Surveying and GIS two separate worlds in the UK…

Wofg 2007 Logo For Web SmallThis week I am giving the keynote presentation at World of Geomatics, for many years the main trade show for the surveying industry in the UK. Although small compared to something like interGEO or GITA, the show is successful and is supported a loyal audience. It is also fully supported by the professional bodies of surveying in the UK RICS, ICES and the Survey Association.

In contrast to these international shows you will not find any GIS vendors a World of Geomatics, for many years the GIS software and data interests were served by the large GIS shows in Birmingham in the late 80’s early 1990’s and more recently by the AGI annual conference and exhibition. In the last decade these shows have struggled to compete with the internet as educational resources and this year there will be no vendor neutral GIS exhibition in the UK !!

I have never really understood this, why do experts in the fields of manipulating Geographical Information in the UK exist in almost parallel universes – Answers on a postcard if you have any thoughts (OK by email but I have always wanted to write that !!) – Maybe there is a future opportunity here ?

I think I understand why the surveying shows have remained successful, it is to do with professionalism and the recognition of the value of “industry best practice”, something which has been recognised only recently by GIS professionals.

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

4 comments

  1. Dave Smith

    The divide is much the same here in the US. Compounding this, we do not have a coordinated cadastre.

    It has been my experience that many US surveyors have an inherent distrust of GIS and tend to marginalize it. Meanwhile, GIS practitioners generally are not exposed to field data collection, deed research, evaluation of evidence, or any of the other work that goes into surveying, and as a result, many GIS practitioners likewise marginalize surveying and contribute to the divide with their generally hamhanded treatment of cadastral data.

  2. Vector One

    I am a distant observer. But I notice a difference between North American and European conferences in general.

    Generally, North American conferences have a strong education component to them. European conferences are oriented toward conducting business.

    Thus, the first includes ‘building capacity’ as an integral goal. The later does not.

    Your observation in UK is shared in the rest of Europe, I think.

  3. Chris Holcroft

    Interesting post Ed and the subsequent comment concerning the importance on ‘capacity building’ is too. This is an objective of this years AGI 2007 conference in the UK that you linked too. I hope it’s a good formula.

  4. Chris Holcroft

    Interesting post Ed and the subsequent comment concerning the importance on ‘capacity building’ is too. This is an objective of this years AGI 2007 conference in the UK that you linked to. I hope it’s a good formula.

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