Esri, the Open
Geospatial Consortium, Oracle, the U.S. Geological Survey and universities and research institutes the world over. On Tuesday 4 April, there will be an Open Market Day, which anybody can attend for free to meet with exhibitors, participate in demonstrations and partake in the many social functions. This includes the GeoRabble Meetup group, open to all, who will be offering short, fun presentations, activities and even a treasure hunt.
The two main conference days, Wednesday and Thursday, will be split into no less than eight separate streams- each of them allocated with an impressive collection of local and international keynotes. On Wednesday 5 April, a number of government delegates will formally open the conference ahead of the plenary speakers: Greg Scott, Advisor for Global Geospatial Information Management for the UN; Walter Scott, DigitalGlobe’s founder; Peter Woodgate of CRCSI,
Glenn Cockerton of Spatial Vision and Guo Huadong, from the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. From there, the program splits into eight complete streams - sure to satisfy all tastes and levels of expertise. On Thursday, further plenaries will be delivered by Steven Ramage of GEO, Alessandro Annoni of the European Union’s Joint Research Center in Italy. The annual Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards (APSEA), as well as the SSSI, GITA and Dial Before You Dig Awards, will this year also be coupled with the ISDE Awards on the evening of Wednesday 5 April. For more information turn to page 28 for your “Locate17 and Digital Earth Survival Guide.”
news Sentinel-2B completes colour vision mission of Earth The European Space Agency (ESA) has got its second eye for its Copernicus programme following the successful launch of its Sentinel-2B remote sensing satellite. On Tuesday 7 March a Vega launcher successfully took off from the spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, carrying the satellite developed and built under the industrial leadership of Airbus on behalf of ESA.
The Sentinel-2 mission is based on a constellation of two identical satellites, Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B,
and aims to support land observation, food security, change detection maps, disaster relief support and climate change monitoring. Sentinel-2A was launched in 2015 into the same orbit, but 180° apart. Every five days, the two satellites will jointly cover all land surfaces, large islands, and inland and coastal waters between latitudes 84° south and 84° north, optimising global coverage and data delivery.
“With this launch we are taking another step toward advancing the Copernicus programme, which is the most sophisticated Earth observation system in the world,” said ESA Director General Jan Woerner. To ensure data continuity two further optical satellites, Sentinel-2C and -2D, are being constructed in the cleanrooms of Airbus and will be ready for launch between 2020 and 2021.
Australia’s Digital Marketplace expected to double As part of Australia’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), the government’s new Digital Marketplace has just extended its range to strengthen working links between the tech industries and government.
The new areas of digital expertise include data science, cyber security, content and publishing, marketing, communications and engagement, as well as support and operations. Set up by the Digital Transformation Office (DTA),
the Digital Marketplace allows Government buyers to publish briefs for the work they need done, while suppliers can respond to those briefs. DTA interim chief executive officer Nerida O’Loughlin said the latest roll-out would make it simpler for
government agencies to find digital services and easier for providers to work with government. It is expected the expansion of the marketplace will lead to a doubling of the number of registered sellers following the March expansion.
GNSS constellation proposed for Mars Positioning satellites could assist manned or unmanned exploration on Mars, scientific analysis and inter-planetary navigation, according to a team of researchers from the Mars Systems Laboratory and the Technical University of Kosice in Slovakia. The satellites would be based on the fundamentals of Earth’s existing Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) infrastructure such
as GPS, Glonass and Galileo, but would be customised for the orbital and atmospheric conditions of Mars. Lead researcher Dr Jozef Kozar has named the concept “GNSS FATIMA,” and proposes that is should include 15 navigation satellites, oriented in three orbital planes, each containing five satellites. A final solution would consider many facets, including
World View plans to map the world with balloons Space technology company, World View, has announced the grand opening of its new global headquarters campus, collocated with Spaceport Tucson, in Arizona. The facility is the world’s first purpose-built commercial launchpad for stratosphere infrastructure. World View aims to use the facility as launchpad for their customised ‘stratollites,’ specially designed balloons which are used to fly various
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types of payloads, such as remote sensing capture platforms, into the stratosphere. World View’s remotely managed, un-crewed stratollite vehicle aims to offer low-cost payload delivery, months at a time, over customer-specified areas of interest. Among the many possibilities, World View has made a point of highlighting the application of remote sensing- offering low-cost, realtime, high-resolution imagery data from the stratosphere.
space systems engineering and planetary science covering the ionosphere and magnetosphere, not to mention the immense logistics of launching such infrastructure. Dr Kozar’s research also addresses the entire planetary influence of the close environment around Mars, including gravitational fields of near space bodies and Mars’ neighbouring asteroid belt.
Location Intelligence Geographic Information Systems
news Earth’s long-forgotten continent revealed Geological researchers have claimed that the Earth has a long-forgotten continent submerged under the Pacific Ocean, known as Zealandia. A new paper published in the journal of the Geological Society of America, proposes the classification of Zealandia as continent. Zealandia, the researchers report, extends 4.9 million square kilometres and is 94
per cent underwater. The land that peaks above the ocean surface is primarily the two islands of New Zealand and New Caledonia. The submerged land mass (depicted aside) is elevated relative to other parts of the ocean floors and is isolated from Australia. Researchers from the GNS Science research institute and Victoria University of
Wellington in New Zealand, as well as the Service Géologique of New Caledonia and the University of Sydney’s school of geosciences, contend that Zealandia has the necessary geological elements to be considered a continent. “The identification of Zealandia as a geological
continent, rather than a collection of continental islands, fragments, and slices, more correctly represents the geology of this part of Earth,” the researchers have written.
Hyperspectral drones expose reef health To better understand how coral reefs around the world are responding to the effects of changing climate and environmental degradation, new technology has been launched to combine the insights of hyperspectral remote sensing and the accessibility now offered by remotely piloted
aircrat systems (RPAS). Remote sensing researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are pioneering the
use of new miniaturised hyperspectral cameras to monitor the health of Australian landscapes in more detail than ever before. The system was recently trialled at Western Australia’s Ningaloo reef, one the largest fringing coral reefs in the world. Project leader Associate Professor Felipe Gonzalez said his team was among the first in the world to obtain
aerial hyperspectral imagery of a coral reef in such high resolution. The datagathering mission is expected to help inform future research not only for reefs but also for ecosystems of all types at sea and on land. QUT’s RPAS system captured imagery at 15cm per pixel, while the manned aircraft fitted with a hyperspectral camera captured 35cm per pixel.
Unlocking the spatial potential of IoT The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to create the true interconnectivity of all devices and thereby benefit all manner of industries and expedite the development of Australia’s smart cities. To accelerate the development of such IoT innovations, Position Partners
and Thinxtra have agreed to combine their respective Sigfox and AllDayRTK network infrastructure to enable low cost access to high precision positioning and communications services. Thinxtra is rolling out the first nationwide IoT network in Australia, New
Zealand and Hong Kong, based on Sigfox LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) technology. The network claims to already cover 70% of the Australian population and is well on track to cover 95% of the Australian and New Zealand populations by the end of 2017.
In collaborating with Position Partners, this will effectively unlock the spatial potential of such sensor networks. Position Partners’ Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) network, AllDayRTK, is expected to incorporate centimetre-level positioning into Thinxtra’s network.
POSITION’S NEWS ORIGINATES FROM Australia and New Zealand’s only site for surveying and spatial news. Subscribe now for your FREE weekly newsletter at www.spatialsource.com.au 12 position April/May 2017
Q&A with Narelle Underwood, Surveyor General NSW Ahead of her appearance at the Locate Conference and Digital Earth Symposium in April, NSW Surveyor General Narelle Underwood shares some insights in an exclusive Q&A with Position. Underwood was appointed in November 2016 as Australia’s ﬁrst female Surveyor General, a major role within the state government responsible for leadership in surveying, mapping and geographic information. Her appointment makes Underwood both the ﬁrst woman to hold the role across all Australian states, and the youngest in the state in 200 years. Underwood is responsible for serving as President of the Board of Surveying and Spatial Information (BOSSI), chairing the Geographical Names Board of NSW; using location intelligence to better deliver urban planning, community services and infrastructure; acting as Electoral Boundaries Commissioner; and sharing knowledge and set standards at a national level with federal, state and territory counterparts. Underwood spoke with Position to discuss the changing role of the surveyors, what we can expect at Locate17 and the under-representation of females in careers like surveying. A qualification in STEM will allow you to develop skills that will prepare you for a career that the world hasn’t even realised it needs yet.
ANTHONY WALLACE How have you found the ﬁrst few months in your new role as Surveyor General?
Exciting and challenging. The creation of Spatial Services is a significant change in the operating of the land and spatial management systems of NSW which has changed the dynamic of the Surveyor General role. Spatial Services is a new entity within the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation and our core business is no longer just titling and registration; it is setting standards for the survey industry in NSW and creating economic and social value through leadership and innovation in the delivery of spatial data services. This has given us a new opportunity to create an organisation that services the government and public digital agenda and ushers in the future of surveying. Through my involvement with our industry professional bodies and BOSSI I had an understanding of a significant portion of the responsibilities of the Surveyor General role so I was able to hit the ground running. I have spent my first 3 months strengthening relationships with my colleagues, staff and key stakeholders. I’ve concentrated on getting to know the finer aspects of the business and I’ve been to lots of industry events to talk to people about their ideas and concerns. I’ve progressed the remake of the Surveying and Spatial Information Regulation, contributed to the development and implementation of GDA2020 and through the Geographical
14 position April/May 2017
What can we expect you and your fellow Surveyors General to be speaking about at Locate17?
Names Board have begun development of an Indigenous Place Names Register. What advice would you give to young women thinking of entering a career in STEM?
I’m going to steal the famous Nike tag line ‘Just do it’. Our society is changing, particularly in the areas of technology and having a career in any aspect of STEM will open up so many opportunities for your career. STEM is not just the traditional laboratory or engineering roles anymore, it’s designing the next new life changing mobile app, or the way food is grown, processed and delivered. It’s developing better health care treatments and facilities. It’s delivering the transport and cities that we need for our changing population.
There are a few opportunities for attendees to hear from the Surveyor Generals from the Australian states and territories. As part of the Land Surveying & Administration stream of the conference Craig Sandy (NT SG) will be talking about the Northern Territory Online Survey Approvals – linking planning, land titles and survey in a digital land development system, while I will be talking about Preservation of Survey Infrastructure. During this session there will also be a Surveyor Generals Panel – the intention is that conference delegates will be able to submit questions in advance and hear responses from each state/territory on the topics they want to hear about. Michael Giudici (Tas SG) will also be leading a plenary session on the implementation of the new national datum GDA2020. What do you think about the representation of females in the Locate17 program?
There is a strong male bias in the surveying and geospatial professions, particularly in registered land surveyors (less than 3% of NSW registered land surveyors are female) and this bias can be seen in the program with the majority of speakers being male.
My experience with organising conferences and CPD events has shown that females are less likely to submit their work for presentation in a forum such as this, but the program for Locate17 features a number of key female presenters who are all considered industry leaders. Hopefully over the next few years we will continue to see an increase in the diversity of presenters but it is also important we have the right people talking about the right topics. What are your priorities moving ahead in your role as Surveyor General?
• Finalisation of the Surveying and Spatial Information Regulation 2017 which should be out for public consultation in the first half of the year. • Finalisation of the draft Surveyor General’s Direction 11 – Preservation of Survey Infrastructure. Launched at the ISNSW Australia Day Seminar it is open for feedback until Friday 31 March 2017. • Review of Board of Surveying and Spatial Information (BOSSI) and development of a new strategic plan. • NSW implementation of GDA2020. • Promotion of adoption of LandXML and CadastreNSW to allow for a single, digital end-to-end cadastral process. • Promotion of Surveying as a career option to high school students, increasing the gender diversity and increasing public understanding and awareness of the role of surveyors and geospatial professions in society. How do you imagine the role of a surveyor will have changed ﬁve years from now?
How do you see surveying evolving as a profession beyond this?
When I imagine the distant future I’d like to see a united profession, one where we all value our services and companies don’t race each other to the bottom in regards to fees. I also imagine a future where the majority of the population have at least a basic understanding of what a surveyor is and does. Surveying is one of the key professions that underpin our entire society and way of life; unfortunately very few people in society have an understanding or appreciation of this. Not only are we responsible for the definition of property boundaries and the integrity of the cadastre but we also have skills and training in areas of engineering and town planning. These skills and knowledge enable surveyors to work extremely well as advisors and project managers, particularly in the areas of land development and consulting. I have always seen surveying as a scientific art as there is not always one single definitive answer or interpretation of the results, particularly in cadastral surveying. Training, knowledge and experience cannot be replaced by technology and pure mathematical solutions. While technology has made it easier to capture data and improved our efficiency it has in no way replaced the knowledge that allows us as professionals to make those critical decisions and judgement calls. In cadastral surveying it is still monuments over measurements – I don’t see this changing in my lifetime and I don’t believe a coordinated cadastre is the future for NSW.
I’d personally love to see better coordination of CPD events. I am invited to speak at a number of events and I’m more than happy to attend and provide members of our profession not just an opportunity to hear me speak but also a chance for them to speak to me. Unfortunately, however, I can’t be in two places at once and I do have to keep on top of my everyday work duties. I strongly believe that all surveyors have a responsibility to be involved in their profession, and to use an old saying “many hands make light work”. For such a small profession we have a large number of organisations that represent us at an individual and a business level. Considering the size of our industry I’m not sure if that is sustainable long term, but that is a discussion for another day. I would love to see employers encouraging and supporting their staff to become involved with at least one professional body, and by involved I don’t just mean turn up at events, but to actively participate. Our professional organisations provide opportunities for us all to work together and shape the future of our profession. I believe that surveying as a profession has a strong future as long as we keep our skills up to date and actively seek out and test new opportunities. What do you like doing outside of work?
