This edition of the Surveyors Journal explores the many ways technology is changing the profession.
First let me congratulate Des O’Broin on his election as president of the Society. Des sets out some thoughts and themes for his presidency in an interview with Colm Quinn in this edition. One of the things he points to is the emergence of offsite/modular construction, which is set to transform our industry. He says he is looking at some projects here, which must be welcome as a contribution to solving our housing crisis.
Innovative technology and the change it is bringing is a theme of this edition. James Scott of the MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab, speaking at the SCSI PropTech and Smart Construction Conference last April, said that tech will change our industries, which are ripe for change. He points out that change is coming and it’s not going to be about robots replacing bricklayers but about professionals using technology to augment their jobs. By way of a warning, in his article on digitising construction, David Clark points out that the construction industry has been slow to adopt the benefit from digital transformation. Surveyors need to be thinking more about all this and possible futures for the construction and property industries. In what I found to be a fascinating article, the potential of technology is amply illustrated by Stuart Green’s piece on earth observation satellites, which have been orbiting the planet since the 1970s. Apparently Teagasc has developed software that can give a full 40-year land use history of any land use parcel. In urban areas imagery can spot the early impact of gentrification by automatically counting trees in a neighbourhood. This could be useful for young surveyors trying to spot the next up and coming neighbourhood in which to live. Further studies show that an increase in brightness levels is directly linked to economic activity, and shows up long before any evidence in official economic statistics. Again, property speculators may have a new tool to help them in timing their buy/sell decisions!
Finally, in this edition we mark the passing of a former colleague of mine, Joe Davis. Joe will be fondly remembered by many surveyors who graduated from Bolton Street in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s. He was a brilliant and memorable lecturer as I am sure all who knew him will agree.