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Building the future – supporting our surveying cohort

Surveyors are vital to the growth of society, learn how UniSQ helping these students to build a successful future. 
UniSQ surveying student with equipment
The University of Southern Queensland is home to the nation’s largest surveying program, with approximately 750 students currently enrolled across the three degrees.

“Surveying is used in every single infrastructure construction development process that we go through within Australia,” explains Simon White, CEO of The Surveyors’ Trust.  

“If somebody is building a new development – whether it's industrial, commercial, residential, or government – without surveying there's no understanding of where it actually sits in the world.”

Surveying is an exact and ancient science. For thousands of years, cities have needed accurate records of what’s known as the “cadastre” (the precise locations and dimensions of a parcel of land in relation to the areas around it) in order to regulate land ownership, valuation, and taxation. Borrowed from Ancient Greek, the word means “organised line by line”.

While the core purpose of the surveying discipline remains, the technology involved in its execution is becoming more sophisticated by the day. 

Close industry connections are essential for an applied discipline such as surveying. Over 120 UniSQ students have benefited from bursaries funded by The Surveyors’ Trust which supported them during residential schools.  

Professor Sherif Mohamed is the Head of School and Dean (Surveying and Built Environment) explains that the University established its first surveying programs in 1978 and has continued to invest and refine the degree offerings ever since.

“South East Queensland is a fast-growing region. I believe that there's over $20 billion worth of infrastructure that is either proposed or under construction,” Professor Mohamed says. 

“In order to meet this demand, there must be a supply of Surveying and Built Environment professionals who can actually translate all these demands into reality.”

Another industry challenge is the complexity of copyright. Mr White cites a recent landmark case within the Federal Court of Australia, which explored whether artificial intelligence (AI) could be considered an inventor for the purposes of a patent. 

“There are some issues around how long we can expect to own copyright on various things, especially as AI might start to rewrite boundaries and do other things based on geospatial technology getting better, satellite technology, drones and those sorts of things that are now being utilised to map the cadastre,” Mr White says.

The Surveyors’ Trust is currently funding UniSQ research that explores the implications of digital disruption to the traditional concepts of copyright.

UniSQ is excited to see what the future holds and what will be made possible thanks to our industry partnerships.