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband Chris and children Hayley (11) & Lachlan (3). Exercise is my stress relief – I enjoy running and I play AFL for the Wollondilly Knights ladies team in the Sydney Division 1 competition. I also enjoy Muay Thai kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). ■
Technology is changing so rapidly that it is hard to imagine all the changes that the surveying and geospatial Narelle Underwood will appear at professions will face over the next five the Locate Conference and Digital Earth years. One thing that is definitely clear Symposium to deliver her keynote, though is that access to spatial data “Preservation of Survey Infrastructure” is going to increase for everyone, not on Wednesday 7 April. In the same just surveyors. What does this mean session she will also partake in a panel for surveyors? As more people have discussion alongside fellow Surveyors access to data the role of surveyors as General Michael Giudici and Craig Sandy. data managers will become extremely Spanning four days from 3-6 April, the important. People won’t necessarily Digital Earth Symposium and Locate17 come to a surveyor to capture Conference will be held at the newly retraditional detail or engineering opened Sydney International Convention survey data, the exponential growth Centre shown here. of the RPAS/drone market is proof of that. The surveyor’s role will be to provide advice around accuracy and standards in order to make sure the data is fit for purpose. The merging of different data sets will continue to increase the importance for accurate metadata and connections to the Foundation Spatial Data Framework (FSDF). www.spatialsource.com.au 15
Geospatial Industry on the Cusp of Revolutionary I Change
Adjustments to workflow and automated validation solutions radically improve data capture from as-constructed plans
f you’ve ever wondered why in this day and age asset and geospatial information collection for new construction projects is not an efficient process, you are not alone. While the majority of new asset management infrastructure information is in digital form in CAD systems (that are quite capable of including attributes and other key information), this data is often missing, provided in PDF files, or even worse, needs to be recaptured after the project is completed.
The status quo is however changing Increasing pressure to have accurate infrastructure data and the start of mandated digital submission like in Victoria and NSW are worth noting. With current extract, transform, load (ETL) products and off-the-shelf solutions like As Constructed Design Certification (ACDC), www. asconstructed.com, the geospatial industry is on the cusp of a revolutionary change in workflow and the way as-constructed submittals are validated and integrated into GIS and asset management systems. In architectural construction projects the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and modern design software is becoming standard practice and has opened a new era of data capture, transfer, and construction management. BIM is a digital 3D model of a building and includes a process that integrates data during the design, construction, and maintenance of a project to be shared with all partners. While some designers, contractors and consultants still rely on two-dimensional plans, those at the forefront of BIM use 3D modeling, 4D - adding time or staging data, 5D - adding cost information, and 6D where the 3D data is populated with future asset information. This happens through the mutual exchange of data and results in a complete digital description of a project. When a building is finished, information is up-to-date and orders of magnitude more complete, saving organisations millions of dollars. Why is this not the case for geospatial data and asset infrastructure projects? What are the issues? What would it take to change the data flow and data
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validation relating to as-constructed plans and the transfer of information? What are the benefits?
“On many levels the biggest change is a process change.”
We’ve always done it this way Typically, the current workflow of asconstructed plan submittals, and the data associated with them, has developed over time. The process involves many steps and input from various groups, depending on the stage of the project. Resistance to change is exacerbated by lack of ownership of the entire process by one group, multiple requirements along the way, and a lack of appreciation of the cost and impact of poor and incomplete asset information. The delay and cost of recapturing information after the fact, is substantial and instead of being included into the original cost of the project, it is often paid for with internal funds.
We have a CAD standard In an effort to streamline plan checking and make submittals consistent, many organisations have a CAD standard. While this is an important start, it doesn’t go far enough for the data involved and manual checking is still required. CAD standards are focused on presentation within a structured set of layers, line styles and blocks, but the standards usually don’t include sufficient information on the attributes required and don’t include techniques for checking mandatory information. Using a CAD standard doesn’t ensure that all entities are fully attributed. Point data in CAD drawings can easily be attributed but assigning
attributes to linear and polygon features is difficult and seldom done.
What’s involved? Data standards are more extensive than CAD standards. More comprehensive infrastructure data standards like ACT Ref-11/A-SPEC /ADAC/FNQROC/SUI deliver a vital focus on the data captured during the design and drafting phase and provide greater depth to the data needed at the end of the process — during the final data capture and conversion stage. On many levels, the biggest change is a process change. For instance, switching the entering and checking of data from the end of the process to the beginning— during the design and drafting stage— allows accurate data to be captured from the get go by the group doing the design. Other process adjustments such as providing tools for designs to be prevalidated before submittal and enhancing validation techniques to include location, geometry and topology can ensure correct information such as diameter, depth, manufacturer, and project number are incorporated. Further, linear features like pipes can be snapped and segmented from node to node to form topological networks. So while it is good to provide a CAD template, the template should highlight mandatory entries and be connected to
an automated validation system such as ACDC. Open Spatial’s ACDC supports multiple standards and easily validates and transforms design information stored in as-constructed drawings to GIS and Enterprise Asset Management information without recapturing the data. In this way, drawing submittals can be pre-validated before the design is approved. The other key change in the process is ensuring the as-designed drawings are updated to reflect the asconstructed conditions and information before final acceptance. ACDC manages submitted data, validates its quality against organisational and industry standards and transforms it into geospatial and asset management information which can be automatically loaded into GIS and AMS/CMMS systems with minimum disruption to current workflows. These process changes help bring geospatial data and asset infrastructure projects more in line with architectural construction project data flows. Updating the process may require a more holistic approach across organisations and could include advocacy to update some legislative guidelines and requirements like requiring automated validation before submittal. Such changes save time and money and, most importantly, improve data quality. ■
Automated validation saves time and ensures standards and required data is provided Data entered during design and validated at the construction phase provides complete, accurate data that is delivered as part of the project and not later during the data capture and conversion stage Submitted data is managed and validated against organisational and industry standards. Geospatial and asset management information can be automatically loaded into GIS and AMS/CMMS systems Minimum disruption to current workflows Staff can prioritise more important aspects Plan submittal approval turn-around time can be changed from days to minutes Clear requirements and checking items in a consistent and comprehensive way regardless of size of the project
The Cars of
Tomorrow Self-driving cars are already on the road. They may not be as good as you think, but they are good enough.
ho doesn’t like the idea of a driverless car? Hop in. Instead of battling the traffic, sit back. Call a friend. Do email. Read a book. Watch the telly. Armed with lightning fast reflexes and indefatigable attention, it will whisk you off to your destination in half the normal time. What’s more, it will do so safely. If we had driverless cars, the 1209 people who died on Australian roads in 2015 would still be alive. That’s the dream anyway. Moreover, it’s a dream that many people believe is close to reality. A recent Federal Parliamentary enquiry suggested autonomous vehicles will be commonplace by 2025. The managing director of Volvo Australia, Kevin McCann, said in his submission to the enquiry that they would revolutionise society. “It will be the biggest change in personal transport since cars were invented, 130 years ago,” he said. Momentum is building. In September 2015, South Australian law was amended to make it possible to test autonomous vehicles on public roads. In November of that year, Volvo and the Australian Driverless Vehicle Institute
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(ADVI) demonstrated a driverless car on a public road. ADVI, an initiate of the Australian Road Research Board, is a research and consulting organisation whose membership comprises all the government departments with responsibility for road transportation in Australia and New Zealand. Late last year, both Nissan and General Motors pledged to release autonomous vehicles by 2020. In January, a trial began of 100 self-driving cars in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. The cars are using public roads and interacting with normal road users. In the US in 2016, the National Highways Safety Traffic Administration licenced a Google car at Level 4 automation (see panel “How autonomous is it?”), which means that no driver is required. It feels sudden perhaps, but in truth, we have been heading toward this moment for a long time. The first trials of autonomous vehicles appear to have taken place in Japan in 1977. Other experiments were carried out in Europe in the 1980s and 90s. Advances in GIS and GNSS technology during the 1990s solved issues around reliable map reading, route guidance and the positioning of the vehicle. It was only during this decade that GPS became accurate enough for automotive guidance when selective availability was turned off in 2000; the use of lasers to generate point
clouds and 3D surfaces became routine as did 3D processing of spatial data. The field was electrified however, when the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency announced it would give $1 million to the manufacturers of a car capable of completing a course of its choosing. The first DARPA Grand Challenge was held in 2004. Not a single car finished the course. No one claimed the prize. In 2005, however, five vehicles did so. The prize purse was increased to $2 million. The course for these trials was out in the countryside but in 2007, DARPA ran the Urban Challenge. They created a mock town on a disused airbase, with roads, traffic lights and other vehicles, and invited competitors to complete a 60 km course. Six teams finished. That was in 2007. Ten years later, however, autonomous vehicles are still to reach the market in any numbers. Clearly, it may have spurred the field to action, the DARPA challenges did not provide solutions to all the problems with the new technology. Just how far they still have to go was illustrated last year when, according to the New York Times, the ride sharing developer Uber ran a self-driving car experiment on the streets of San Francisco. In one case, an autonomous Volvo zoomed through a red light on a busy street in front of the city’s Museum
How autonomous is it? The National Transport Commission is an independent statutory body charged with developing regulations for transport systems in Australia. The NTC has deﬁned ﬁve levels of automation in cars: Level 0: No automation. The driver guides all aspects of the dynamic system, although some enhancement in warning or intervention systems is allowed. Level 1: Either steering or acceleration/deceleration is autonomous. Level 2: Both steering and acceleration/deceleration are autonomous. Level 3: Automation guides all aspects of the dynamic system with the expectation that the driver will intervene when requested. Level 4: Automation guides all aspects of the dynamic system. Intervention by the driver is possible. Level 5: Full automation. Some argue autonomous ﬂying cars are likely to take off before any significant numbers of driverless cars hit the road. The Ehang 184 (pictured) will be used to ﬂy tourists around Dubai as soon as 2017.
The Rolls Royce Vision Next 100 zero emission driverless car comes complete with a “silk throne” chair for the ultimate in chauffeured luxury. Credit: Rolls Royce.
of Modern Art. All-told, the Uber’s cars failed to recognise six traffic lights in the San Francisco area, the newspaper said. Fortunately, on that occasion no one died. Joshua Brown was not so lucky. On 7 May 2016 he was watching a Harry Potter movie on the screen of his Tesla Model S. The car was driving itself. It ran at full power under an 18 wheel truck. A report in the Levy County Journal said the top of the Tesla was sheared off by the collision. It’s difficult to get real insight into the problem because so much of the development is commercially sensitive. But one can get some idea of the difficulties facing the designers of these vehicles by considering the system architecture of Stanley, the winner of the 2005 DARPA Challenge. It was developed at Stanford and generated a
number of scholarly papers (see panel “Under the Bonnet”). What that simple description makes clear is that sensing the environment is probabilistic. The lasers are probably detecting all the obstacles; the camera is probably detecting the road. When the light changes, or it rains, or it snows, the probabilities change. Moreover, automation is no insurance when the environment suddenly changes. A vehicle travelling at 100 kph has a certain amount of inertia and kinetic energy that imposes limits on its ability to respond quickly. The system works because 99.999 per cent of the time it’s good enough. That tiny uncertainty represents a huge gap, however, in the credibility of the technology and it is this that
is giving legislators and, to be frank, manufacturers, pause. “It’s time to hit the brakes for a reality check”, says Steven Hill, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. The Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers was equally pessimistic: A survey of 200 engineers identified legal liability and government policy as insurmountable road blocks to the widespread use of self-driving cars. Some people are betting heavily that automatic cars will not fly; it’s easier to develop small autonomous aircraft instead. Google co-founder Larry Page has invested in two separate flying car companies, Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk according to Business Insider Magazine. The magazine quotes executives at another company, Terrafugia, as saying they could have an autonomous flying car on sale as early as 2023. Autonomous planes are attractive because the same guidance technology that guides aircraft could be employed. It is known to be safe. Self-driving cars can make no such claim. There seems to be an emerging consensus that selfdriving cars will cut road deaths, but they will not eliminate them. As they get better, less and less people will die, but there will still be an unlucky few. Which raises another question, can we fit selfwww.spatialsource.com.au 19
feature driving cars into existing liability and insurance frameworks? To be fair, legislators are trying to stay ahead of the game. Mesmerised by the prospect of cutting 90 per cent from the road toll, both Federal and State parliaments have recently, or will shortly, hold Commissions of Enquiry so they can create an appropriate legislative environment. There is lots of pressure to do something. In a submission to the NSW Government’s Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety, Peter Damen, the chair of the ADVI executive steering committee, said that it is imperative “that Australians ask for the latest technologies from vehicle manufacturers and demand that governments have legislation in place ready to accept the latest driverless technology safety features.”
Clearly, massive corporate interests such as Google and Tesla, as well as conventional car makers such as Volvo and BMW, are also piling on the pressure. They are committing billions of dollars to the gamble that they can develop systems that are safe enough to meet customer expectations and their own cash flow projections. Arguably, they have a point. The current generation of software is already better than humans. The US Department of Transport estimates that one person dies every 160 million kilometres driven with conventional control. Tesla claims its cars had covered 210 million autonomous kilometres before Brown’s crash. That’s almost a one quarter reduction in the road toll. Google claims its fleet of cars has driven around 10 million kilometres with many minor bingles, but not a single fatality.
Former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown was killed while using the autopilot mode on his Tesla model S, such as the one shown here.
