The top 5 spatial stories of 2015

By on 26 December, 2015
mh370 simulations

Simulations reveal suspected origins of the recently discovered Boeing flaperon. Image: GEOMAR


With 2016 on the doorstep, it’s a good time to look back on some of the most important stories that made headlines in the world of spatial and surveying.

  1. MH370 update: simulations suggest different crash site

Simulations by oceanographers from Germany provided further insight into the possible location of the crash site of missing flight MH370, using modelling of the wreckage found on La Reunion to suggest alternative crash sites. For the past 20 months, the extensive search in the Southern Indian Ocean has been underway, with no conclusive findings to date.

  1. Australian researchers predicted Nepal quake

On 25 April 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal, claiming over 8,800 lives, injuring over 9,000 and drastically affecting millions of others. A week after the initial quake, a research team at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) School of Surveying and Geospatial Engineering received and analysed the first valid post-quake satellite image and came to a contentious conclusion: that another major earthquake was soon on its way for Nepal.

  1. CASA to release revised UAV laws

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV, or also known as drones or UAS) have been a hot topic all year for those involved in surveying. So a lot of attention was raised in May, when the director of the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Mark Skidmore AM, delivered a speech indicating that new UAV laws are to be introduced to readdress restrictions, including:

  • categorising RPAs (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) by weight
  • looking at options to provide more flexible requirements for small commercial RPA operators
  • assessing restrictions on flight in the vicinity of aerodromes
  • aligning terminology with ICAO and making appropriate changes to the documented procedures

The first to be announced being a possible new weight limit.

  1. Innovation Agenda opens up spatial industry

Representatives of the spatial industry are hailing the government for the benefits NISA will bring. The changes are expected to bring significantly more foreign investment into research and development undertaken in Australia as well as the heightened support of home-based technologies, which historically are shipped off to foreign investors long before the Australian economy can benefit. Having those innovative technologies housed locally will reinvigorate all those tech-heavy industries, especially spatial.

    5.  Geocoded national address data made openly available

A new agreement between the Australian Federal Government and PSMA will see the release of one of the most requested ubiquitous, high-value datasets to the economy, PSMA’s Geo-coded National Address File (G-NAF). Making the G-NAF available under open data terms will remove barriers to greater use of the data and unlock and create opportunities for industry innovation and competitiveness.


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