New Standards, New Guidelines and New APC Pathways - 29/03/2018

Spring has sprung, and the final evening lectures have taken place in late Feb 2018. This has been an outstanding session with lectures on such diverse but interconnected subjects as machine learning and point clouds, satellite imagery, MapAction, Ordnance Survey, Survey4BIM and hydrographic surveying. The 2018/19 sessions will start in earnest in October 2018 – more details will be available online in due course. However, even if the lectures are done there is no letting up on the geospatial action within RICS.

UK Government Geospatial Comission

The Geospatial Commission, reported in GW in January/February, is an enormous step forward for our industry, and in so many ways; several of our geospatial industry colleagues, such as AGI, have come together to brief HM Government on what it needs to think about when developing the strategic remit of the commission. The Government Science and Engineering (GSE) profession has also just announced the appointment of a new cross-government Head of Geography for the profession, David Wood This is a crucial role which brings geographic skillsets to the heart of Government and should have a big influence on the new geospatial commission. RICS will be working closely with our industry colleagues to ensure that the important contribution of our profession to the economy and future economic development is recognised. More on this as it develops.

Which brings me onto GeoBusiness 2018 held between 22-23 May – amazingly GeoBusiness is now in its 5th year and goes from strength to strength. The exhibition is already nearly sold out, the hands-on industry workshops are loaded and the associated meetings are being organised. The fabled ‘Ale Trail’ returns as does the legendary ‘Gala Dinner’ which is being held in the mighty Emirates Stadium. The conference will see an emphasis on the Geospatial Commission and on the Geospatial issues at the heart of the 4th industrial revolution

UAV Standards and BSI

Our friends at BSI have been exceptionally active of late and have now turned their standards setting eye upon the rapidly evolving sector of UAV usage. A new drone major group has been set up (with a launch in the House of Lords Feb 2018) and online resources - this group will probably be more focussed on CCA regulations and H&S issues for now, but BSI is the direct link the CEN (EU standards) and ISO (global standards). RICS has made sure that it will be represented on this group and is looking to include UAV issues within a new 6th edition of ‘Vertical Aerial Photography and Derived Digital Imagery’ guidance note during 2018/19.

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.

New APC Pathways

RICS Geo has been working hard to review and update the geomatics APC pathway. Updates include competencies on BIM, Big Data, Smart Cities amongst others, and the core chartered land surveyor competency ‘Surveying & Mapping’ has been completely rebuilt and updated. The new pathways will go ‘live’ during 2018. Many of you will also have noted that the popular AssocRICS pathway has changed name to ‘Geospatial Surveying’ and there is a growing need to also change the APC pathway name to ‘Geospatial Surveying’ to better reflect global and national reality. Geomatics, as a term, has in many ways had its day. If any of you have any views on this issue please do let me know

Another major development is the 2018 launch of Land Pathway, a combined pathway with core aspects from geomatics, mapping, planning & development, rural land management, environment, valuation and minerals. This broad-based pathway is already proving popular with multi-disciplinary organisations and global bodies. This is a key strategic output of the RICS Land group and helps open RICS membership to the entire geography sector.

Another big strategic output from the land group is the International Land Measurement Standards (ILMS). ILMS is a high level, principles based, land transfer standard that seeks to provide various users with a robust methodology for gathering the necessary land parcel data to enable transfer, acquisition, taxation and/or compensation. One element (of the 7) is, of course, parcel description (boundaries). ILMS will be presented at the World Bank Land Conference in March 2018 and at FIG in Istanbul, May 2018.

RICS is gearing up for FIG Congress in Istanbul and a strong delegation will attend and present on a wide variety of topics. RICS will put forward two commission chairs (9, 10) and Dr Diane Dumashie FRICS will stand for another 4 year term as vice-president. FIG Istanbul will be the global geospatial event of the year and we are more than confident that the Turkish surveyors (as led by Dr Orhan Ercan) will put on a wonderful event in the ‘Queen of Cities’.

RICS 150th

RICS is celebrating its 150th anniversary during 2018 and a variety of events are planned. RICS HQ Westminster is hosting a yearlong exhibition in the library (featuring some of the vast RICS historic collection of surveying instrumentation, maps and books) and an emphasis on future tech such as BIM, 3D modelling, UAVs and VR. A wonderful new video can be viewed at If you get a chance, make sure to visit the permanent exhibition or indeed the travelling exhibition which will be winding its way around the UK and global regions during 2018.

SCSI Annual Dinner 2018

The Irish Society’s Annual Dinner 2018 took place in early February at the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road with 1,348 guests in attendance. Of course, every Dubliner knows this hotel as the ‘Burlo’ – a recent rebrand has had no effect on the colloquial use of that term. This was a wonderful event with Colin Bray, President of SCSI, opening proceedings with a very well received address. Colin is the first chartered land surveyor to hold this position and is CEO of Ordnance Survey Ireland. Ryder Cup captain and Irish golfing hero Paul McGinley gave the after-dinner speech and the bars of Burlo did brisk business into the early hours. Geospatial surveying is doing very well in Ireland with a growing economy, increasing student numbers and the revival of the Survey Ireland event (30 May 2018 Dublin).

World Surveyors Day 2018

CLGE (EU licensed surveyors body), NSPS (USA), FIG and RICS have come together (along with the support of Leica) to launch a global Surveyors day (21 March). Several world regions have a surveyor’s day (Europe & USA) for example but this is the first time it has gone truly global. The event will be held in conjunction with the World Bank Land Conference and will take the format of roundtable discussions followed by a drinks reception - another great way to raise the profile of our global profession.

This article was published in Geomatics World March/April 2018

Last updated: 08/07/2020