Keeping Abreast of Policy and Changes in Regulations - 24/09/2018

After a real scorcher of a UK summer, we’re quickly heading into the darker months of Autumn. Even though the light is fading, the leaves falling, parents look forward to the end of the school holidays, and of course, Halloween is on the way, there is much to look forward too and a very busy run of events and news updates for RICS Geomatics.

At the time of going to press, dates for the traditional evening lecture series have still to be set but do keep an eye on other forms of communications before your next issue of GW. Policy has been particularly active with several initiatives both here in the UK and internationally to participate in and keep a watching brief on. RICS will be responding in due course.

UK Geospatial Commission

The big news from the November 2017 budget is now gathering pace and after a series of initial meetings and briefings, the Geospatial Commission has entered a period of data gathering. The Commission is an impartial expert committee within the UK Cabinet Office, supported by £40 million of new funding in each of the next two years, and will drive the move to use public and private sector geospatial data more productively. Research estimates that this could contribute up to £11 billion of extra value for the economy every year. The Commission is due to publish its first annual plan next Spring. Quite an ask, but a great opportunity for our geospatial sectors to prove how central we are to economic and future development. Our colleagues in AGI and at Ordnance Survey have been very engaged with the Commission, and AGI recently published a very well rounded policy response to the earlier call for information on the use(s) of OS MasterMap (

There has been a lot of background economic research already done, I know that many members are interested in the intrinsic economic benefit of using geospatial information (I have a habit of collecting these kinds of things), and this June 2018 report ( is worth reading if you ever doubt the importance of the sector in which you are employed. The latest call for evidence can be found at

Law Commission Release Policy Statement

The LRA 2002 is one of the most important pieces of primary legislation for professional surveyors in England and Wales and after a long consultation process (beginning in 2015 and against the long shadow of the 2008 financial crash and a backdrop of prospective ‘privatisation’ – although this was never a part of Law Commission remit), the expert eye of the ‘Law Commission’ has now released its final report and proposals. To quote Law Commissioner Professor Nick Hopkins “For many, the land they own is the most valuable thing they will ever have, so it’s important that the registration system provides clarity over who owns what. The Land Registration Act was a huge leap forward in land ownership, but 15 years on it needs to be refreshed to adapt it to the modern world and make things as efficient as possible. We’re recommending some technical reforms which will iron out the kinks, help prevent fraud and make conveyancing faster, easier and cheaper for everyone.”

RICS and the Judiciary Work on Boundary Guidance

Indeed, the proposals of the Law Commission connects with the work that RICS has been doing with the PLA (Property Litigation Association) and the Civil Justice Council (CJC) on new guidelines and an agreed boundary dispute protocol. We have great hopes for this collaborative initiative and expect the guidelines, protocol and a new RICS Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) Neighbour Disputes Service to be formed in due course. Mediation, as well as expert technical proficiency, is central to the new protocol. In many ways this initiative has been influenced by the ongoing, if slowed down by Brexit legislation, Property Disputes legislation as introduced by Earl John Lytton FRICS. John is also chair of the RICS Boundaries and Party Walls working group. An expert subgroup has been busy working on the new 7th edition of the RICS Party Walls procedures guidance note (to be featured at the annual Neighbour Disputes roadshow events in Nov/Dec 2018

The initiative with the PLA and CJC will necessitate the review and updating of the RICS Boundaries 4th edition GN 2019.

Land & Resources Pathways Goes Live

The entire RICS APC & AssocRICS pathway portfolio has been reviewed and updated with the addition of new competencies (for example Big Data), and the simplification of others. The new Geomatics pathways see several changes with the retention of ‘surveying land & sea’ and the release of a new broad based ‘surveying and mapping’ competency

RICS has also released a new, fully international, broad based pathway based on all the best elements of the Land & Resources sectors (Environment, Geomatics, Planning, Rural, Minerals & Waste and Telecoms). This new pathway will allow surveying professionals to access RICS membership from a very wide range of disparate sectors and enable those who find the sometimes ‘restrictive’ nature of many APC pathways over specialised and not conducive to a rewarding career. Indeed, many employers and large agencies are very interested in this pathway, if anything it is very closely aligned to geography skillsets and the skills needed for a broadly skilled professional surveyor We will be bringing this new pathway to FIG 2019 and to World Bank 2019. It also links well with the International Land Measurement Standards ILMS.

RICS Geomatics Collaborates with UK Geo-industry

As the RICS year comes to an end (July 2017 – July 2018) it’s worth reminding ourselves of the wonderful portfolio of collaborative standards, guidance and client guides that have been produced and are now available to all members. This year has been all about collaboration and working with other bodies such as The Survey Association (TSA), CICES, ICE and AGI as well as BSI, ISO, OGC, the new UK geospatial commission and of course GeoBusiness 2018.

Monitoring and Instrumentation Guide Now Available

CICES, TSA and RICS have been working collaboratively with major organisations such as Network Rail, Costain, HS2 and others on the production of a new ‘monitoring/instrumentation’ client guide and full best practice guidance note. The new guide can be downloaded at

Photogrammetry – A Client Guide

TSA, CICES and RICS have collaborated on a new client guide that incorporates new technologies such as UAVs, sensor and camera improvements, intelligent algorithms and software advances and client output requirements. A very strong companion piece to the RICS Aerial Imagery 5th edition guidance note 2010 (due for update 2019).

Provision of Architectural Surveys Client Guide

TSA, CICES and RICS have collaborated on a new client guide that underlines the importance of understanding client requirements and using professional surveying services and measurement techniques to help deliver them. This guide draws from the RICS Measured Surveys 3rd guidance note 2015.

Utility Surveys using PAS 128:2014 Specification

TSA, CICES, BSI and RICS have collaborated on a new and updated guidance note on the survey interpretation of the BSI industry standard PAS 128:2014. This new edition incorporates modern ground penetration technologies, utility survey digital output and client specifications.

Do keep an eye on various RICS channels for the release of the above outputs and hopefully we will see as many of you as possible at 2018-19 geospatial surveying events and conferences.

This article was published in Geomatics World September/October 2018

Last updated: 05/03/2020