Information from the South African Geomatics Institute
Geomatics professionals in South Africa have a lot working in their favour: their work forms part of all stages in the construction lifecycle and development; they possess scarce technical skills, have their work protected by legislation, and technological developments keep advancing in their favour.
New cadres in the profession and older professionals alike often forget the 114-year history of collective local industry effort affording the profession its current prestige, and the long-forged privileges that benefit them today. As easy to forget is that you, as geomaticians, are the industry and have a lot to offer it.
Advancing industry interests
For more than a century, the South African Geomatics Institute (SAGI) has served its members by remaining at the forefront of industry matters. Right now it is working with the industry’s legislative body, the South African Geomatics Council, to finalise the work reservation clause in the Geomatics Professions Act of 2013, as well as to publish a new tariff for the industry.
To protect the geomatics profession and the public from non-surveyors conducting survey work, SAGI has initiated the first legal action against a non-surveyor for conducting survey work reserved for professional surveyors. As technologies remove barriers to entry to the geomatics profession, the institute has also successfully warded other professions such as town planners and engineers from taking over surveyors’ work.
Over the years SAGI has multiple times represented the survey industry in both parliament as well as by commenting on legislation such as the Sectional Titles Act, the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act and others that affect the work of geomaticians.
It has even created its own insurance product (SAGISure) to offer professional indemnity, vehicle and instrument insurance for geomatics professionals.
Advancing industry knowledge and international collaboration
The institute’s pursuit of building knowledge has been vital to advancing the local industry. In addition to its own nation-wide workshops, SAGI helps organise industry conferences such as AfricaGEO and the Geomatics Indaba. In a first for Africa, SAGI will be awarded the International Federation of Surveyors FIG 2022 Congress.
It has also established relationships with tertiary education institutions to maintain high survey standards by shaping their curricula and awarding accreditation. To pave the way for the next generation of professionals, SAGI has a trust for bursaries and funds a number of geomatics students each year.
Through regional collaboration with Zimbabwe and Botswana, SAGI has established the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Geomatics Forum to unite geomatics bodies and facilitate standards in preparation for the African Union’s free trade agreement which allow the free movement of people.
Collectively these efforts have kept the profession in good esteem, and contributed to protecting the public by maintaining the highest professional standards.
Advancing the individual
As geomatician, you are the industry. There are many ways in which you can simultaneously advance your career and serve the survey industry through SAGI.
Being an active SAGI member gives you broad insight into the industry and its undercurrents, allowing you to be more engaged with your clients, improve your problem-solving skills, and be a better business owner in your own practice.
As a SAGI member you become part of and develop a network of recognised professionals. Why not mentor the next generation and access new talent to your practice and ease your succession planning? This can boost your confidence as a young professional, and help established professionals maintain enthusiasm in their work.
You can benefit from the professional training development the institute offers, but you can also share your knowledge through presenting your work at conferences and workshops. Sharing your knowledge and expertise engrains and expands what you know, and establishes your reputation as an authority. You can also learn new skills along the way, be it more effective communication or greater collaboration.
Isn’t it time you invest time to advance your career by furthering your profession?