Blog Post

Making our voices heard – TSA working with RICS and CICES on issues affecting the sector





data security

The Survey Association (TSA) works in collaboration with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (CICES), meeting regularly as the Survey Liaison Group (SLG). Together we explore and explain issues that affect surveyors today, and also look at challenges the sector will face in the future, such as cyber crime and data loss.  Representatives from the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) and the Geospatial Commission also attend these meetings.

In partnership with these two key organisations and others, TSA will inform, offer guidance and present new thinking on many facets of the surveying world. There are several ways we engage with our members to share this information, from newsletters and updates, to tuition courses, training and conferences. In this way we are able to encourage members to participate in our own Continuing Company Development (CCD) scheme and also offer Continued Professional Development (CPD) sharing knowledge and skills with the geospatial community.

We talk the talk

An easy and popular way to connect with our members, for example, is through events and webinars. Working jointly with RICS and CICES, we ran a webinar at the beginning of January 2022, to present on the subject of ‘Data security for the surveyor – Protecting the physical and digitally engineered world’. Data storage and sharing is a key area of surveying. As the data guardians of digital engineering, how can surveyors ensure data is collected and managed securely? This particular event, which could be attended virtually, was a lunch-and-learn webinar from CICES, RICS and TSA that explored the importance of professional security-mindedness, data security and information management on infrastructure projects.

Focusing on challenges

This particular webinar was presented by a UK government security adviser, who explored the range of security threats, the security-minded approach to data management (with examples from national infrastructure projects), and outlined the thought processes and procedures that should be followed. The presentation concluded with a Q&A, where attendees were able to ask the advisor about specific issues. This valuable CPD webinar appealed to surveyors, anyone commissioning surveys and all those working with survey data as part of the assessment and design process.

Such events are presented by experts talking knowledgeably and engagingly on subjects and issues that will resonate with any surveyor – in this case, what professionals should be mindful of in a data-centric world. The innovations across all sectors are very data-driven, as the way we log and share information has changed so drastically in the last two decades.

Safeguarding our members

Other areas of TSA’s focus include issues such as the theft of surveying equipment and ways its members can be protected against this. The problem has been championed by TSA, as equipment theft is a serious issue for professions, with insurance underwriters sometimes unwilling to support businesses in the geospatial sector unless preventative action is taken. The cost of a typical piece of equipment can average around £20,000. For this reason, TSA has tried to gather all data relevant to survey equipment theft, working with several organisations over many years, to advise on preventing theft and what to do when member companies fall victim to it.

For example, in April 2018, with the support of equipment manufacturers Topcon, Trimble and Leica Geosystems, TSA brokered a three-year agreement with SmartWater, which produces traceable liquids that can be used in crime detection. A new agreement was signed in September 2021 to continue the gathering of information.

In this and other ways TSA is changing the surveying landscape and protecting its members interests and futures.