It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of John Dixon. For many years, from his appointment in 1968 until his retirement, John was responsible for the running and development of the geo-surveying programme in the Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street. Under his able and passionate leadership the programme blossomed, becoming a highly respected four- year bachelor degree programme, with both MSc and doctoral opportunities opening on from it.
After graduating from Durham University, John’s early career was in the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya, as it was then known. He served originally as a staff surveyor from 1951 and also became an officer in the Kenya Regiment (Kenya was in the throes of the Mau Mau uprising during that period). He often spoke of the dangers of surveying in this situation and the
naivety of youth that allowed such challenges to be faced with equanimity. From around 1962 onwards he served as Superintendent of the Survey of Kenya, and held that post until the advent of Kenyan independence, at which point he returned to Europe.
In assessing John’s legacy in geo-surveying, perhaps the best tribute to him is the number of people who passed through his hands and who have risen to the pinnacle of the profession. Colin Bray, current president of SCSI, CEO of Tailte Éireann and Chief Surveyor of Ireland, and Ray Murphy, current chair of the Geomatics Professional Group and Chief Executive of Murphy Surveys, are both former students.
It is likely that the great majority of the members of the geomatics group in the SCSI also followed the same path. His legacy is a flourishing geomatics profession in Ireland and a high-quality educational system supporting that profession. He is greatly missed.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.