Under the Bonnet Stanford University’s Stanley is based on a VW Toureg. To turn it into an autonomous vehicle, the ﬁrst thing the designers did was develop a drive-by-wire interface, so electrical signals from a computer could control the throttle, brakes, steering and gearbox. Stanley’s brain is a computing engine consisting of six Linux computers in the boot. They are connected to each other via a standard Ethernet Local Area Network. The computing engine senses its environment via a suite of sensors mounted on a roof rack. Three GPS antennas – one for positioning and two to drive a compass are mounted on the rack. It also contains an Inertial Movement Sensor, a colour camera, ﬁve scanning laser range ﬁnders, and two 24 GHz radar sensors. Data from the various sensors is timestamped, fed to the computers via the Ethernet and processed by separate modules in parallel. Data from the lasers is transferred at 75 Hz, the camera at 12 Hz, the GPS at 10 Hz. Data is also fed into the system from a database of coordinates that describes the desired route. This data is fed into 30 separate modules, which together provide a picture of the state of the car, the route it needs to follow and the environment immediately in front of it. The primary module in this processing layer is the vehicle state estimator, a Kalman ﬁlter that determines the vehicle’s coordinates, orientation and velocity. This is then applied to maps built up via the route database and the environmental sensors. The fundamental issue—detecting the road in front of the vehicle—is the responsibility of the lasers. The lasers generate a 3D point cloud that describes
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the cross section of the terrain in front of the vehicle out to about 25 metres. The radars sense the terrain out to 200 metres and 20 degrees of the central axis. The camera gives an overall picture in front of the car into the distance. A navigable roadway is deﬁned as a flat point cloud, where “flat” is deﬁned in terms of the position of each point in the cloud. If a point is outside that limit, it is, by deﬁnition, an obstacle. The size of that limit is determined by machine learning. A human drives the rig and the system itself establishes what drivable terrain looks like. It takes a deﬁned interval of time to process this data, which limits the car to about 40 kph. To drive faster, Stanley needs to use the camera output. Identifying drivable terrain is an extraordinarily difﬁcult vision problem. Roads look different depending on their surface type, the lighting conditions; even dust on the camera lens plays a part.
However, interpreting the output of the camera can be aided by using the laser data that has already been acquired. The laser has already identiﬁed the area immediately in front of the car as drivable terrain. This region in the camera’s output can be used to detect similar terrain beyond the laser’s range. Of course, Stanley is ten year’s old. Modern versions would at the very least, support C-ITS. Cooperative intelligent transport systems allow cars to communicate with each other—so called V2V comms. Then there’s also V2I comms— communications between the car and roadside infrastructure. V2V can allow cars to communicate their intentions to one another. V2I provides a channel for trafﬁc authorities to control the vehicles, or for the vehicles to provide information to the authorities. (A detailed description of Stanley’s processing is available from the Journal of Field Robotics 2006, pp 661)
To continue with some fairly brutal mathematics: In the US, 94 per cent of crashes are due to the driver. There is no reason to suppose the figure is much different in Australia. That means that driver error killed 1136 Australians last year. If we banned humans from operating motor vehicles and replaced them with computers we could save 270 lives next year with our current technology. As the technology improves, we will be able to save most of the rest. One way through the impasse may be that autonomous vehicles will not arrive with a sudden bang but as the end result of incremental changes. George Filip from the University of Nottingham says manufacturers will play with features such as parking assist, adaptive cruise control, lane following and emergency breaking. This will allow drivers and legislators time to get used to automation while also passing on some of the safety gains. Indeed, manufacturers are already introducing driver-assistance features such as these. But as long as we continue to trust humans to drive cars, a lot of people will die. Jon Fairall was the foundation editor of Position Magazine, and now works as a freelance journalist and author. â&#x2013;
feature The iconic Bondi Beach, with Sydney’s CBD on the horizon. The entirety of Bondi and its neighbouring Tamarama and Bronte beaches have free Wi-Fi.
The Digital Beach ANTHONY WALLACE
The seaside council replacing an infatuation for technology in favour of a pragmatic approach to engage residents, tourists and beachgoers with geoinnovation.
information when users want it and where they need it,” Betts explained. “Digital technologies can play a critical role in these areas, as well as alleviating staff frustrations – as all employees need access to real time accurate information to perform their jobs.”
igital disruption is often more about disruption than actual delivery. New apps may be well received and add convenience, however all too often core operations gain little from digital investments. Not so at Waverley Council on Sydney’s beautiful eastern beaches, the local government for the iconic Bondi Beach. Two years ago, Waverley made a strategic decision to name its technology operations ‘Digital Waverley’ and appoint personnel with a pragmatic, measurable and deliverable focus, rather than an infatuation with new technologies. Key to Digital Waverley’s mandate is the backing Waverley’s Mayor, Sally Betts and Waverley’s councillors, who contend that rate payers expect the same if not more from their local government than that offered by commercial interests. “Businesses talk about customer experience but at Waverley, we believe our community— ratepayers, local business and visitors—should all enjoy a positive experience when using council provided facilities, seeking information or advice, planning or building and transacting payments for services,” said Mayor Sally Betts. “Digital Waverley was instituted to deliver such positive experiences using technology to accelerate delivery, share
Wi-Fi on the beach
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Key to citizen centric digital capabilities, is the underlying infrastructure needed to support it. For example, Waverley recently installed free public Wi-Fi across Bondi,
Bronte and Tamarama beach as well as two of their major buildings – Margaret Whitlam Recreation Centre and Waverley Library. It has enjoyed a spectacular uptake with over 175,000 visitors and locals (450,000 sessions) logging in over the past 12 months. While the free service may seem simple, a tremendous amount of work was required behind the scenes to deliver this high quality service. Given the demand for 24/7 functionality, Waverley Council has deployed its new technologies in AWS
The Hello Bondi website provides tourists with vital information for enjoying the Eastern beaches.
(Amazon Web Services), a mission critical cloud infrastructure that harnesses capacity at a secure data centre in Sydney. Besides physical infrastructure, the council’s GIS team has focused on creating and maintaining a highly accurate spatial mapping system with the ability to serve web-maps in relevant formats to meet specific application and user needs. “Council uses spatial information to provide tailored location specific information to the public,” said David Edwards, Waverley Council’s eSolutions Manager. This includes the launch last year of the ‘Development Enquirer’, an online interactive tool for residents to evaluate the scope of development allowed on their nominated property. “This is just one of the many ePlanning projects the Council has implemented, utilising technology to offer streamlined solutions for planning services,” Edwards added. Waverley Council’s Discover portal (based on Pitney Bowes Spectrum Spatial Analyst mapping application) provides spatial information to field staff and the community via a user friendly, interactive map that is compatible on all mobile devices. This portal allows residents and visitors to search for Council information regarding its facilities and services, such as waste collection, at any time of day from
Waverley Council’s Discover portal provides spatial information to field staff and the community, including parking facilities as shown here.
any location. The new application has the potential to reduce the number of enquiries to the council’s customer service centre. Spatial information is also being utilised as part of a new website called ‘Hello Bondi’ which provides visitors and tourists with the vital information and links to services they require when visiting the Eastern Suburbs. The ‘Hello Bondi’ website (www. hellobondi.com.au) uses Council’s spatial information to display things like bus stops, parking locations, playgrounds, taxi
ranks, toilets, accommodation, food shops, shopping and places of interest. The map layers are aimed at tourists visiting the eastern beaches or Bondi Junction.
Out of the shadows In the background, much more is happening spatially that perhaps goes unseen. In 2014, Waverley Council was awarded a commendation in the NSW Planning Institute of Australia awards for their use of innovative 3D modelling technology for development planning.
Waverley’s 3D Model can be used for view analysis and contextual analysis and, as shown here at Bondi Junction, shadow casting.
feature Waverley’s 3D visualisation technology was purchased using a grant provided by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure to model the development potential of Bondi Junction City Centre. All of the buildings in Bondi Junction Centre were individually modelled and digitally represented in an interactive 3D environment using K2VI software. Each building was individually modelled using a combination of LiDAR data with aerial imagery pictometry. The model allows planning staff to insert proposed developments or controls into the existing site context. These test models can be in the form of detailed buildings with articulated facades and accurate colouring to simple block forms that represent a concept for a development. The software allows the user to perform a series of analysis including shadow casting, view analysis and contextual analysis. The 3D model has since been extended to cover the whole Bondi Beach area, with other areas being built up over time with the requirement for applicants to submit individual 3D building models as part of any Development Application.
Spatially-enabled everything Another digital initiative that depends on geo-enabling technology is Waverley’s soon to be released Cemetery app, which will allow descendants, relatives and friends to locate their ancestors’ final resting places at Waverley and South Head Cemeteries. The Cemetery App utilises Google Maps to display the location of the deceased burial plot, and satellite positioning on mobile devices to display user’s current location. Late in 2016, Waverley Council installed Australia’s second largest fleet of solar powered smart bins in Bondi Beach and Bondi Junction. The bins use an internal compactor power by solar to squash the waste, inbuilt sensors and WiFi to communicate via text and email to staff when the bins are full. The use of solar power smart technology will mean the bins can hold up to five times the amount of waste as a normal bin, ensuring the area is cleaner and more attractive to residents and tourists. Other improvements include trialling digital solutions such as a self-serve rates
A proposed development in Waverley’s 3D Model. Development applications in Waverley must now be accompanied by 3D building models, which will be incorporated into the council’s model.
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payment kiosk at Council’s Customer Service Centre in Bondi Junction. Digital Waverley’s Executive Manager, Kevin Trinh, has a clear vision as to what Waverley Council can deliver. “My mission is to identify and deliver digital solutions that have a real and positive impact on the day to day life of Waverley residents, businesses, visitors and our field staff.” Waverley’s futuristic yet pragmatic approach provides a solid basis for it to engage with the Federal Government’s Smart Cities program and potentially gain a significant share of the $50 million dollar for dollar grant offered to public sector agencies. “Whether we win grant monies or not,” explains Council’s Economic Development Manager, John Coudounaris, “Waverley is delivering digital disruption benefits and developing the skills and know-how needed to realise its full potential in the future” Anthony Wallace is the editor of Position Magazine and Spatial Source, and can occasionally be spotted swimming at Bondi. ■
MicroSurvey is registered in the U.S. Patent and TrademarkOffice by MicroSurvey Software Inc. MicroSurvey is part of Hexagon.
Geoscape: how a national geospatial mapping project is helping industries and communities to make better decisions
When it set out to create its new geospatial mapping project, Geoscape, PSMA Australia saw an opportunity.
he availability of reliable geospatial datasets capturing the built environment was restricted to major cities or high value projects in Australia where investment in that kind of analysis could be justified. There was a gap in the market for a program that could capture the built environment on a continental scale and at a price point that would make the information accessible to industries and communities across the country. PSMA began rolling out Geoscape across Australia in 2016 and will officially launch the suite of 3D and 2D digital datasets in April 2017. The company has collaborated with DigitalGlobe, the global leader in earth imagery and information to create the Geoscape dataset which uses a combination of satellite imagery, crowd sourcing and machine learning. Through this initiative Geoscape is generating product features such as continent wide building footprints and heights, rooftop materials, solar panels, and swimming pools– at every urban address in Australia. PSMA Australia CEO Dan Paull says the potential uses for Geoscape are broadly spread across industry, business and government. PSMA partners, such as Pitney Bowes, are already combining Geoscape with additional attributes, including postcode data, to create enhanced products for their clients.
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“In effect, we are democratising the availability of this information,” Paull said. “We’re allowing it to be much more readily available by virtue of the new techniques that have been applied.”
SCALE OF GEOSCAPE Geoscape creates scope for innovation in areas as diverse as urban planning, emergency and disaster response management, insurance risk modelling and telecommunications thanks to its national scale. Access to an unprecedented level of detail on Australia’s built environment has the potential to accelerate decision-making for businesses and communities, increase efficiencies and open up new opportunities. The reason for this is simple: a lot of problems or questions require reliable information about the built environment for businesses and communities to develop adequate solutions. “The aim here is to provide much higher quality input for the sorts of work that people have already been undertaking, but also open up new opportunities with the availability of this data,” Paull said. “One of the most attractive things about this dataset is that, because it’s national, organisations and communities can use it to conduct national analysis and compare the results of those analytics across the country.”
GEOSCAPE USE CASES The potential applications for a product such as Geoscape are numerous. Information describing the built environment provides a valuable reference point for business intelligence and a
foundation for the internet of things (IoT). The introduction of self-driving cars and the ongoing emergence of smart cities, for instance, will transform the cities of the future, including how we map them. “Connected vehicles will not only provide a massive amount of information about the location of individual vehicles but also about all the other vehicles around you,” Paull said. Connecting this data to the buildings and key features of the city, to population movement and traffic flow enables smarter management of the city’s infrastructure. “Smart cities will benefit by being able to cost-effectively incorporate similar sensors into a variety of other static and dynamic infrastructure.” The value of this dynamic data is enhanced by its relationship with the more slowly changing built environment. Paull said that new business models for urban mobility could have enormous implications for the future shape of our cities. Paull also sees enormous potential for Geoscape to assist in emergency and disaster response planning and management by giving emergency crews and services fast access to critical information about the built environment. If there is a bushfire, for instance, emergency services could quickly assess which buildings are under threat, the total value of those buildings, and where people are likely to be located based on where those buildings are. They could also rapidly ascertain the location of assets such as swimming pools and other bodies of water. “That kind of information is incredibly important and having it readily available for anywhere in the country can
More information PSMA Australia has recently made a Geoscape Evaluation Dataset available for download at www.geoscape.com.au. This provides approximately 10 square kilometre area from Freeling a small town in SA with a reasonable representation of buildings with solar panels and properties with swimming pools.
dramatically improve the response from emergency services,” Paull said. In the insurance industry, Geoscape is expected to help companies better understand risk associated with buildings and accurately set premiums. PSMA says this could assist in customer retention and service, because the more information a company has on a customer and their surroundings, the quicker they will be able to confidently deliver them the right premium. There could also be scope for insurers to use Geoscape to take a more proactive approach in notifying their customers of a potential hazard – such as a large tree, if they live in a high wind area – before that hazard causes harm. For local and state governments, Geoscape could drive efficiencies and faster decisions in areas including urban planning, asset management and service delivery. Government agencies that undertake mass property valuations, such as for the setting of rates notices, could use Geoscape to increase the automation of those valuations. “The ability to generate valuations that are of high enough quality to support a rates determination, but at a lower cost, would be a good thing for both ratepayers and for taxpayers,” Paull said.
