Thoughts on the Geospatial Commission and GeoBusiness 2018 - 15/01/2018

Welcome to 2018 and I wish you a belated Happy New Year. I hope you managed to enjoy the festive season without overdoing it. I also hope you have submitted abstracts for GeoBusiness 2018, made travel plans for the XXVI FIG Congress in Istanbul and have also completed sufficient hours for your CPD return. Each edition of Geomatics World can contribute to this last item.

The new year brings opportunity and excitement on a number of fronts for many of us in the survey profession as we look to build on current progress. Last year, amongst a number of significant events and publications, saw the development of the Geospatial apprenticeships in the UK, a successful GeoBusiness event in London, new standards from the IHO regarding Hydrographic Surveyors and Nautical Cartographers, and the inaugural UN Ocean Conference in support of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal no.14 to "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans..." Also and perhaps of wider interest was the UK Government's announcement in the November budget regarding the setting up of a Geospatial Commission with £40 million over the next two years to support them. It is designed to boost the development of digital technology and data driven business in the UK and will (and I quote the UK government) “draw together HM Land Registry, the Ordnance Survey, the British Geological Survey, the Valuation Office Agency, the UK Hydrographic Office and the Coal Authority with a view to coordinate activities and make them more accessible and efficient”.

Client Guide to Instrumentation and Monitoring

Look out for a new guide entitled a Client Guide to Instrumentation and Monitoring that is due to be published by ICES in the early part of this year. Measurement and monitoring is crucial for many projects to be successful, not least the huge infrastructure developments currently being planned and implemented. Deformation monitoring and laser scanning are the types of activity that this guide should be relevant for and it can be viewed in association with such standards as the ILMS that will be the subject of an article later.

GeoBusiness 2018

I mentioned that GeoBusiness 2017 was another successful event and so we are already well into the planning of GeoBusiness 2018. The registration is open and members of RICS and the other professional surveying institutions can benefit from early bird and discount rates, don't leave it too late to get to this CPD event.

Numerous sessions are being planned for GeoBusiness to address various topics and market themes. Infrastructure involving tunnelling is a theme that perhaps has one of the more challenging environments, in part due to the very limited space under our cities and across our lands and seas. It is also challenging due to the limited use that can be made of conventional above ground survey observation techniques. Monitoring and good practice is critical as well as optimal deliverables that often benefit from the development of special "snake grid" projections to cover the elongated nature of the projects.

The Agonic Over UK

For those not able to rely upon the Global Navigation Satellite Systems that now cover our globe (in the UK the OS is expanding the number of high accuracy reference stations), an article in the Royal Institute of Navigation's Navigation News December edition may be of interest. It describes how for the first time in over 350 years the Agonic lies across the UK. Now of course I know most of you already know that the agonic is the line where magnetic north and true north coincide and so magnetic declination is zero. If this is all a new concept then it may well be that you've just added a wee bit more time to your CPD. However it's alignment over the UK for the next few years could be seen as a somewhat fortuitous coincidence for the Digital Commission and all these agencies.

Here's to a great 2018.

This article was published in Geomatics World January/February 2018

Last updated: 02/09/2020