Names, Standards and a Competition - 10/11/2016

Gordon Johnston, chair of the RICS Geomatics Professional Group, reviews recent developments emanating from the Institution.

Back in the summer the Global Geomatics Professional Board requested that members vote, offer an opinion and give comments regarding our divisional name. Geomatics has been termed by some as a trend and fashion rather than perhaps a serious longterm professional title. Others may see it as a reflection of the current wider developing awareness of collecting and rendering large volumes of spatial data.

At the time of writing the Geomatics Board has not received a clear result with insufficient returns to enable a name change. So, whilst our image to the public, clients and associated professionals is often under scrutiny and examination, the survey has been of immense value in offering up opinions and comments, which the Geomatics Board often doesn’t receive through the more frequent and normal events and channels. I’m sure there’ll be more to follow in due course...

Smart Cities

As Smart Cities become ever more of a reality so people’s awareness of their own location will grow, requiring the increased support of imagery and realtime visualization; consequently demand for high data volumes will rise. It is not all for mass market consumer use but also for professional business-to-business support functions.

This Big Data can involve big decisions for our clients and, as we continue to develop and increase the power and resolution of our surveying and measurement systems, it is important tthat we understand and address the problems and challenges which our clients bring to us. That means not simply offering evermore data volumes which may not be appropriate and even disguise certain important details. Remember, clients are not always fully familiar with the technical options and variable deliverables for a project. So we must use our expert knowledge of the technology to match the survey requirements to the client’s priorities in order to provide solutions. Through guiding clients, providing advice and developing a trusted relationship we can continue to offer important support.

Young Surveyors

Previously I’ve mentioned the effort which the RICS is applying to developing a clear apprenticeship pathway for early career professionals to gain experience and membership via apprenticeship schemes supported by the UK government.

There are other opportunities too that need greater promotion and contribution. Each year the Council of European Geodetic Surveyors (CLGE) offer students a prize of some €1000 and a free trip to the international InterGEO exhibition and conference (next year in Berlin). It’s a fantastic opportunity for nine winners in each of three categories. Find out more about this exciting opportunity here and promote it within your departments, institutions and organizations. The CLGE students award has never had a UK or Ireland student enter this competition, never mind win it. See

More Names

As we go to press the FIG/IHO/ICA International Board for the Standards of Competence of Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers (IBSC) has published its latest editions of the S5 (Hydrography) and S8 (Cartography) international standards. The RICS recently hosted the IBSC work group in support of this important initiative. Now there’s interest in an international land standard equivalent for educational training courses. However, we need to decide what term to use to describe these international standards.

Did you Answer Google’s Call?

Finally, Google launched their Expeditions programme just over a year ago. I would be very interested to hear from those of you who have used it and gained some experience of this virtual world trip designed for school children.

This article was published in Geomatics World November/December 2016

Last updated: 23/10/2019