PITNEY BOWES AND GEOVISION PSMA says one of the strengths of Geoscape is that it can be combined with other datasets to describe the environment in even richer detail and answer more specific questions. A global technology company and an established leader in Location Intelligence for the last 30
years, Pitney Bowes, sees the increased opportunity to help customers to increase the value of location based data and deliver competitive advantage. Pitney Bowes has used Geoscape to create an enhanced product, GeoVisionTM, which includes additional content such as address, suburb and property details.
“Having comprehensive and accurate data of building footprints and the built environment nationally is something that hasn’t ever been available before. It’s a game changer.” Pitney Bowes Managing Director Nigel Lester describes Geoscape as unique and sees huge benefits for clients across government and the commercial sector. “Having comprehensive and accurate data of building footprints and the built environment nationally is something that hasn’t ever been available before. It’s a game changer,” Lester said. “We’re seeing great interest and excitement from our public sector customers for uses such as building and swimming pool compliance, planning and emergency response. Many of our clients work in the commercial sector in industries such as financial services, banking and insurance, and having that information is really critical for the work they undertake.
“This level of detail has never been available to them before so it’s going to really help those organisations make better and more accurate business decisions.” Pitney Bowes also has a strong focus on telecommunications and says the company is excited by the potential for Geoscape and GeoVision to assist telecommunications companies in building infrastructure, given factors such as building heights and line of sight are crucial in the planning process. “Understanding where buildings are, their height, how that may actually impede telecommunications signals is a really exciting use case for GeoVision,” Lester said. “The more we talk to our clients about GeoVision, the more excited they become and the more use cases we uncover.”
GLOBAL POTENTIAL Geoscape has already been rolled out for the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia and will include coverage of Sydney and New South Wales by mid-April. PSMA plans to complete its national rollout over the next 12 months, but believes the project could, ultimately, have global reach and be built and implemented for many countries around the world. Paull says the data could be used to accelerate land administration programs in developing countries and support initiatives conducted through the United Nations and the World Bank. “The benefit for individuals in that circumstance, from a rich and consistent dataset such as this one, could be dramatic especially at the scale of a country or even a whole continent,” Paull said. ■ www.spatialsource.com.au 27
INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON
Digital Earth & Locate17 03-06 April 2017 International Convention Centre Sydney DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION - OUR FUTURE Your Survival Guide to Locate17 and Digital Earth As Australasia’s biggest annual spatial event, the Locate Conference and Digital Earth Symposium, can be an intimidating affair. Not only does it combine two events, it spans four days, features eight separate subject streams, offers four free workshops, features a VIP event, awards night, networking functions and exclusive international assemblies. It’s safe to say that you won’t be able to experience everything that Locate17 and Digital Earth has to offer, but you can at least learn something new, find a few opportunity, or perhaps create some lasting connections with fellow attendees. Here’s your simplified guide to making the most of Locate17 and Digital Earth Symposium.
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Your conference checklist
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
ATTEND THE PLENARIES
It’s highly unlikely you’re familiarised with each of the streams on offer, so why not learn about Virtual Globes, Crowd-sorting or Data lakes?
there are more than ever this year, and just as many not to be missed. The plenaries take place on the morning of Wednesday 5 April as well as the morning and afternoon of the Thursday 6 April.
EXPERIENCE THE LATEST IN VR Many exhibitors such as Forum8 are expected to have the latest virtual reality headsets for attendees to use to explore immersive 3D spatial data.
LEARN FROM THE BEST
FIND OUT HOW REAL REALITY MODELLING IS
CONSULT WITH AN EXPERT (FOR FREE)
Speak to the likes of Nearmap, Spookfish, PSMA Australia, AEROMetrex to discover the amazing things being done with spatial data.
Many exhibitors and delegates are specialist consultants or academics that could be very expensive to speak to otherwise. Take the opportunity to make a valuable connection and learn from these industry leaders. Market Day on Tuesday 4 April is open to all.
WATCH OUT FOR MINISTERS Big-wigs of Australian parliament have been known to attend Locate. In 2015, we saw Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (then minister for communications) and last year Assistant Minister Angus Young appeared ahead of launching the Smart cities initiative. Who might it be this year?
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there’s nothing like putting what you’ve learned into practice, and starting from Monday 3 April, there are free workshops throughout the conference offering just that. Learn from the likes of NASA, OGC, Geoscience Australia, Cofluence, Jacobs and WA’s SPUR initiative.
ENJOY FREE PIZZA OVER A LAUGH Geospatial Meetup group GeoRabble will be hosting their free event during the free Locate Market Day on 5 April. Georabble involves sharing short, sharp, commercial free stories from a range of presenters, as well as quizzes, prizes and networking opportunities.
Plan ahead, choose which presentations will interest you and share your discoveries on social media.
TAKE PART IN A DEMO
Attend the APSEA awards dinner on 5 April to mingle with the best in the business and see who you will be hearing a lot more about over the coming years.
Position Partners have got a hold of one of the first Z+F 5016 laser scanners and will be using it to scan the new conference venue and the overpass bridge. The resulting 3D model will be shown at their stand.
INTRODUCE YOURSELF There will be all types of people at Locate and just as many opportunities. Speak up and you might find your next client, employee or just make a new friend.
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Positioning Australasia for Sustainable Dollars and Smiles MICHAEL POWELL AND DR RYAN KEENAN GNSS positioning constellations include GPS (US), GLONASS (Russia), BeiDou (China), Galileo (Europe), QZSS (Japan) and NAVIC/IRNSS (India).
Australia is uniquely positioned to beneﬁt from Japan’s QZSS augmentation constellation. Its satellites’ orbits are shown here.
The Positioning Program – a $34M research program undertaken by the Australia and New Zealand Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI), in collaboration with national and state government agencies, universities and private industry focuses on developing the capability for Australia and New Zealand to fully reap the benefits of the ever growing availability of signals from global and regional navigation satellite systems.
very time you use your mobile phone for navigation or to find your location, you are using one of the many global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) presently in orbit high above the Earth. The most well-known, and utilised, are GPS (US) and GLONASS (Russia), whilst newer systems include BeiDou (China), Galileo (Europe), QZSS (Japan) and NAVIC/IRNSS (India). The Asia/Oceania region has the unique advantage of being able to view all of these systems, bringing significant benefits in robust, real-time positioning, navigation and timing (PNT). Indeed, recent studies have identified the economic impact to existing and emerging industry sectors from ubiquitous access to high accuracy, real-time positioning is estimated to be $32 billion net gain to GDP over 20 years. The widespread adoption of GNSS positioning by all areas of industry and society has clearly demonstrated not only its benefits but also our dependence on it, and the need to be able to monitor its reliability of integrity.
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Closer to home, Geoscience Australia (GA) and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) are the government agencies responsible for building multiGNSS enabled real-time positioning infrastructure for our two nations. The CRCSI is working with these national agencies, along with a range of other partners, to undertake research and deliver outputs that will ultimately deliver real-time, centimetre-level multi-GNSS positioning solutions with integrity. Massive productivity benefits across a rapidly expanding range of applications built on real-time positioning and navigation will result. The ability to determine precise location anytime, anywhere, will quickly transition from the domain of professional users (such as government agencies) to consumer markets. Innovation will flourish, opening up applications and opportunities not previously countenanced. This will be a real boon for Australian industries relying on accurate and reliable positioning data.
Realising a new Precise Positioning Paradigm Achieving the goal of precise positioning requires intensive research and development, testing and implementation. The CRCSI is overseeing the R&D challenges together with partner organisations who are focusing on implementation across the spatial and related industries. In the meantime, providers of space infrastructure are working assiduously toward Full Operational Capability of their respective systems, which is generally expected to be around 2020. The primary research challenge for the CRCSI and its partners is to develop and implement a new positioning paradigm that exploits the advantages of multifrequency, multi-GNSS signals to deliver highly reliable, real-time positioning on a truly national basis with minimal supporting ground infrastructure (i.e. fewer Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS)).
To deliver this objective, PPP-RTK (precise point positioning – real-time kinematic) emerges as the solution of choice. PPP-RTK harmonises the respective advantages of PPP and RTK while overcoming the inherent limitations of the two approaches in isolation. The result is a method of positioning that merges the repeatable accuracy of RTK with the limited infrastructure characteristics and ubiquity of PPP. The CRCSI approach to implementing PPP-RTK takes advantage of the “undifferenced-uncombined” method of signal and data processing, offering flexibility, rigour and robustness to the user, regardless of the capabilities of their GNSS receivers.
Why We Need Precise Positioning The impact of the CRCSI’s Positioning Program will be felt most keenly when the first phase of the National Positioning Infrastructure (NPI) becomes operational towards 2020. The NPI will implement PPP-RTK in its most comprehensive form and, through commercial service providers,
will enable the rapid uptake and applications of a nationally ubiquitous real-time, precise positioning capability. Application domains will include intelligent transportation systems (ITS), precision agriculture, construction, logistics, machine automation and mining, as well as a range of commercial and consumer applications, including location based services (LBS) around people and asset tracking.
PPP-RTK Research Outcomes In addition to the considerable societal and economic impacts of this work, the CRCSI’s research on PPP-RTK has already generated three patent applications and attracted considerable global interest through a number of world-first science achievements, including: • First ever demonstration in Australia of remote guidance of an autonomous tractor using Japan’s Quasi Zenith Satellite System (QZSS). Achievable accuracy was demonstrated to be better than ±5cm in real-time, comparable to commercial Network RTK solutions, but off sparser ground infrastructure and without reliance on
SBAS Testbed for Australia Research collaboration using a satellite based augmentation system (SBAS) will lead to more accurate positioning services in Australia and New Zealand. The CRCSI will lead the industry program which evaluates applications on the newly announced SBAS testbed. CRCSI partners, Geoscience Australia and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) together with three global companies GMV, Inmarsat and Lockheed Martin will implement the SBAS testbed through a two-year project to evaluate three positioning signals for improved accuracy and integrity over Australia and New Zealand. In simple terms the SBAS satellite provides a cost effective way to improve GPS signals from around 5m in accuracy to less than 1m. Widespread adoption of improved positioning technology has the potential to generate $73 billion in value to Australia alone by 2030. This research is supported by a $12 million investment from the Australian Government and a further $2M from the New Zealand Government.
the mobile phone network. The project was undertaken in partnership with Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), as well as several academic and industry partners from Australia and Japan. World first integration of the new Chinese BeiDou satellite constellation with GPS to demonstrate the benefits for real-time positioning in obstructed environments such as large cities and open-cut mines. Development of new algorithms and software tools for the optimal and efficient integration and processing of signals from the new and existing GNSS positioning satellites from USA, Europe, Russia, China, Japan and India. World first integration of signals from Europe’s Galileo satellites along with GPS signals to demonstrate enhanced real-time positioning performance. Development of an indigenous capability for computing and delivering real-time, regionally enhanced BeiDou and QZSS orbit and clock products to support multi-GNSS positioning. Research undertaken by CRCSI partners continues to advance the applicability of PPP-RTK and several further developments are expected to be delivered prior to the end of 2018.
Sustainable Commercialisation and Utilisation Outcomes = ‘Dollars and Smiles’ Understandably, there is a large amount of high-quality and high-impact research
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being conducted simultaneously to ensure the successful and timely delivery of the NPI. Many of the individual research projects are stand-alone successes in their own right, for ‘raising the bar of innovation’ within their respective fields, such as 3D ionospheric modelling, near real-time zenith tropospheric delay estimation and multiconstellation PPP-RTK.
to support enhanced weather prediction by the Bureau of Meteorology. • Regional modelling of BeiDou orbits as an input to multi-GNSS data processing for PPP-RTK. • Development of a new geoid modelling capability to allow accuracy estimates for geoid heights be determined, as a world first capability, and released as AusGeoid2020. • Development of a PPP-RTK message for transmission to end users via satellite and demonstration of performance via QZSS LEX. The newly formed CRCSI Positioning Program Commercialisation Team have the task to drive both the commercialisation and utilisation of this comprehensive portfolio of world-leading intellectual property (IP), beyond the traditional spatial markets and into new consumer markets such as ITS, smartphone applications and asset management – all of which are eagerly demanding higher levels of GNSS positioning, accuracy and integrity. By focussing on these two goals, namely commercialisation and utilisation, the Team expects to: • generate return on investment for core partners through various licensing and royalty mechanisms, • accelerate the adoption of the CRCSI’s GNSS Positioning IP outcomes for the greater good of the community; and • raise the profile of Australasia’s GNSS expertise both regionally and internationally.
