Industry excellence recognised online

By on 2 June, 2020

The 2018 APSEA Awards being presented at Locate19: Gone are the days of packed galas — but the show must go on.

Excellence and achievement in the spatial community of the Asia-Pacific was awarded at the APSEALIVE virtual awards event.

We may not have been able to gather in groups of more than ten — but the wheels of the regional geospatial industry have never stopped turning.

SIBA|GITA presented the annual Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards via Zoom, in a bright and breezy event attended by 212 virtual delegates, presented by SIBA|GITA Chair Daniel Harvey alongside SSSI President Zaffar Sadiq Mohamed-Ghouse on Thursday May 28.

Without further ado, please see the winners below, with comments by SIBA|GITA — and to all, a massive congratulations from Spatial Source.

Stephen Farrell accepting Spatial Vision’s award for Environment and Sustainability at the ASPEALIVE event on May 28, 2020.

SIBA|GITA Industry Award Winners 2019

Environment and Sustainability Award
Spatial Vision – Embedding Climate Change into Agriculture (ECAiA) North East Catchment Management Authority

In partnership with Natural Decisions, NECMA, project stakeholders and community, the Spatial Vision team co-designed a geospatial tool to support modelling and communicating current and future climate scenarios, to evaluate the impact of climate change on regional productivity. These were to be suitable to support discussion around managing climate change impacts and to equip agribusinesses and councils in North East Victoria with tools and knowledge ‘resources’ to articulate the likely impacts of climate change on dominant agricultural sectors.

Highly Commended: GHD, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Peel Development Commission

Export Award
Spatial Vision, FrontierSI & General Commission of Survey, KSA

The Saudi Government’s overarching “Vision 2030” aims to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop key industries such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism. The Vision 2030 recognises the Survey and Geospatial Information sector plays a vital part in achieving the Vision’s goals by providing high quality geospatial information to support ‘location based’ decision-making supporting many of the priority growth areas of the KSA economy including infrastructure, housing, tourism and many more. The Spatial Vision and FrontierSI solution draws on and promotes Australian IP and the delivery of a sustained capacity-building program.

Innovation & Commercialisation Award
Trimble Inc – Trimble SiteVision

Trimble SiteVision enables you to “see what you cannot see” and to view and understand complex spatial information accurately in the real world – underground power cables, pipes, and in-situ designs that will exist in the future. The augmented reality system visualises things that would be difficult to identify in plan and cross section drawings with centimetre scale accuracy in 3 dimensions. This product will contribute significantly to urban planning and improved safety across many industries.

People & Community Award
FrontierSI and QUT – Virtual Reef Diver

The Virtual Reef Diver team included representatives from FrontierSI, QUT, DNMRE, Reef Check, UQ and ABC Science. The Great Barrier Reef is facing many threats resulting in a deterioration of habitat and biodiversity. Information about reef-health is crucial for planning and implementing reef interventions and restoration activities, but traditional field surveys are expensive. The Virtual Reef Diver project enables coral cover data from a diverse array of monitoring programs and citizen science groups to be combined and used to support data-enabled management decisions. Recreational scuba divers and snorkelers can upload and geotag their photos which are then classified to generate coral cover data, which is a reef-health metric. These datasets are ingested into a statistical model, which is designed to combine crowd-sourced coral-cover measurements of variable quality with existing monitoring data; thus, efficiently integrating data produced from machine learning, crowd-sourced images and remote sensing.

Spatial Enablement Award and JK Barrie Award
Australian Cancer Atlas

The Australian Cancer Atlas is a world-first innovation that uses cutting edge digital technology to map patterns in cancer diagnosis and survival across 2,148 small geographic areas across Australia. It is the most comprehensive examination of cancer patterns that has ever been achieved. Designed to be informative and easy to use, the Atlas is visually appealing, interactive and freely available to all. The Australian Cancer Atlas was a collaborative project developed by a multidisciplinary team of statisticians, cancer researchers, visualisation experts, project managers and IT specialists including representatives from Cancer Council Queensland, QUT, and FrontierSI. Judges commented that this is a world-leading spatial application that shows how significant collaboration by a multidisciplinary and diverse team can provide an innovative and effective tool to support the understanding and characteristics of a disease that affects so many.

