A New Start with Well Established Themes - 05/09/2017


The new editor of Geomatics World pays tribute to the work of Stephen Booth, editor of GW for 25 years and introduces priorities for the future.

It is a great privilege to take over the position of editor of Geomatics World and I look forward to working with readers, contributors and advertisers in continuing to produce a first class magazine. My first job must be to acknowledge the enormous contribution of Stephen Booth to developing GW to its current preeminent position, and to publicising the work of geomatics professionals in the UK and around the world. His wide knowledge and his network of contacts has ensured that the magazine has always been topical and well informed. As Stephen noted in his final editorial, GW is owned by Geomares which is based in The Netherlands but published by Geomares Publishing UK on behalf of the RICS. I see the mission of GW under my editorship as being to keep surveyors informed of UK and international developments that are relevant to their work, this includes new products and services, and to report on interesting and ground breaking UK projects. I would like to encourage discussion in GW and will welcome correspondence and short articles raising controversial topics. I also see it as important that GW includes articles that look at the broad picture and put UK activities in a global context.

Whilst composing this editorial, I struggled for a minute when writing 'geomatics professional'. Whilst I have long ago accepted the use of the 'geomatics' as a good description of our activities, there is no good word for describing someone who practices geomatics. As James Kavanagh notes in his policy watch column, moves to change the name of the group by the Geomatics Professional Group Board of the RICS were unsuccessful and as noted by Gordon Johnston in his 2016 November/December column, a recently conducted poll asking for comments on the use of the word geomatics received insufficient responses to take the discussion further. We will continue for the time being to use the word geomatics but welcome comments and discussion on this issue.

The current issue follows the pattern set by Stephen with a mix of articles, meeting reports and product news. There are three features concerning Ordnance Survey which demonstrate the wide range of activities which our national mapping agency covers and the importance that OS puts on innovation to address the challenges of big data, artificial intelligence and automated vehicles. As shown in the interview with Peter Hedland and the report of the Cambridge Conference, these developments reach international agencies as well. James Kavanagh notes the increasingly important role of UN-GGIM in coordinating issues relating to geospatial information, and that decisions and discussions in this group have significance to UK professionals.

We have two articles on how UK organisations are adopting new solutions to solve problems of dam monitoring and mapping historical features. These projects used lidar, aerial photography and UAVs, demonstrating the range of tools now available. Perhaps more importantly, this shows the need to use appropriate data and methods and to integrate the data obtained from different sources to obtain optimum results. They also show that geomatics techniques can provide data, not just for mapping above and below water, but also to determine other information such as which drains are blocked by analysing grass texture and colour.

On the topic of integration it is interesting that in the News section many of the items announce collaboration between companies which do not have much in common; for example a drone manufacturer working with a robotics company, and NASA with a laboratory making cardboard drones. It is imaginative collaborations like this, and like those developing with Ordnance Survey support in the Geovation Hub.

I plan to continue this pattern of content and will be supported by Richard Groom, in collecting and editing articles, and by an expanded editorial board to suggest and solicit features. As mentioned above we hope to include more discussion items and will be adding some other features in the future.

This article was published in Geomatics World September/October 2017

Last updated: 25/11/2017