“Many existing and new industries can reap benefit from higher precision positioning data supplied by the multiple GNSS constellations. Combined with a variety of augmentation technologies real-time precise positioning data is now a reality.” While the development and implementation of PPP-RTK lies at the core of activities for the Positioning Program, a number of related research projects are also delivering high impact outcomes including: • Design and implementation of a true (3D) dynamic datum for Australia and New Zealand, with Australia’s GDA2020 to begin being used this year. • Development of a new ionospheric modelling capability with sufficient spatial and temporal resolution to support PPP-RTK ambiguity resolution. • A new multi-GNSS-enabled zenith tropospheric delay estimation capability
Many existing and new industries can reap benefit from higher precision positioning data supplied by the multiple GNSS constellations. Combined with a variety of augmentation technologies (CORS, GBAS, SBAS, etc.) real-time precise positioning data is now a reality. Mass market consumer devices now include high accuracy PNT capabilities and the list of new applications and services is growing every day. Michael Powell is the Positioning Program Business Development & Commercialisation Manager at CRCSI. Dr Ryan Keenan is Positioning Program Commercialisation Director at CRCSI. ■
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The democratisation of geography Crowdsourced geospatial data creates a new point of view in the science of map making.
fter three months of severe flooding, more than 20 lives had been lost in the state of Queensland. Torrential rains hitting the area between December 2010 and February 2011 caused billions of dollars of damage and changed lives forever. But despite their unprecedented severity—which to date remains a scar in the region’s memory—the Queensland floods also led to a digital revolution in crisis response. For the first time in Australia, crowdsourcing information was used by the mainstream broadcasters to report live events. In particular, an interactive mapping service was made available to the public where valuable information was captured in real time to help guide responses. The platform collected and aggregated information from a variety of sources, making it available to anyone with an internet connection. The crowdsourced mapping provided extremely valuable information and unique perspectives on the disaster that would not have been possible otherwise.
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Today, crowdsourcing information is also acting as an archive that can be studied to design better crisis measures for the future.
Citizen as sensors Public participation in mapping is changing the nature of geospatial data creation and use as we know it. Data arising from citizens is a rapidly emerging subject and its value and utility continues to grow. Scientists refer to such user-generated maps as neogeography, or a new way to chart physical places in combination with human presence, with our interaction patterns and perceptions. To understand the landscape of this new form of geographical information that can be created by anyone, and how it is shaped on a spatial and temporal scale, we need to understand how people interact with their space. Each of us leaves behind an invisible trail of data. To those who can read it, this digital jigsaw talks about our lives: what we buy, what we like to eat and watch on television, the places we call home and those that feel alien to us. Much of this so-called crowdsourced data can be exploited for commercial reasons, to create targeted advertisements.
People and the places where they reside are engaged in a continuing set of exchanges; they have determinate, mutual effects upon each other because they are part of a single, interactive system. Crowdsourced data, when publicly available, can also be used for the public good. And often people get together to build digital maps voluntarily, through smartphones, devices to detect pollution or video cameras, among many others. The term VGI (volunteered geographical information), created by researcher Michael Goodchild in 2007, refers to spatial data collected by volunteers, and has become increasingly popular as its applications multiply. For example, they play an important role in humanitarian and disaster response. In Haiti, volunteer-generated maps assisted disaster response efforts after the devastating earthquake struck in 2010. Similar teams of volunteer mappers ran to the rescue after the 2011 floods in Queensland and the Nepal earthquake in 2015. User generated maps reflect abrupt changes that conventional, more detailed mapping tools such as Google Maps are too slow to capture. Crisis response needs
passersby draws their own paths across the square, signalling where to design footpaths that serve them best.
Mapping the invisible The trail of data that people leave behind, intentionally or not, helps decision makers and businesses listen to the public. But it also raises ethical questions when the digital tools needed to democratise the landscape are not there, for example in developing countries. A large part of the population in the developing world doesn’t have access to the internet: in a landscape generated online, they are invisible. The digital divide is the next big challenge facing the spread of neogeography, but VGI experts are working to devise low-tech solutions that can help bridge the gap. For example, a simple first-generation smartphone can send SMS containing a location identifier to a central database. A central computer will in turn process the information using sophisticated technologies to build a map and investigate remote environments too expensive to monitor otherwise. A key example comes out of the Republic of Congo as part of the project
speed more than precision, and VGI combined with open source maps offers the perfect platform to inform aid providers on when and where their help is most needed. Another important advantage of crowdsourcing spatial information is that people’s input helps understand the cultural relevance of landmarks and shared spaces. It goes beyond describing a given space by putting its main physical features on paper. People’s views about their public places, the way they navigate them, and what activities can or cannot thrive in a certain place matter too, and often tell a very different story. For example, a community may give a special name to a certain landmark, a label that will most likely be missing from official maps, but that remains meaningful for the locals. This ‘democratisation of geography’, the process of capturing the human side of the landscape, is creating a new point of view in the science of map making. This means that people can play a part in how cities and other environments are shaped. Imagine a public space at the heart of a very dense urban centre, a patch of green that offers respite from the hectic city life. By stepping on the grass, a
COST Energic. A group of researchers encouraged indigenous communities to use VGI to collect information about their environment and issues that concern them, such as logging activities in the Brazzaville region. They provided people with mobile devices equipped with a bespoke monitoring application, so they could share information about their landscape, their sacred sites and whether industrial logging was damaging their environment. Projects arming people living off-grid with monitoring devices are multiplying, but they are mostly at an early stage. However, as portable technologies spread faster than ever, so is the power to use them to capture the landscape in a more meaningful way; putting people at the forefront of the interaction between humanity and the environment to better map our world. Ana Ouriques is the founder of Rüppells Griffon and has over 15 years of experience in providing geospatial intelligence solutions for numerous industries. Rüppells Griffon specialises in the use of geospatial analytics and technology to help businesses turn data into knowledge. ■
“Each of us leaves behind an invisible trail of data. To those who can read it, this digital jigsaw talks about our lives.” Indigenous communities from the Republic of Congo use VGI to collect information about their landscape including sacred sites and logging activity. Credit: Gill Conquest, ExCiteS.
Drones/RPAS/UAV Surveying’s new fact or another passing fad?
here are many names for them, and just as many opinions about their suitability as a survey tool. Based on inputs from industry experts, this article seeks to ascertain whether RPAS will redefine the act of surveying as we know it, or become just another hyped up ‘tool’ to add to the box. Some claim that the accessibility, lower cost and ease of use of drones, or RPAS as we’ll call them here, is progressing to the point that older surveying methods will become redundant. The counter argument lists a bevy of reasons—safety, privacy, reliability, batteries, sensors, training, georeferencing—why for most situations unmanned systems’ novelty is getting in the way of best practice.
If you listened to the hype If you paid too much attention to market reports and mainstream media’s coverage of RPAS, you would think they could solve just about any problem. They have promised to replace our conventional means to film you snowboarding; to deliver your pizza faster; and to spot sharks before you hop in the ocean. Why not, then, also replace surveyors and their slow and expensive methods to deliver surveys faster? You can certainly do some impressive things with RPAS that have captured the imaginations of would-be aerial surveyors. Every week there seems to be another RPAS that can perform another ‘first’ or offer something ‘unprecedented’.
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Among them: real-time data viewing and analysis; RPAS with LiDAR; RPAS with Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM); hyperspectral sensors; and autonomous systems that operate beyond visual line of site (BVLOS). Once you’ve landed your RPAS there’s also a plethora of software packages to ensure you make the most of your data. These are very exciting prospects and with them RPAS can in many cases perform better than other surveying methodologies. Where we find disagreement, however, is just how often RPAS does and will perform better. Anton van Wyk, director at Spatial Technologies Pty Ltd believes that the RPAS industry in Australia and the world is following the Gartner Hype Cycle (pictured). “As you can see, the ‘hype’ of commercial UAVs is not at its peak yet,” Van Wyk said. “Every man and his dog with a UAV or hobbyist with some drone flying experience are trying to get into this market.” However, what Van Wyk finds most disturbing is “how many of them claim expertise in surveying work.” “What we have found is that they do the flying on these projects, but because they do not know what they do not know, deliver incorrect or bad quality data. This has caused us to go back to customers and highlight the shortcomings and try and convince them that UAVs are the way to go, if done correctly.”
Van Wyk attributes Spatial Technologies Pty Ltd’s ability to have RPAS surveys “done correctly” to the company’s foundation in surveying, GIS and engineering. “We have been very successful in doing feature surveys using RPAS and exceeded the expectations of the customers,” he said. “This boils down to understanding accuracy and surveying in general.” However, Van Wyk has also come across many instances where he would strongly suggest not to use RPAS. In many cases, people’s desire to solve their problems with RPAS gets in the way of best practice. In one instance, Van Wyk received the following request: “I want to monitor a building roof with a drone.” After asking a few questions, Van Wyk decided that rather than RPAS, a 20 metre pole attached to the roof with a GoPro was the cheapest and best solution. Aerial Acquisitions is a Sydney-based aerial surveying firm operating both manned and unmanned aerial surveys. Director Max Eichorn also believes the advantages of RPAS as a survey instrument have been over-exaggerated. “The UAV industry always states the exaggerated cost of manned survey methods and claim they are the future,” he said. “The manned survey sector has evolved, with the development of extralarge format cameras, RADAR and LiDAR, but has not gained the public’s attention like UAVs.”
“After discussions with some UAV operators,” he said. “I question their claims of economy and even safety.”
Senior Director for Reality Modelling at Bentley Systems, John • RPAS: Remotely Piloted Aircraft System* Taylor believes that it is • UAV: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle what you wish to achieve • UAS: Unmanned Aerial System that should define the • UAVS: Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle System tools used. • RPAV: Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicle “The level of survey • Drone: a male bee, or a continuous low humming sound accuracy is always key to *The official name adopted by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority these debates," he said. "To say that UAV-based surveys do not deliver value discounts the relative accessibility It’s also not necessarily about the size that such systems offer, coupled with of a job, but what exactly you wish to solutions that enable non-surveyor achieve with the data collected. practitioners to process data and deliver Dr Roberts said that while it is not suitable results.” difficult to achieve better than 30mm in “There is also potential to improve position and 50mm in height with RPAS, going beyond that requires special expertise. the accuracy of the derived data through increasing use of PPK and RTK GPS “It is possible to improve this accuracy positioning and for many surveys the but this is where the skill of surveyor level of accuracy may be fit for purpose, is required,” he noted. “Understanding but in the short to medium term, there control surveying, error propagation and is a strong case to be made that these uncertainty, and suitable geometry on systems will not make other survey the ground and photogrammetrically is methods fully redundant.” crucial to squeeze extra performance out “Where high accuracy is required, then of commercial off-the-shelf UAS.” the traditional techniques will continue to Importantly, Dr Roberts also deliver the results,” Taylor said. highlighted that RPAS are generally inappropriate for cadastral surveys. “UAS cannot replace cadastral surveying When you CAN use them now as it is raster based and cadastral is Despite all of this, it is hard to disagree vector based and relies on monumentation that RPAS do have their place in not coordinates,” he explained. “It would surveying. Among other benefits, they take a change in legislation to enable this.” are very good for covering small areas
Can’t even agree on a name
When you SHOULD NOT use them You hear a lot about the endless possibilities of RPAS, but considerably less about their shortcomings. When, then, should we not use them? When looking to cover large areas, established remote sensing methods, including satellites and manned aircraft, have distinct economic benefits that are hard to beat. Flying RPAS over hundreds of hectares will quickly raise many issues such as battery life, the threat of eagles, propagation of errors and restrictive legislation. Dr Craig Roberts, a lecturer in surveying from UNSW’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, says that RPAS "are great for small scale mapping.” “If it starts getting too large," he said, "traditional photogrammetry with a manned aircraft becomes important.” At the other end of the spectrum, for small jobs, many ground-based methods are just as affective and devoid of the complications that RPAS bring. In urban areas or close to airports, it is very difficult—and indeed dangerous— to operate RPAS without special arrangements. Often a total station and a level is still the most accurate and economical means. These days there is a long list of methods available in this domain that might also perform better: laser scanning, photoreality modelling, simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM), or simply a tape measure.
Is there any problem RPAS cannot solve? Image: Flytrex
Peak of Inﬂated Expectations
COMMERCIAL UAVs (DRONES)
The ‘hype’ of commercial UAVs has not reached its peak. Data based on Gartner’s Hype Cycle, 2016.
Plateau of Productivity
Slope of Enlightment Trough of Disillusionment Technology Trigger
for a very reasonable price; fly at very specific times of day or with very short notice; and can carry sensors to otherwise inaccessible sites, such as roofs, cavities or cliffs. Australian UAV (AUAV) is one company pushing the boundaries of this technology for many types of surveys. Describing themselves as the nation’s “leading drone survey provider” they have flown over 3,000 RPAS flights for more than 200 clients in the past four years. AUAV’s director of operations in New South Wales, Andrew Chapman, says that “Anyone who views drone aerial data as a fad is likely to already be missing out on a lot of work, as companies which do offer this capability will be undertaking work at a much more competitive rate while also www.spatialsource.com.au 37
feature seasoned hands.”
Where is it heading?
