Chair’s Address

Mr Paul Harcombe, Chief Surveyor, Land & Property Information (LPI) of NSW

The ICSM Members met in October and again, we will be shortly farewelling a couple of long standing ICSM members. Dr Don Grant will be retiring as Surveyor-General of New Zealand in February 2014 to take up an appointment with RMIT, so we look forward to continuing our close relationship with him, but in a different role. Mr Garry West, Surveyor-General of the Northern Territory, will also be retiring in 2014, however his final day of official duties will be on Christmas Eve 2013. Their efforts in contributing to ICSM, particularly in their roles as ICSM Chairs, have been invaluable and I thank them for the considerable time and energy they have contributed to our strategic outcomes.

Mr Bill Hirst has also announced he will be retiring in the latter part of 2014, and therefore will be unable to take up the role as Chair–elect for 2014-2016. Mr Michael Burdett, of South Australia, was unanimously elected as Deputy Chair, and I would like to thank them both for their commitment and support of ICSM.

ICSM has achieved many significant milestones and achievements over the past 6 months, some of which are noted in this newsletter. I would like to thank all the members of our Permanent Committees, Working Groups and Special Interest Groups and congratulate them for their tremendous efforts and outstanding work that have made possible, the attainment of these goals.

New Geodetic Datum workshops

Tasmania’s ICSM representative and Surveyor General, Michael Giudici, wrapping up the ‘Location Intelligence’ 
seminar in Hobart on 16 October 2013.

Over the past six months, ICSM’s Permanent Committee on Geodesy (PCG) has been facilitating a series of workshops in all Australian capital cities, aimed at providing stakeholders with a better understanding of the rationale, activities and implications associated with the impending development of a new geodetic datum for Australia.

One of the most successful of these workshops was incorporated into an all-day ‘Location Intelligence’ seminar in Hobart, co-hosted by the Tasmanian Spatial Information Council (TASSIC), ICSM and Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE). The fully subscribed seminar was held in conjunction with the annual PCG face-to-face meeting on 16 October, and attracted 120 participants from across government, business, industry and academic sectors. ICSM Chair, Paul Harcombe, provided the keynote address with an overview of ICSM’s strategic initiatives, including the broader context for datum modernisation. Guest speaker Dr John Dawson (PCG Chair) built on this introduction, emphasising links between the plethora of new spatially-based technologies, changes in the user community and the role of positioning capability in underpinning the economy. PCG member, Scott Strong, provided a Tasmanian perspective, followed by an open panel discussion of issues and challenges.

Standard for the Australian Survey Control Network Special Publication 1 (SP1), Version 2.0, October 2013

There has been an update to a suite of documents encompassing the Standard for the Australian Survey Control Network (SP1) The Standard (SP1) and six associated Guidelines now provide an outcomes based framework, aligned to International standards, that supports the highest level of rigour and integrity in the delivery and maintenance of Australia's survey control mark network.

The updated version of SP1 (version 2.0), has been developed by ICSM’s Permanent Committee on Geodesy after lengthy consultation with the broad spatial community and technical experts. SP1 version 2.0 will supersede some of the Best Practice Guidelines outlined in SP1 version 1.7. This version of the Standard completes the transition from CLASS and ORDER to uncertainty as the basis for evaluating and expressing the quality of measurements and positions.

The new version of SP1 encompasses:

  • Standard for Australian Survey Control Network (SP1)
  • Guideline for Adjustment and Evaluation of Survey Control
  • Guideline for Continuously Operating Reference Stations
  • Guideline for Control Surveys by GNSS
  • Guideline for Control Surveys by Differential Levelling
  • Guideline for Conventional Traverse Surveys
  • Guideline for Installation and Documentation of Survey Control Marks

The Australian Tides Manual, SP9

An update was made to the Australian Tides Manual in October 2013.

The Permanent Committee on Tides and Mean Sea Level (PCTMSL) prepared and periodically updates a manual for tides in the Australian context. It was published in 2004 as the Australian Tides Manual. (SP9) This was originally published by the National Mapping Council in 1984 as the booklet Recommended Operating Procedures for Tide Gauges on the National Network; Special Publication 9 (or SP9).

Cadastre 2034

ICSM’s Permanent Committee on the Cadastre (PCC) is currently finalising a ‘consultation draft’ 20 year strategic plan for Australia’s cadastral systems and data. As the plan states:

The value of Cadastre 2034 is that it establishes a single point philosophy on what the community can expect and what the government has to deliver in the future. Each jurisdiction will then be able to take this high level strategy and work towards achieving the identified goals from their own unique starting points.


The plan has been driven by recognition of the importance of our cadastral system, the changing nature and increased complexity of urbanisation, rapid technological development and public expectations of improved access to information and more efficient public services.

The draft vision is:

A cadastral system that enables people, governments and corporations to readily, accurately and confidently identify the location and spatial extent of all rights, restrictions and responsibilities related to land and real property in multidimensional space; and for the cadastre to endure as a resource for the continued prosperity of future generations.


Biennial Report 2010-2012

The ICSM Biennial Report covering the period of Dr Don Grant’s Chair of the Committee has now been published. A pdf version is also available on the ICSM website, or a hard copy will be posted to you, on request to the ICSM Executive Officer.

National Gazetteer 2012

The Gazetteer of Australia is a database of Australia's place names.

The Committee for Geographical Names of Australasia (CGNA), with assistance from National Geographic Information Group, Geoscience Australia, has produced the Gazetteer of Australia 2012.

It contains place names derived from the:

  • Official Register of Geographic Names / Gazetteers which are maintained by each Australian State and Territory
  • Official offshore undersea feature gazetteer maintained by the Australian Hydrographic Service (Department of Defence)
  • Official Antarctic place names gazetteer maintained by the Australian Antarctic Division
  • Unofficial place names (eg homesteads) supplied by Geoscience Australia and other organisations involved with topographic mapping

The latest version can be accessed from the Geoscience Australia website.

8.   National Regulation 13 Campaign

The PCG have worked with all Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) operators to manage an Australia–wide certification campaign of positions in accordance with Regulation 13 of the National Measurement Regulations 1999 and the National Measurement Act 1960. The primary objective of this campaign is to improve the consistency of legal traceable CORS positions across Australia; and the stated uncertainties on previously certified stations. The PCTSML is also collaborating on this campaign by encouraging port authorities to observe GNSS data at tide–gauge stations simultaneously. This joint PCG and PCTSML work will underpin future efforts to improve the linkages between the land–datum (i.e. GDA) and bathymetric datums (e.g., MSL, LAT).

This campaign was undertaken from 23 – 30 June 2013, GPS week 1746 (DOY 174 – 180). As of October 2013, the PCG have received the submission of 358 stations.

9.   Next ICSM meeting

The next meeting will be held in Melbourne, Victoria on 20 & 21 May, 2014.

The PCC meeting will be held in the afternoon on 19 May at Melbourne University.

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