Position Magazine Interview - Glenn Cockerton

Simon Chester, journalist of Position Magazine, caught up with the SIBA’s newly appointed chairman and managing director of Spatial Vision, Glenn Cockerton. They discussed what 2015 has in store for SIBA and the spatial industry as a whole.

This was published in the February/March Issue of Position Magazine.


What’s coming up for SIBA in 2015?

2015 will be a busy year for SIBA. We have a large agenda including:

  • Successful Locate’15 and ’16 conferences
  • Completion of the merger with Spatial Queensland
  • Reformed association governance framework
  • Enhanced member benefit structure
  • Expanded events program
  • Greater regional association activity

How is the role of SIBA changing as technology changes?

As a business association, our organisation reflects the evolution of the vast range of technologies employed by our members and their customers. SIBA’s scope of interest continues to change as a direct consequence. These changes are reflected in both our involvement with government policy as well as the make-up of our member base. We need to continue to monitor these changes – our industries continue to experience rapid change.

How is it affecting the growth of the spatial industry?

The biggest affecter is the significant change in data measurement and capture as a result of the explosion of new products and services. Traditional surveying roles are evolving. Satellite and aerial data capture is being augmented with an increasingly wider range of terrestrial data capture technologies, in some cases extending into the user-operated space. This has permitted digital data capture in projects where it was previously infeasible. Other changes have included: changes in open data; the increased range of alternatives to government sourced data; prevalence of the cloud; and the emergence of the Internet of Things.

Would you say that spatial and surveying technologies are undergoing a period of ‘democratisation’? And is that affecting qualifications and training?

The spatial industry is indeed undergoing a period of democratisation. There is now easier access to broader information sources, leading to more informed communities and shared decision making. More of GIS is no longer the preserve of specialists – users are able to do more to help themselves.

Our tertiary and vocational educational systems need to continue to respond to changing industry requirements. The long term impacts for workforce availability arising from the shrinking number of specialist tertiary/TAFE courses continues to be a concern, as is the mix of skills students possess upon graduation. The role for SIBA, via initiatives such as Destination Spatial, and advocacy regarding the teaching of spatial technology via the national curriculum continues to be vital.

What do you see as the big areas of change for 2015?

There are a number of areas:

  • •New data measurement and capture products and services
  • •Increased sophistication and maturity of cloud offerings in the spatial technology space
  • •The steady rise of the Internet of Things and how this will impact our industries
  • •Open data policies, the Foundation Data initiative and the evolving role of PSMA
  • •Increased range of alternatives to traditional government sourced spatial data

Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

As the peak industry body for the spatial industries, SIBA is proud that we have directly contributed to shaping spatial policy through advocacy, support and encouragement of industry innovation and recognition of the spatial industry and industry participation.

SIBA’s goal is to promote growth in the Australian Spatial Industry by fostering innovation, increasing our industry profile, and voicing critical spatial policy issues for our members to Government.

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