Spatial Technologies Pty Ltd use RPAS and GNSS in conjunction.
delivering higher quality deliverables. Chapman says that like any tool, “drones can be applied appropriately with great results, or inappropriately.” “Although it doesn't make sense to be using them for cadastral survey or other small sites, for anything over about ten hectares and an accuracy requirement of five centimetres or less, they start to show significant efficiency gains,” he said. Chapman has also recognised a sort of sweet spot for RPAS surveying: “One key application is medium size areas, 30 to 300 hectares, where we can avoid a few days of physically difficult, boring or potentially dangerous field work for a surveyor.” However, AUAV is also covering sites of up to 5,000 hectares—jobs which Chapman finds “are just not feasible with traditional techniques, but are quite achievable with the right drone equipment and experience on hand.” AUAV services dozens of surveying firms that don't want to invest in or take the risk of purchasing RPAS and the training required. Often these services run alongside traditional survey methods such as aerial LIDAR, terrestrial LIDAR, traditional survey and manned aerial photogrammetry. “The best balance, as is often the case, is a mix of methodologies: drones for large areas when vegetation cover is not a restriction, manned aerial survey for very large areas (20,000 hectares and up) if the accuracy can be lower, and traditional methods otherwise,” he said. “The drones can handle the data gathering, leaving the surveyor to concentrate on the higher-value work of making the assessments and drafting drawings from that data.” Francois Gervaix is the surveying product manager at drone manufacturer and software provider senseFly. Like Chapman, Gervaix sees that the ‘challenges’ presented by some jobs, backed by the prospect of efficiency gains, are opening up survey work to
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RPAS operators. “It’s not at all unusual for customers to tell us that, with drones, they are doing the jobs that other surveyors often don't want to, or can't, do,” Gervaix said. “Many sites are challenging, due to access issues, regulatory issues, or often due to health and safety concerns,” he said. “UAV technology enables professionals to tackle projects on such sites quickly and effectively.” Another RPAS manufacturer, DJI, sees potential for surveying applications to benefit from multi-modal approaches involving RPAS. “It would be misleading to state that drones are the appropriate solution for every project, industry, and client,” said Jan Gasparic, Head of Enterprise Marketing at DJI. “Rather, we see drones supporting a photogrammetry workflow working in conjunction with high accuracy terrestrial laser scanners rather than displacing traditional methodologies.” “While quadcopters themselves are becoming very simple to use, deploying them to produce accurate data and interpreting it correctly will require
Volumetric calculations and modelling based on RPAS photogrammetry from Australian UAV. Source: auav.com.au
It is important to note that there are many ongoing advancements in unmanned technologies that will enable RPAS surveys to become even more economical, safer and reliable. Truly autonomous systems will reduce the need for human input; modernised Earth-fixed datums and smart processing algorithms will enable more people to achieve accurate and reliable results; improved battery technology will keep RPAS flying longer; the growing approvals of BVLOS operations will make large surveys more common; and the establishment of a UTM (air traffic management systems for drones) will reduce safety concerns. While it might take quite some time for these benefits to be realised, they will only increase adoption of these technologies. Gavin Docherty, Position Partners RPAS Product Manager, believes as advancements such as these take hold, more conventional survey tasks will be able to be done with RPAS. “Survey tools have traditionally been classified into the following general classes: precision, accuracy and data logging capabilities,” he explained. “It is very clear that the three dimensional data logging capabilities are far more comprehensive than traditional surveying methods and the precision and accuracy is within comparable limits.” For Docherty, what stands in the way for many companies is deciding whether RPAS is a viable option for surveying operations in terms of safety, staffing requirements, training and ease of use. “At this time there is a very distinct divide between companies that can’t see how they can compete without an RPAS and other companies that can’t see how
A digital elevation model of a quarry created by Australian UAV. Source: auav.com.au
to seamlessly incorporate an RPAS into their existing organisations,” he said. Dr Craig Roberts sees that in the coming years allied professionals may gain some expertise for basic UAS tasks that will improve workflows, such as conducting mine volume surveys with intuitive processing software. However for jobs requiring higher quality he believes “surveyors will still be needed to ensure the quality of georeferencing.”
Consensus: it's ‘tool’ time Returning to the original question: Will RPAS forever change surveying as we know it or are they another passing fad? It turns out it’s a bit of both. Interestingly, the question gets many experts talking about RPAS as a ‘tool’. Craig Roberts, for example, sums it up thus, “UAVs will be just another tool.” So too does Jan Gasparic see it that way: “Ultimately drones are another tool in the surveyor’s arsenal, albeit one that is improving in leaps and bounds.” Similarly, Francois Gervaix expresses a firm belief that RPAS will follow the path of total stations and GNSS: “Drones are not a fad. But neither are they going to replace every surveying instrument being used today. We firmly believe that drones will cement their place in the toolkit of every professional surveyor in the coming years, much as total stations and GNSS did before them.” Andrew Chapman puts it down to how they are used: “Like any tool, drones can be applied appropriately with great results,
or inappropriately. They are certainly not a complete replacement for traditional survey techniques, though when the survey task at hand is a good fit for their capabilities, the benefits are simply overwhelming.” Max Eichorn describes a false economy for their hype, but concedes they do have their place in surveying: “I believe the limitations, both technical and legal, make them a false economy, except for as a useful tool for some survey operations.” Although he doesn’t describe RPAS as a tool, Gavin Docherty believes RPAS is here to stay: “The fact remains, as long as RPAS operators are producing high quality, accurate data sets in a fraction of the time as traditional methods, RPAS will be an option that remains on the table for a long time to come.” As does John Taylor: “If UAVs can deliver both accuracy and efficiency at a price that effectively competes in the
market, then naturally it will become the dominant capability.” Anton Van Wyk, however, believes we need to focus on the results rather than the methods: “We are managing the fad and the fact until we reach the plateau of the Hype Cycle and we can get on with business at hand—collecting data using technology responsibly.” While it may be impossible to come to any sort of consensus, it’s reasonable to say that RPAS is here to stay as a surveying tool, but so are the rest of a surveyor's tools. If we are ever to realise wider community benefit and greater productivity in the verticals that might benefit from RPAS surveys it might be worth our while to make the limitations of these systems more well known, as well as the benefits the alternatives will continue to offer. After all, it’s the implementation of methodologies that will ultimately define a survey’s true worth, not the tool. Anthony Wallace is the editor of Position Magazine and Spatial Source. He thanks all those who took part in the article and welcomes others to partake in the ongoing discussion. ■
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The Digital Surveyor: a changing role into the future
In a recent Spatial Source interview NSW Surveyor General Narelle Underwood outlined surveyor’s growing role as data managers. As accurate spatial data becomes more accessible to non-surveyors, she envisions “the surveyor’s role will be to provide advice around accuracy and standards in order to make sure the data is fit for purpose.” Speaking from decades of experience, Graham Wirth discusses just how this change may unfold and how to make the most of it. GRAHAM WIRTH
SW Surveyor General Narelle Underwood’s forecast of the next five years in Surveying is very solid – we are currently seeing the effects of this changing nature of data capture and management. Australian Surveyors, and our spatial industry as a whole, are very advanced by comparison with those of many other regions. Adoption of state-of-theart data capture equipment, methods and management has been immense to date, and it is evident that this trend will continue into the future. The Australian spatial industry is a world leader that other regions will look to for direction and trends. Traditional survey methods continue and will survive, in part because a large portion of survey data is historical in nature. However, as Ms Underwood states, new technologies are enabling nonsurveyors to provide captured data and information. This is a dangerous situation and one that requires legislation and
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monitoring to ensure the end users of this information receive ‘fit for use’ spatial data. With the advent of drones, scanning and BIM, many formats use a flat earth format. On a small scale such as a building structure this is sufficient, but for looking at this data on a regional scale, it falls short. Geodetic and scaling factors must be applied to provide data that is ‘fit for use’ for regional or larger areas. Software providers work to supply software applications for surveyors to apply geodetic transformations in order to ensure their clients receive real world information. Surveyors are the best suited professionals to ensure this information is correct, and this will be an important foundation of the role into the future. As data managers, Surveyors are faced with many challenges, and are responsible for ever increasing spatial and metadata information sets. Much of this data is of a basic x,y,z nature, without attributes and quality assurance (QA) information. Software providers such as 12d Solutions
has developed applications to not only to view this data, but also to apply practical tools to utilise, extract, section and manage the point cloud data to a usable size and format for their end users. These include civil designers, architects, construction contractors and government agencies. It is clear, then, that a Surveyor’s role into the future will not diminish. The Australian digital end-toend cadastral lodgment of property development is ongoing. This also ensures an exciting digital future for Surveyors. This planning and developmental transition requires quality applications to ensure surveyors have the tools to provide individual Australian state authorities with the required digital formats. The Surveyor’s role will, in fact, increase in the future, with the need to provide digital QA, As-Constructed and metadata to all clients, agencies and authorities. The development of the ADAC standards and others has only increased the need for professional survey management.
With current trends in survey equipment and the demands placed upon the survey industry to merge historical, current and future survey data, we have seen survey equipment manufacturers moving towards windows Tablet PCs. These – compared with CE platform controllers and data collectors – provide surveyors with a ‘fit for purpose’ platform to manage their future needs. The office software will be the field software. This continuing hardware development for data capture and setout means the professional surveyor must have the best application tools. Companies such as 12d Solutions, whose 12d Field modules were added to 12d Model from 2008, have seen and acted upon this need for software to meet the requirements of the future. The current NorthConnex tunnelling project in Sydney is an excellent example of the surveyor’s future role. With the use of 12d Field and Leica’s MS50 and 60 scan stations, this project’s surveyors can deliver previously unheard-of time savings in capture and subsequent QA reporting of the tunnel excavation. This project will, at its peak, have more than 19 roadheader tunnelling machines running simultaneously. 12d Model and 12d Field provide the tools to create the tunnel surface using Trimesh solid surface modelling. The scanned excavated or finished tunnel sections are captured live into 12d Field, providing the contractor with live information for areas requiring rework, QA reporting and as-constructed point clouds with rich attribute information. All survey data for the project is managed through the 12d Synergy data management system – another way in which the industry is rapidly changing
“This is a dangerous situation and one that requires legislation and monitoring to ensure the end users of this information receive ‘fit for use’ spatial data.” using data collaboration solutions. This NorthConnex tunnelling project is an intensely demanding environment for surveyors and tunnellers alike, but with 12d Software tools and the latest scanning survey equipment, a mammoth task has been made surmountable. It is clear that the role of the Surveyor in the future will continue to evolve, as it has over the past 30 years. We’ve gone from field books and notes to large point cloud data sets, and adapting to these changes will continue to provide challenges we
will face with the same alacrity we as an industry have always shown…and with software developments there to help us manage future digital formats as they arise, that future looks bright indeed. The sky is, in fact, not the limit! Graham Wirth has extensive industry experience as a survey manager building major Sydney infrastructure projects such as the M2 Motorway and the Cross City Tunnel. He is now a product manager with Australian surveying and civil software company, 12d Solutions. ■
Our rising oceans present challenges for natural and manmade coastal environments. GNSS is helping to provide a solid foundation for research on the rates and effects of sea level change.
or thousands of years, sea level has served as an essential, visible physical standard that affects natural and human processes. But it’s not a constant. Rapid, obvious changes in coastal water levels are caused by tides and storms. Millennial-scale, climateinduced changes are less noticeable on human timescales, but they represent a moving baseline for the local and rapid changes. Sea level changes affect marine ecosystems, habitats, shoreline and wetland erosion and accretion processes as well as human population centers. In the face of rising seas and oceans, it’s imperative to have accurate and reliable water level data in coastal areas. Sea level measurements from tide gauges provide scientists with quantitative evidence of local sea level ranges. The data includes seasonal (temperature and density-related) water level changes as well as major sea level excursions due to storm surges and tsunami waves. With sufficient data, scientists can derive official tidal datums such as mean low water, mean sea level and mean high water – all of which carry legal implications for mapping and charting, navigation and boundary designation. Even longer datasets can provide longterm information on sea level trends and rates of change including those associated
Carrie Bow Cay Field Station is home to Smithsonian’s research station, supporting small teams of scientists with housing and lab facilities.
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with anthropogenic climate change. To understand the local impacts of rising sea levels, researchers use direct measurements of water levels, tidal ranges and rates of change. They determine their spatial and functional relationships to a variety of tidal and shallow water ecosystems and coastal geomorphology closely tied to sea level. Knowledge of modern tidal datums and their relationships to sea-level tracking ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves and salt marshes are also essential to geologists who interpret the geo-biologic record of these environments to reconstruct paleo sea levels. The work brings together experts in coastal oceanography, geology, ecology, geodesy and marine biology. Dr. Maggie Toscano, a coastal oceanographer with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), has long-standing research interests in sea level change. An expert in coastal and Quaternary (glacial-interglacial cycles) geology, Toscano’s work utilizes a paleoecological perspective involving geologic “remote sensing” techniques including collecting and interpreting deep cores into fossil coral reefs and peat deposits. Toscano uses geochemical dating techniques to reconstruct development of biogenic deposits that have kept pace with varying rates of sea level rise over thousands of years. This work requires a thorough understanding of how these biological systems function in the modern ocean. “Because we tend to use biogenic recorders such as coral reef and intertidal mangrove deposits as paleo sea level gauges, it becomes very important to understand the modern tide regime
in the places where we’re working,” Toscano explained. “Understanding the modern ecosystem’s relationship to tides and rates of sea level rise is essential to understanding the geologic record of sea level change.” Scientists like Toscano are worried about whether mangroves and other shallow water ecosystems can keep pace with accelerating rates of sea level rise. In the past few years, Toscano’s focus has widened to include modern sea level research as a means of documenting ongoing changes with actual measurements in the remote areas she studies.
How to Measure a Moving Target When observing Earth’s systems, scientists seek to gather long-term measurements by going back in time as far written records allow. While tide gauges have been used for centuries to aid in navigation, physical instruments are not uniformly available. But the Caribbean region has had only limited instrumentation and little to no decadal data is available to determine rates of sea level rise and assess impacts of changing water levels on biological systems. For the past 15 years, Smithsonian was the only organization collecting tidal data in Belize and, until very recently, the only western Caribbean country north of Panama (also Smithsonian) actively collecting tidal/sea level data. Through her involvement with NOAA and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s Caribbean Tsunami Warning Network, Toscano and her Smithsonian colleagues learned how to build a modern tide station. Based on specifications defined for “Sentinel
Sea Level Sites,” modern tide stations include geodetic control networks of benchmarks, regular GPS/GNSS surveying, stable instrument platforms and state of the art tide gauges. They were awarded a major Smithsonian Grand Challenges grant to build four such stations from Maryland to Panama.