Highly Commended: Inner West Council

Technical Excellence Award
Land Surveys, FAL Team – Forrestfield-Airport Link Refectorless Airside Monitoring

The $1.86bn Forrestfield-Airport Link will deliver an 8.5km extension of the existing rail network in Western Australia, providing an essential connection between Bayswater, Perth-Airport, and Forrestfield via twin-bored underground rail lines. Throughout the excavation and construction process, intensive geotechnical and geodetic monitoring was utilised as an indispensable tool for detecting unexpected movement in relation to tunnelling activity while facilitating performance feedback to the TBM operators.

Award for People and Community

SIBA|GITA Chair’s Award
Narelle Underwood

In what has been another of those male-dominated industries, Narelle has been a shining light, not only as a professional achieving success and the recognition of her industry peers, but also within the broader community as an advocate for women in STEM and diversity & inclusion more generally. Narelle is the youngest NSW Surveyor-General for 200 years and the first woman to hold the position. Her professional background includes appointment as the NSW Surveyor General in 2016, roles as President of the Board of Surveying and Spatial Information (BOSSI), Chair of the Geographical Names Board and as the NSW representative on the Intergovernmental Committee for Surveying & Mapping (ICSM). Her work within the broader community has achieved recognition by Science & Technology Australia as one of 60 women on the 2019 Superstars of STEM program, has included work with the Spatial and Surveying Diversity Leadership Network and work with Aboriginal communities identifying geographic features using traditional names. For all of these reasons and more, Narelle has been a huge contributor to the profession and the spatial industry, and is a very worthy recipient of this award.

Narelle Underwood accepting the SIBA|GITA chair’s award at the ASPEALIVE event on May 28, 2020.

SSSI Individual Award Winners 2019

Professional of the Year
Craig Sandy, Surveyor General of Victoria

Craig is well known as Surveyor General of Victoria but perhaps less well known for his long contribution to the industry in a range of professional activities. As Surveyor General of the Northern Territory, he led significant digital transformation projects. He was Chair of the Canberra Division of ISA for 8 years, President of ISA for 2005-2006 and Assistant Congress Director for the FIG Congress in Sydney in 2010. As Surveyor-General of Victoria, Craig led the team that secured $45M for the Digital Cadastral Modernisation Project. He remains keen to promote surveying and spatial sciences across government, the private sector and the wider community. He has also become a leader in diversity in the industry and a strong advocate for the importance of mental health in our profession.

Young Professional of the Year
Melissa Harrington, Chair, Young Surveyors Network, FIG and General Manager, SITECH Hawai’i

Melissa is the Chair of the Young Surveyors Network (YSN) of FIG and revitalised the Young Professionals Group of S+SNZ. Melissa has shown extraordinary dedication to the surveying and spatial industry, volunteering for the benefit of her peers and for the growth of the industry. She executes her work with utmost knowledge and skill while advocating for the profession at every opportunity. Melissa’s inspires young people into surveying and connects young professionals around the world.

Women’s Leadership Award
Winner: Dr Charity Mundava Spatial Scientist, WaterNSW

Charity Mundava is a passionate Geospatial Scientist professional and researcher. She is a STEM ambassador for the Parramatta electorate and works closely with the Federal member through collaboration with Science Technology Australia in the inaugural STEM Ambassador program. As an early career professional Charity recognises the impact of visible role models and mentors and has actively mentored in the SSSI Young Professional mentoring Program. She has regularly presented at NSW SSSI CPD-Assessed events and engages in a program of industry-related and research-related continuing professional development. Charity was also a 2019 participant in the Homeward Bound global leadership program for women in STEM.

Highly Commended: Eva Rodriguez Rodriguez, Program and Strategy Manager, FrontierSI

Since arriving in Australia in 2015, Eva has immersed herself in industry engagement, becoming one of the driving forces behind the 2026 Agenda, the SmartSatCRC bid, the Digital Earth Australia Industry Strategy and the Spatial Diversity Action Plan. She has a great ability to take inputs from a wide variety of stakeholders, practitioners and advocates and turn these into clear, strategic plans.

Undergraduate of the Year
Winner: Kent Olive, Spatial Analyst, University of the Sunshine Coast

Rapid innovation across the space and remote sensing industries, and the proliferation of spatial data, has increased the utility of satellite image classification for forest species mapping. Despite this, the accuracy of remote sensing analysis for tree species classification across Australian native forests remains under examined. Kent’s research implemented an object-based data fusion method to classify spotted gum across plantation and natural forests using high-resolution multispectral satellite imagery and airborne laser scanning. The judges felt that Kent demonstrated great technical knowledge, capability and understanding of spatial data and its application to this research project. They felt his work was of significant benefit to the conservation, forestry and planning sectors.

