Celebrating Spatial Excellence!

Congratulations to the 2022 Spatial Excellence Award Winners and Finalists

  • 08 November 2022

Celebrating Spatial Excellence!


Last Thursday, we announced the 2022 Spatial Excellence Award winners at a special cocktail event held at the Harbourside Function Centre in Wellington. Proudly presented by S+SNZ, these awards showcase and celebrate the deserving winners who are automatically entered into the APSEA Awards. Well done to all nominees and winners!

Industry Awards


Award for Community Impact (Highly Commended) – Recognises unique contributions the spatial industry has had on people and communities.

Awarded to: (Joint highly commended entrants) Nelson City Council: Geospatial Services team and Climate Change team, and Tonkin & Taylor

This year the quality of entries was very high and, as a result, we had both a winner and a highly commended entry.

The highly commended entry was a collaboration between a City Council and a Spatial business as part of a climate adaptation project on Coastal flooding.

The Council in question is developing an adaptive strategy to prepare for the impacts of climate change and initial community engagement has focused on coastal and lower River flooding.

To support this engagement, our winners collaborated on a model for coastal and river flood risk. The model worked well for the technical specialists; however, our winners wanted to go further and communicate the risks to their communities in a way that would be easy to understand.

This led to the development of a 3D story map and static 2D print maps to support community engagement.



Award for Community Impact - Recognising unique contributions the spatial industry has had on people and communities.

Awarded to: (Joint winners) Beca Limited, Waipa District Council, InPlace Limited, Maximize Limited and Interactionz for Ahu Ake - the Waipā Community Spatial Plan

The project: This year’s winner was also the result of a collaboration on behalf of a Council – this time, a North Island District Council which has been experiencing strong population growth.

The work of our winners has provided a blueprint for the district for the next 30-plus years and will also provide the foundation for all future planning and investment that directly shapes the district’s communities.

Our winning diverse project team aimed to simplify storytelling and raise engagement by exploiting GIS and deep spatial analysis helped to create five interlinked Growth Scenarios.

Sharing the scenarios using online Storymaps will enable partners and community stakeholders to digitally explore their hometowns, places, think, talk, and actively contribute to making their communities flourish.

Progress over time will be measurable.



Award for Environment and Sustainability - Recognising products and projects that help to resolve any issue in an environmental context.

Awarded to: Ballance Agri-Nutrients

Our winner, in conjunction with a commercial partner, has been developing data science and machine learning algorithms to automatically identify environmentally sensitive geospatial zones and exclusion areas to build into their spreading plans when applying fertiliser from aircraft.

This is an example of a business providing its shareholder base with tools and techniques so they can better manage the sustainability and environmental aspects of their farms.



Award for Innovation – Medium to Large Business (Highly Commended) - Recognising a unique delivery of a project, product or service based on a new idea, method, technology, process or application resulting in significant social, environmental and/or economic benefits.

Awarded to: Woods and UAS NZ Limited for The Rapid Mapper

The project: The highly commended entry recognises an innovative new mapping system that was recently selected as the winner of the Christchurch Aerospace Challenge 2022. This challenge was established to encourage innovations in aerial imagery technology in Christchurch.

The system couples the best of drone tech with the operational flexibility of manned aircraft and it's compact, fully self-contained design means it can be fitted to an aircraft quickly and fly under weather conditions that prevent traditional aircraft and satellite systems.



Award for Innovation – Medium to Large Business - Recognising a unique delivery of a project, product or service based on a new idea, method, technology, process, or application resulting in significant social, environmental and/or economic benefits.

Awarded to: BECA

The project: The survey industry has been limited in the ability to complete measurement surveys remotely, in hazardous environments. Clients are asking for measurement data in spaces that are, often, not safe for a surveyor to enter such as culverts, tanks, damaged buildings, and contaminated sites.

In the last 18 months, our winner designed, and 3d printed a remote-controlled robotic vehicle designed specifically to accommodate one of their 3D Scanners. This provided a useful tool to conduct a measurement survey, effectively eliminating the hazards associated with a person entering a hazardous space and enabling the surveyor to remain in a safe place.



Award for Spatial Enablement - Recognising products or projects in which the application of spatial information, methodology and/or tools has greatly improved the outcomes of a non-spatial project, process or product.

Awarded to: New Zealand Police

The project: Knowing where to invest is critical for resiliency. Cities want to be diligent and avoid investing in assets that may not be worth the investment long-term. But how does a city do this responsibly? Tauranga City Council has figured this out and Stantec helped them do it responsibly and efficiently.



Award for Technical Excellence - Recognising products or projects in which the application of spatial information, methodology and/or tools has greatly improved the outcomes of a non-spatial project, process or product.

Awarded to: Woods

The project: The Technical Excellence Award recognises surveying and spatial projects that apply existing technology and methodologies to an exceptionally high technical standard, overcoming significant technical challenges, and delivering outstanding results for the client.

Our winner is a land development and geospatial consultancy with a desire to continually improve outcomes for its clients through the use of technology and innovation to improve efficiency, quality, and safety at scale.

With this ethos, our winner combined many survey techniques and technologies to achieve a high-accuracy survey of over 40km of the Auckland Metro rail corridor without requiring a Block of Line. With an estimated 90% reduction of time within the rail corridor compared to conventional options and zero disruption to train services, their solution delivered on safety as well as survey products.



Special Award – SSSI Hydrographic Excellence Award - Aims to recognise hydrographic projects and fieldwork that reflect hydrographic excellence, and which deliver hydrographic best practices, either ashore or afloat. This award is open to Australian and New Zealand-based hydrographers.

Awarded to: Toitū Te Whenua LINZ and Napier Port

The project: Errors in marine navigation have the potential of serious and significant health and safety, environmental and economic consequences.

The New Zealand Hydrographic Authority has worked closely with Napier Port to develop a high-density electronic navigational chart that supports safe navigation in the redeveloped Napier port area.

The more detailed information provided by the high-density chart also expands the range of weather and tidal conditions in which safe navigation may be conducted. This, in turn, supports increased productivity of the port.


Individual Awards


Postgraduate Student Award for 2022 - This award is conferred on a Postgraduate student who has undertaken a research project that contributes to the ongoing progression of the surveying and spatial profession.

Awarded to: Sophie Curtis-Ham

The project: In their Ph.D. research this winner developed a method to leverage Police administrative data on crime and location-based activity locations to prioritise suspects in criminal investigations. This method, known as GP-SMART, or the Geographic Profiling Suspect Mapping and Ranking Technique, implements a theoretical model to predict the future activity locations of offenders, based on their past activity locations and is freely available to police analysts worldwide.

This research primarily contributes to the ongoing progression of the spatial profession by highlighting the power of spatial data held by Police to help solve crimes and through the model’s broad potential application in the spatial industry.



Professional of the Year Award 2022 - A practitioner who is working in any of the disciplines of surveying and spatial sciences whose professional achievements are acknowledged by peer citation as exemplifying the highest standards of excellence and ethical conduct.

Awarded to: Michael Pinkerton

This year’s winner of this prestigious honour is an innovator and leader within the Asia-Pacific geospatial sector.

In a 26-year career, he has applied his expertise to complex projects including Inland Rail, Auckland City Rail Link, Kaikōura earthquake recovery and industrial developments.

He strives for technical excellence and is an early adopter of new technologies. His eminence saw him consulted as a subject matter expert to develop KiwiRail’s spatial capture standard, considered industry-leading across Australasia.

His expertise in the application of spatial data capture techniques and focus on managing risk has seen mobile laser scanning become an accepted methodology on highway projects across NZ and Australia.