Global Data, Local Results The study of sea level demonstrates how global changes can produce local effects. Dr. Philippe Hensel, a geodesist with the U.S. National Geodetic Survey (NGS) said that while sea levels are rising globally, local or regional impacts vary widely. Rates of sea level change are influenced by vertical land movements (uplift or subsidence) as well as thermal properties of seawater and changes in local currents. As a result, the rates can vary significantly from one location to the next. In order for scientists to produce accurate results, they need long-term, site-specific information. “We all know that global sea levels are rising,” Hensel explained, “but local effects of sea level change can be very different. Local ocean currents and vertical land motion will leave a much more nuanced signal on sea level change locally. So we’re emphasizing the fact that local coastal habitats are responding to local changes in sea level.” For much of the coastal research work, consistent local data is more important than developing absolute elevations tied to a national or global datum. According to Hensel, the key to accurate observation of any water level is confirmed stability of the gauges and sensors used to measure water depths. Researchers reduce water level observations to monthly means or datum estimates and track the data over time. But a sensor’s location itself might be unstable—perhaps it’s on a pier or heavy structure slowly subsiding into coastal sediments. As a result, the water level recorder will record an apparent rise in sea level, which in fact may be more related to the sinking of the pier than to actual rising of the ocean. So it’s very important to conduct regular level measurements of tidal benchmarks, and to confirm the stability and calibration of the sensors. Leveling between a benchmark and sensor does not reveal information about local, vertical land motion. That’s where GNSS comes in. “If you do routine GNSS measurements every year and take multiple, long static sessions, then you should be able to identify any local vertical land motion which can be compared to the sea level change data,” Hensel said.
Tidal Datum at Carrie Bow Cay One of Maggie Toscano’s mangrove study sites is on Twin Cays, Belize, about 18 km off the mainland coast and 3.5 km northwest of Smithsonian’s Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems (CCRE) on the tiny island of Carrie Bow Cay. Established in 1973, the Carrie Bow Cay Field Station (CBC) provides housing, labs and support facilities for scientists studying the area’s coral reefs and mangrove and seagrass ecosystems. The station has had an environmental monitoring system since 1999 using a multisensor sonde, an instrument that measures water quality parameters such as temperature, pH, salinity and depth, as well as functioning as a tide gauge. But after nearly 50 years of exposure to seawater the dock is showing its age and could no longer be considered stable. During a 2011 visit to CBC, Toscano and Dr. Patricia Delgado worked with Hensel to establish a pair of deep-rod bench marks on the island. They placed two more bench marks in the mangrove areas at Twin Cays. Hensel then performed several simultaneous, long-observation GNSS sessions on the four bench marks. He post-processed the data using the NGS Online Position User Service (OPUS) to produce baseline 3D data tied to geodetic control on the mainland. The team also used optical leveling to connect the points on CBC, and tie to markers on the island’s dock and water-level gauge. As part of the MarineGEO Program, scientists want marine monitoring to be as accurate as possible in order to provide context for the ecological changes. In 2015 a new instrument platform was installed at CBC, roughly 75m off the island’s north end. The platform pilings were driven to refusal at approximately 8m and provide a stable structure for monitoring. The new tide station instruments include a radar gauge suspended over the water on a braced beam; a below-sea level pressure gauge; a data logger; solar power equipment and a GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) transmitter. In order to provide elevation control for the new platform, geodetic surveyor Tim Smith for the U.S. National Park Service accompanied Toscano to CBC. Smith used Trimble R8s GNSS receivers to resurvey the existing CBC and Twin Cays bench marks as well as to establish a geodetic control point on the new platform. Placing one R8s on the island’s primary control point, he collected six, 24-hour static data sets while using the other R8 to collect static and fast-static data. He tied in the point on the instrument platform with 12 hours of static observations. Smith
“Understanding the modern ecosystem’s relationship to tides and rates of sea level rise is essential to understanding the geologic record of sea level change.”
Maggie Toscano prepares to transfer height from the platform benchmark to new tide station instruments. The platform will provide sea level data to support research in the water and islands around Carrie Bow Cay.
sent the Trimble data to Hensel, who will conduct detailed analyses and compare it with the earlier data sets before providing results to the Smithsonian. With the geodetic control points in place, Toscano and other scientists have a solid basis for leveling to tide gauges and other instruments. They intend to make repeated measurements to the CBC control points over the coming years. The data can add confidence to the accuracy of water levels and help determine if changes in water depth are due to changes in the land or other causes. Using the upgraded facilities, Toscano and colleagues look forward to expanding their work and facilitating other research in the region. “The geodetic infrastructure and the baseline GPS data we already have are major research assets at this remote location,” she said. “The scientific possibilities are very exciting.” John Stenmark is a writer and consultant working in the geospatial and associated industries. He has more than 25 years of experience in applying advanced technology to surveying and related disciplines. ■ www.spatialsource.com.au 43
Multi-band, multiconstellation GNSS
PhotoMesh 3D output inside TerraExplorer showing 3D the viewshed analysis tool.
Skyline PhotoMesh 3D visualisation software and services provider, Skyline Software Systems, has announced the release of the second generation of the PhotoMesh software suite. As part of its new SkylineGlobe products, the latest iteration of PhotoMesh incorporates breakthrough edge-extraction algorithms, noise removal, improved colour texturing, and optimised point cloud densification for improved geometric quality. Utilising parallel processing techniques and access to Cloud Web Services, Skyline can produce high-
quality 3D PhotoMesh with unlimited scale, surpassing processing capacity of 1 million Megapixels per day. Skylineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 3D Development Team has implemented innovative new features in PhotoMesh 7.1, targeting high quality standards such as sharper geometric characteristics and enhanced texture selection for cleaner visual 3D scenes. For mapping and engineering requirements, a new ground control point interface and workflow enables high accuracy projects and geodetic control networks to be incorporated into the process.
Swift Navigation is building centimetreaccurate GPS technology aimed to power a world of autonomous vehicles. Its latest product, the Piksi Multi, is a multi-band, multi-constellation high-precision GNSS receiver. Measuring in at 48 x 71mm, the new Piksi Multi aims to create a revolution in advanced precision GNSS capabilities for the mass market. Piksi Multi supports GPS L1/L2 and is hardware-ready for GLONASS G1/G2, BeiDou B1/B2, Galileo E1/E5b, QZSS L1/L2 and SBAS. Multiple signal bands enable convergence times measured in seconds, not minutes. With a US$600 price tag, Piksi Multiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s centimeter-accurate performance might just be able to bring multi-GNSS to the masses. Swift Navigation is taking preorders and expected Piksi Multi to ship in the first half of 2017. Piksi Multi is an open platform. Customers are able to run Linux OS on its second core; allowing them to quickly prototype and adopt their own applications.
6 million points per second LiDAR Leica Geosystems have announced the release of the Leica SPL100 as part of the RealTerrain reality capture solution, enabling airborne professionals to more efficiently collect and process LiDAR data of large areas day or night. Combining the SPL100 single photon LiDAR (SPL) and imaging sensor with Leica HxMap, the scalable post-processing workflow software, RealTerrain enables the efficient collection and rapid processing of large area LiDAR data sets. SPL100 collects an unprecedented 6 million points per second with 100 output beams, and HxMap provides a complete single-interface post processing
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platform to create industry standard LiDAR and image data products. The efficiency gained by SPL100 acquisition and HxMap data processing enable larger and more frequent LiDAR data acquisition for applications such as dense vegetation mapping and change detection. SPL100 is the first sensor to be released by Leica Geosystems using Sigma Space technology since its acquisition by Hexagon last year. This new and innovative technology was originally developed in collaboration with NASA and will be used on its ICESat-2 satellite mission in 2018.
Cloud-based utility detection and mapping platform
Unmanned aerial system for enterprise Drone technology giants, DJI, have released the new Matrice 200 (M200) series of professional level drone suitable for aerial surveys. The UAV is purpose-built for aerial inspections and data collection–and claims to make drone technology an affordable and easy-to-use tool for enterprises to use aerial imaging to transform operations. The M200 series features a folding body and is easy to carry and set up, with a weather- and water-resistant body. It offers DJI’s first upwardfacing gimbal mount, opening up the undersides of bridges, towers and other structures to inspection. It is compatible with DJI’s X4S and X5S cameras, as well as the high-
powered Z30 zoom camera and the XT camera for thermal imaging. It has a forward-facing first-person view camera, allowing a pilot and a camera operator to monitor separate images on dual controllers. Its safety features include obstacle avoidance sensors facing forward, upwards and downwards, as well as an ADS-B receiver for advisory traffic information from nearby manned aircraft. The M200 series comes in three versions: the standard M200, the M210 that enables multiple payload configurations, and the M210 RTK, which also offers centimetre-precision navigation.
Leica Geosystems has teamed up with Geolantis to provide an enterprise-grade cloud-based utility mapping solution for all Leica Geosystems Detection products. With the addition of Geolantis’ cloud based solutions, users of Leica Geosystems detection systems, GIS collectors, and GNSS positioning systems can now manage projects, tasks and spatial data from one central dashboard- the Leica DX Manager. The platform allows users to locate, map and share subsurface utility information simultaneously. The Leica DX Manager expands the possibilities of mobile data collection by combining functions from utility surveying, GIS, CAD and asset management into an easy-to-use mobile interface. With the integrated Geolantis software, users of Leica Geosystems detection solutions, like the DS2000, can integrate location data and apply locator depth measurements to GNSS measurements. The Leica DX Manager is available now across Australia from C.R.Kennedy.
High performance laser scanning range
Position Partners has announced a new distribution agreement with German laser scanner manufacturer Zoller + Fröhlich (Z+F) to offer a range of Z+F laser scanners throughout Australia, New
Zealand and Papua New Guinea (PNG). Position Partners will offer the popular Z+F IMAGER 5010 series as well as the new Z+F IMAGER 5016, a compact, high performance instrument
that delivers more than one million points per second up to distances of 360 metres. The 5016 model comes packed with features that competing models don’t have, including IMU, GPS, Compass, Barometer and built-in HDR camera. Z+F scanners have a unique in-field registration workflow, called the Blue workflow, which cuts out a lot of time and ensures users capture the data they need while on site. All Z+F scanner purchases include a free trip for one attendee to receive manufacturer training at Z+F’s headquarters in Germany. Visitors to the exhibition halls of Locate17 and Digital Earth Symposium this April will be able to join Position Partners in a live demonstration of one of the first ever Z+F 5016 3D laser scanners.
News and views from the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute
Gaby van Wyk
e are coming to the end of a very long and busy month. A lot has happened, much of it related to final preparations for the Locate conference.
Locate17 When the Locate conference was formed, one of the key founding principles was to reduce the number of national spatial conferences in Australia and have a single conference for all spatial disciplines. Therefore, the Locate Conferences leadership under SSSI and SIBA have worked hard to ensure that our conference is open to all players in the industry. To that end the conference organisers have:
• Offered membership rates to all players in the spatial industry who were willing to accept. • Included streams for most spatial disciplines. • Included special events such as a Cadastral Workshop and a special Young Professional event • We have involved leaders from organisations such as ISNSW, MSIA and various government agencies. • We will also have in attendance leaders from BOSSI, ISNZ, ISNSW, ASPNG, overseas Surveyors General many other global leaders in spatial. • Several organisations that have board or council meetings during the conference include SSSI, SIBA, ISDE, UNGGIN Asia Pacific and ANZLIC.
ISDE Collaboration SSSI and the International Symposium for Digital Earth (ISDE) have agreed that continued collaboration in line with the joint Locate17 conference will benefit both organisations. We have therefore drafted an MOU that is currently being reviewed by both organisations and will be signed during the conference. This continues SSSI’s drive to strengthen international ties and will provide our members with many more international opportunities.
Professional Standards Committee It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Professional Standards Standing Committee has now been finalised. This committee is probably one of our most
important committees in that it builds on the proud traditions of our parent organisations such as ISA, AURISA and others to uphold our Institute’s Ethical and Professional Standards. It is made up of respected members of the Institute who have gone through a tough vetting process to be admitted to this committee. We therefore want recognise these individuals who not only have impeccable credentials, but are also prepare to serve our community. They are: • Peter Barr - NSW (HC) • Peter Byrne - WA (LSC) • Andrew Edwards - TAS (LSC) • Sarah-Jane Edwards - WA (SICC) • Bill Kearsley - NSW (LSC) • Dipak Paudyal - QLD (RS&PC) • Russell Priebbenow - QLD (LSC) • Mike Stapleton - ACT (LSC)
Financial Risk and Audit Standards Committee Our financial risk and audit committee is tasked to advise the board in terms of a range of financial matters. The institute no longer has a single treasurer with this type of responsibility but we have tasked this group of members to jointly take on this responsibility. All the members on this committee have proven track records and we are proud to announce their inclusion: • Simon Ironside - NZ (HC) • Alex Leith - TAS (SICC) • Rob McCauley - ACT (LSC) • Peter Swan - QLD (LSC) Gaby van Wyk SSSI President
10TH INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON
Digital Earth & Locate17 03-06 April 2017 International Convention Centre Sydney DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION - OUR FUTURE
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SSSI sustaining partners
SSSI Board – 2017 President – Gaby van Wyk President-Elect – TBC
Node in the Network Winners of the Future!
In this period of seemingly continuous change and disruption, the winners of the future won’t be the kings of the castles, but in fact, the nodes in the network! - Anonymous
ACT Director – Mike Stapleton NSW Director – Zaffar Mohamed Ghouse NT Director – Rob Sarib QLD Director – Lee Hellen SA Director – Franco Rea TAS Director – Alex Leith VIC Director – Vacant
heard this statement during one of the presentations at the Ozri Conference in 2015, and I wish for the life of me that I could remember who said it so I could duly acknowledge them. This concept of ‘nodes in the network’ enters my mind over and over again when I consider SSSI’s role in the spatial industry, academia, government, the professions and our community more generally. The reason is that I believe that the most important function that SSSI can perform, and therefore deliver benefits to our members and the profession more generally, is to be a key ‘node in the network’. What does that exactly mean? Well, I hope the remainder of this article will inform the reader of the multitude of connections SSSI maintains for the benefit of our members, and the wider community of surveying and spatial professional working in Australia and overseas. I will start with our connections to a number of international organisations: • International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) (www.fig.net) – Although SSSI applauds the involvement of a number of our Australian universities and TAFE colleges who are Academic Members of FIG, SSSI is the only full Member Association for Australia representing the interests of our members on the international stage. A number of our members are deeply involved in the various FIG Commissions, providing a voice from an Australian perspective, and in turn, bringing new ideas and innovations back to our members. Some people are of the view that FIG activities are only relevant to SSSI’s members aligned to our Land Surveying Commission, but if you dig a little deeper you will see that FIG activities are relevant to all the professions we represent.