Highly Commended: Andrew Campbell Spatial Developer, City of Melbourne

For his final year major project, Andrew Campbell took a dive into deep-learning, exploring the combination of Google Maps Streetview product with Tensorflow’s Object Detection System to automatically detect and locate “Stop” and “Give Way” signs in Streetview images, with a view to using this information to update asset databases with the correct location and condition of the signs. The work was of such a high standard that it was accepted as a refereed publication in the journal Computers, Environment and Urban Systems.

Postgraduate of the Year
Dr. Mehdi Khaki Lecturer, School of Engineering, The University of Newcastle

Dr. Mehdi Khaki received his PhD from Curtin University – Spatial Sciences October 2018. His PhD has provided several advances in the areas of estimation of Terrestrial Water Storage (TWS) changes from data from the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment, known as GRACE, and subsequent assimilation with hydrological models. The fundamental significance of his research relates to the development of a new framework for data assimilation. The framework not only provides improved assimilation of GRACE TWS estimates but has the potential to more efficiently be applied to the assimilation of multi-source data, addressing one of the upcoming challenges with ever increasing availability of remote sensing data.

Vocational Education Training (VET) Student Award
Natasha Crook

Natasha completed the Diploma of Spatial Information Services in 2019. Natasha has applied the skills and knowledge she has learnt in her studies to work on a diverse range of spatial information services projects and tasks including mentoring other colleagues in GIS and providing guidelines on spatial data format, field data collection, spatial data validation, metadata standards and delivery of GIS files to clients. Natasha has utilised her studies to further enhance her GIS data management capability and utilize GNSS mobile technology to improve the field data collection for the Ecology team nationally for SMEC. She has used her GIS skills on NSW major state development projects, ACT and VIC projects that involve ecological assessments as well GIS for contamination projects in the ACT.

Educational Development Award
Prof Stephan Winter Professor of Geographic Information Science, University of Melbourne AND Michael Neitschke Senior Licensed Surveyor & Project Manager, Alexander Symonds

Over more than 20 years, Prof Winter has developed an international reputation in the field of Spatial Science, an enviable research and publication record and maintained a very high standard of teaching and learning in his courses. As Discipline Leader of Geomatics at the University of Melbourne, he has guided the group through the difficult transition to the Melbourne Model and led the changes in curriculum and introduction of new programs that were required. He continues to advocate strongly for the spatial sciences at all levels of the university and for spatial education more broadly across the community.

Michael has been a mentor to UniSA Master of Surveying students; performed undergraduate and professional assessments; contributed to the development of national accreditation standards; and demonstrated leadership in addressing current significant challenges around surveying workforce renewal. He continually promotes careers in surveying through coordination of career events and through the fostering of collaborations between schools, vocational educators and the higher education sector. He has also played a key role in developing the 4-year Bachelor of Engineering (Surveying) honours degree and the inaugural 2019 SSSI internship program. He has actively participated in numerous advisory boards and committees with a focus on the education of surveying students and has successfully lobbied commonwealth and state government ministers on the vital role of surveyors in infrastructure development and the anticipated skills shortage in future years due to the retirement of current surveyors – through media appearances and publications.

Professional Eminence Award
Chris Body, Geospatial Standards Architect and Chair, Standards Australia IT-004 Geographic Information Committee, Office of Spatial Policy

Throughout his life, Chris Body has contributed to spatial standards development for the Australian Community. Chris is the Chair of IT-004 Geospatial Standards, Standards Australia and Delegation Head for Australia at ISO Technical Committee 211 for Geospatial. SSSI is pleased to recognise his contribution to standards development for Australian and International Community.

President’s Award
SSSI National Young Professionals Committee

The President’s Award is for the outstanding mentoring program implemented by the SSSI National Young Professional Committee, drawing mentors and mentees from across Australia and overseas in all areas of spatial sciences. This has been one of the most successful recent programs of SSSI. The President also notes the outstanding contribution of YPs in the Mapathon for Bush Fire recovery which was held in early 2020.

Nominations for the 2020 APSEA Awards are now open. See the full list of winners and awards on the APSEA website.

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