In 2017, an initiative was launched to help address the recruitment crisis in the survey industry. Its intent was clear: to establish a path for young people where previously there wasn’t one, a path that would lead towards a career in surveying. Starting with the production of super-engaging topical posters that presented the exciting but often technical and complex world of surveying in an accessible, kid-friendly way, the project has expanded at pace. Coming soon is a dedicated website for young, would-be surveyors and educators, events where school children get hands-on surveying experiences, and a fantastic, action-packed comic series based on the adventures of a young, virtual-time-traveling survey team called the GeoSquad…
When Kwame, Maddison, Miles and Setsuko discover and activate four unusual VR headsets, they are contacted by a shadowy stranger: a cloaked traveler with cybernetic parts, who claims to be from a dreadful future... a future without surveyors.
Before they know it, the four are transported through time, put in control of their own humanoid robots – fully loaded with salvaged surveyor tech – and tasked with saving a world on the brink of complete catastrophe.
The first chapter of this comic adventure has been serialized in surveying and kid-targeted magazines across the globe, including POB magazine, as well as being featured on the Get Kids into Survey website. The next chapter of the story will continue in POB magazine in January 2020.
The purpose of the GeoSquad comics is to introduce young readers to the world of geo-survey, and its crucial importance in terms of human ecological impact, urban and industrial development, and global conservation. Through the time-splitting adventures of the central cast, the reader learns along with the team as they take lessons back from the future in order to save the present. In doing so, they gain a better awareness of the eco issues we face today, and what might happen if there aren’t enough people like them – young and full of potential – to tackle the critical challenges of global conservation in the near future, through pathways such as geospatial work.
Over the course of the squad’s adventures, the comics delve into a wide range of topical ecological issues:
Irresponsible urban construction; the effects of reckless industrial waste disposal; the impact of global warming (particularly in the contexts of rising sea levels and melting ice caps); the consequences of unsafe structural engineering, and the cost of our over-reliance on non-renewable energy sources. Crucially, this exploration is framed in the imagined context of a ‘world without surveyors,’ making it clear to the reader just how important the work of surveyors is, especially as there is a good chance otherwise that they would have no clue what a surveyor was, or what they did.
The GeoSquad comics bring to life a unique split-world that simultaneously entertains and educates, with characters who are both relatable and aspirational. And whilst the technology featured throughout the stories may seem so advanced as to border on science fiction, most of the tech is absolutely real-world – in use today in the survey industry – harnessed in the comics as another vehicle to capture the reader’s interest, spark their imagination and ignite their enthusiasm. Ultimately, it conveys a vitally important message to the reader: The future is in your hands, and you really can be part of the mission to save the planet… by becoming a surveyor.
As the Get Kids into Survey project continues to gather momentum and acclaim, its ambitious intentions follow suit. There will be a full-color print comic, featuring the collected adventures of the GeoSquad, as well as profile pages for sponsors and their tech, and follow up activities and resources to help lead the reader deeper into the world of surveying. The engaging cast of characters will also feature in an expanded scheme of work for schools, with real-world case studies and explorations into the impact of surveyors in the past, present, and into the future. The Get Kids into Survey website will be densely populated with resources for teachers, ambassadors, and kids, and these resources, including the GeoSquad comic (the perfect introduction to surveying for young people), will be made available across the industry, as well as to the public.
Of course, all of this effort to help engage young people in the world of survey and redress the industry’s recruitment crisis cannot go on without the support of industry members. Many companies have already leapt at the chance to back the initiative and have their own comic mascots appear across the Get Kids into Survey posters. Now, we are looking for supporters who will help turn this already inspiring initiative into a bona fide movement – a dedicated program that will assist educators and engage children all over the world, setting them on the path towards an exciting, fulfilling, and impactful career in surveying. The quality of the resources and output from the Get Kids into Survey team is undeniable, and the impact it is already having has been fantastic. If you wish to be part of this unique, industry-leading project and show your commitment to ending the recruitment crisis and brightening the future of the industry, please contact Elly at Get Kids into Survey. Whether it’s sponsoring content, being an ambassador for young people in your area, or investing in materials to help your organization spread the word, we can help you to contribute to, and secure, the future of the geospatial industry. Like the message of the comics says, this future is in your hands, and you really can be part of the mission to save the planet… by protecting surveying for generations to come.