Former President – Bernard O’Sullivan
• International Society of Photogrammetry & Remotes Sensing (ISPRS) (www.isprs. org) – Once again, SSSI is the only full Member Association of ISPRS representing Australia, with our members contributing to a number of working groups within the five ISPRS Commissions – I-Sensor Systems, IIPhotogrammetry, III-Remote Sensing, IV-Spatial Information Science, V-Education and Outreach. Asian Association on Remote Sensing (A.A.R.S.) (www.a-a-r-s.org) – SSSI is the member association for Australia, with representation via our Remote Sensing & Photogrammetry Commission. United States Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) (www.urisa.org) – SSSI is an Affiliated Organisation of URISA. SSSI and URISA have an annual exchange program and SSSI is licensed to deliver a modified version of the URISA GISP certification program to spatial professionals here in Australia. International Cartographic Associations (ICA) (icaci.org) – Although the Mapping Science Institute of Australia (MSIA) is the national Member representing Australia, SSSI is an Affiliate Member of the ICA. International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) (www.iho. int) - The IHO is the international inter-governmental organisation representing hydrography. While SSSI is not directly a member of this organisation, the Institute has a close association via members of our Hydrography Commission with the Australian Department of Defence - Australian Hydrographic Service (www.hydro.gov.au), which is the member organisation of IHO.
WA Director – Kerry Smyth Hydrography Commission Director – Richard Cullen YP representative (Observer) – Richard Syme Company Secretary – Jonathan Saxon
Commission Chairs Engineering & Mine Surveying A/g Chair Bernard O’Sullivan email@example.com Hydrography Commission Chair Richard Cullen firstname.lastname@example.org Land Surveying Commission Chair Lindsay Perry email@example.com Remote Sensing & Photogrammetry Commission Chair Craig Smith firstname.lastname@example.org Spatial Information & Cartography Commission Chair Hanno Klahn email@example.com
Regional Committee Chairs ACT Regional Chair – Greg Ledwidge firstname.lastname@example.org NSW Regional Chair – Zaffar Mohamed Ghouse email@example.com NT Regional Chair – Rob Sarib firstname.lastname@example.org QLD Regional Chair – Roy Somerville email@example.com SA Regional Chair – Franco Rea firstname.lastname@example.org TAS Regional Chair – Alex Leith email@example.com VIC Regional Chair – Werner Hennecke firstname.lastname@example.org WA Regional Chair – Kerry Smyth email@example.com SSSI National Ofﬁce 27-29 Napier Cl, Deakin, ACT 2600 (PO Box 307) Phone: +61 2 6282 2282 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
sssi • International Society of the Digital Earth (ISDE) (www.digitalearth-isde. org) – A number of our SSSI members are members of the ISDE. SSSI and SIBA are joining with the ISDE to deliver the ISDE10/Locate17 Conference from 4-6 April this year in Sydney. In addition to being a member or affiliate of these international organisations, SSSI has entered into Memoranda of Understanding with a number of overseas organisations to create closer cooperation, share information and look for opportunities to promote the professions. Those organisation including: • New Zealand Institute of Surveyors (NZIS) (www.surveyors.org.nz) • The Association of Surveyors Papua New Guinea (ASPNG) (www.aspng.org) • United Kingdom Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES) (www.cices.org) • Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) (www.urisa.org) At the time of writing, we are also in the process of becoming a members of the International Property Measurement Coalition (IPMC) and developing an MoU with the Fijian Institute of Surveyors. SSSI has also entered into MoUs with a number of associated national organisations including: • Mapping Sciences Institute of Australia (MSIA) (mappingsciences.org.au) • Australasian Hydrographic Society (AHS) (www.ahs.asn.au) • Australian Institute of Mine Surveyors (AIMS) (www.minesurveyors.com.au) • The Institution of Surveyors, NSW (ISNSW) (www.surveyors.org.au) Particular mention also needs to be made of our special relationship with the Spatial Industries Business Association (SIBA) (www.siba.com.au). In addition to the MoU that exists between the two organisations, we are jointly responsible for conducting the annual Locate Conference, and the
Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards (APSEA). There are also a number of other points of intersection and cooperation between both organisations at the state and national level. In terms of government interactions, SSSI at various times has close interaction with a number of commonwealth government departments and committees including: • Australian and New Zealand Land Information Council (ANZLIC) (www.anzlic.gov.au) • Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) (www.dpmc.gov.au) • Geosciences Australia (GA) (www.ga.gov.au) • Public Sector Mapping Authority (PSMA) (www.psma.com.au) • Australian Geospatial Intelligence Organisation (AGO) (www.defence.gov.au/ago) • Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) (www.acma.gov.au) • Department of Education and Training (DET) (www.education.gov.au) • Department of Immigration and Border Protection (www.border.gov.au) While there are too many to mention, we also have close relationship with various state and territory government departments services the community in the following areas: • Land Title Registration and Mapping • Planning and Infrastructure • Natural Resource Management • Transport and Main Roads • Ports and Waterways • Land Surveyor Licensing Boards SSSI also has a close association with a number of universities, research and tertiary education institutions around the country. Although there are also too many to mention, I would point to SSSI’s association with: • Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (www.crcsi.com.au) • Australasian Spatial Information
Research and Education Association (ASIREA) (www.asiera.org.au) • Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) (www.aisc.net.au). Although SSSI is primarily focussed on servicing the needs of the spatial professional, I would also like to highlight our interactions with the various suppliers of services to the industry: • DigitalGlobe (www.digitalglobe.com) • Position Magazine/Spatial Source (www.spatialsource.com.au) • Esri Australia (esriaustralia.com.au) • Position Partners (www.positionpartners.com.au) • Photomapping Services (www.photomapping.com.au) • UPG (www.upgsolutions.com) • Alexander Symonds (www.alexander.com.au) SSSI also does not operate in isolation. In order for us to stay abreast of contemporary best practice in the operations of a professional member based organisation, we maintain membership with a number of organisations including: • Professions Australia (www.professions.com.au) • Associations Forum (associations.net.au) • The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) (www.ausae.org.au) So as you can see, SSSI really is a significant node in an extensive network. As the spatial industry readies itself for Locate17/ISDE10 Conference and Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards (APSEA), the premier national education and networking event of the year, I would encourage the reader to consider the diverse and exciting network in which we operate and how becoming a member of SSSI could maximise the potential benefits that could be achieved by increasing the connection to your own ‘personal node’. Chris Malouf SSSI General Manager
Recent activities of the Spatial Information and Cartography Commission
ave you ever heard about the ‘Here’ maps application? Do you know, that it is about to challenge Google as a map application? It is the map application that is owned and used by BMW, Audi and Daimler and will help Baidu Maps, the Google competitor in China to become a world map provider giving global services for mobile travel applications. It collects its data from vehicles, cartographers
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and thousands of other sources and has mapped so far around 200 countries. For more information please see http:// bit.ly/2nt7Q9F. In the age of climate change denial I wanted to introduce a project, which used World Health Organisation data to calculate the average concentration of particles in microgram per cubic metre of air either produced by motor vehicles,
power plants, forest fires and some industrial processes (PM 2.5 referring to fine particles) or through crushing or grinding operation and dust stirred up by vehicles (PM 10 coarse dust particles). These figures were then weighted according to the population of each city. The map below shows the least (Australia) and the most (India) polluted countries in the world using thematic mapping.
SSSI sustaining partners
The world's most polluted countries, by Telegraph Travel/CARTO.
If you like to find out more please go to http://bit.ly/2nt3E9T At this stage I would like to remind you about the exciting conference, that will come to Sydney at the beginning of April – the 10th International Symposium on Digital Earth & Locate 17 from the 03 to the 06 of April. You can find the
program on the official website. Registrations are still open. For more details please view the official website http:// locateconference.com/ If you would like to serve the members and be part of the committee there are still positions open for ACT, NT and 1 for Tasmania so if you are from those regions and interested in helping to shape the direction of the Commission I'd look forward to hearing from you. We are always on the lookout for members to join the GISP-AP Certification Panel. If you would like to be involved, but would like to know more about the responsibilities and expectations of the role, please contact me directly at chair. email@example.com. Happy Easter! Hanno Klahn Spatial Information and Cartography Commission Chair
The Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute is the not-for-profit national peak body representing and supporting the largest membership of spatial science and surveying professionals in Australia and New Zealand. SSSI represents professionals in: Land Surveying, Spatial Information & Cartography, Remote Sensing & Photogrammetry, Hydrographic Surveying, Engineering & Mining Surveying and special interest groups including Women in Spatial and Young Professionals.
Being a member of SSSI will provide you with the platform and support to maximise your skills, knowledge and experience including: • Professional recognition as a member of the Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute; • Over 200+ regular regional and national workshops, seminars and webinars; • Free membership for students, concession rates available for graduates and retired professionals; • Enhance your CPD via access to the internationally recognized certification and SSSI CPD program; • Professional partnership opportunities available.
PO Box 307 Deakin, ACT 2600
sssi.org.au | +61 2 6282 2282
Spatial terminology you need to know (and understand)
very sector has their jargon, but surveying and spatial is a special case. Depending on your vocation, experience and proclivities, you will know many acronyms, buzzwords and technical terms. It is also quite likely, however, you may be assuming the literal definition of each new word you encounter, which is oftentimes fraught with misinterpretation. The meaning of words change over time; depending on the context; depending on the sector you are dealing with; or on the first language spoken by the user. This year you are sure to encounter many of the following terms, thrown into sentences as if you are expected to know the meaning. While we have not been able to include the full etymology and definition of the terms here, it is worthwhile considering whether you have understood (or even have heard of) each of the following terms: • Digital Earth: the name given to a concept by former US vice president Al Gore in 1998, describing a virtual representation of the Earth that is georeferenced and connected to the world's digital knowledge archives. • Virtual Globe: a three-dimensional software model or representation of the Earth or another world. • SDGs: The Sustainable Development Goals spearheaded by the United Nations as a set of seventeen aspirational "Global Goals", and officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. • Location Intelligence: a spin-off of Business Intelligence, which relates geographic contexts to business data. It uses software to turn data into insight for a host of business purposes. • RPAS: Remotely Piloted Aircraft System, the official term used by governments and international bodies for what are more commonly known as drones, UAV or UAS.
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• BVLOS: Beyond Visual Line of Sight operation of RPAS, whereby the flight goes beyond the distance stipulated in standard operation guidelines. Special approval from the likes of CASA is normally required. • BIM: Building Information Modelling, a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility, used for sharing data and knowledge to various stakeholders during an asset’s life-cycle. Has been expanded to include all types of infrastructure and now has various standards and levels. • VR: Virtual Reality, technologies that use software to generate the realistic images, sounds and other sensations that replicate a real environment, and simulate a user's physical presence in this environment. • AR: Augmented Reality, a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. • Machine Learning: the ability for computerised systems to learn without being explicitly programmed. This is established by the input of ‘training’ data, which is used to establish predictions or aid decision making. • Deep Learning: unsupervised machine learning of multiple levels of features or representations of the data to establish patterns, classification or abstraction. • Crowdsourcing: the practice of obtaining information or input into a task or project by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet. • VGI: Volunteered Geographic Information, the harnessing of tools to create, assemble, and disseminate geographic data provided voluntarily by individuals. • Crowd-sorting: removing bias and establishing patterns by examining how a large number of people interact with information.
• Spatial Data Infrastructure: a framework of geographic data, metadata, users and tools that are interactively connected in order to use spatial data in an efficient and flexible way. • Spatial Knowledge Infrastructure: a framework enhancing users’ abilities to contribute, find and use geographic information. • Data Lake: storage of vast amounts of data within a system or repository in its natural format to facilitate the collocation of data in various schemata and structural forms. • SBAS: Satellite-Based Augmentation System, a system that enables widearea or regional improvements to satellite positioning through the use of additional satellite-broadcast messages. • Reality Modelling: a method of visualising spatial data that closely resembles its real-world appearance for intuitive comprehension by various stakeholders. • Geoscape: a mapping initiative led by PSMA Australia to capture the built environment as an accurate spatial dataset across vast regions or continents, such as the Australian continent. • DBAR: The Digital Belt and Road program, part of the One Belt One Road initiative proposed by the Chinese Government to boost connectivity and cooperation primarily between the People's Republic of China and the rest of Eurasia. • Cloud Computing: often used mistakenly to mean cloud storage, cloud computing is actually the broader term of using a network of remote servers to store, manage, and— significantly—process data. Processing with cloud computing allows for processing tasks to be completed orders of magnitude more quickly compared to ordinary processing with a local computer. ■
The Australasian magazine of surveying, mapping & geo-information
– No. 87
April/May 2017 – No. 88
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The Australasian magazine of surveying, mapping & geo-information
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Technologies addressed include satellite and aerial remote sensing, land and hydrographic surveying, satellite positioning systems, photogrammetry, mobile mapping and GIS. Position contains news, views and applications stories, as well as coverage of the latest technologies that interest professionals working with spatial information.
owledge Spatial Kn ductivity pro Locating a step change
inside Geoscape Spatially informed decision making
Cars of Tomorrow When will driverless vehicles take off?
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