Meet the D-Team Series: Joe Culliver

January 14, 2021

In our Meet the D-Team Series, we want you to get to know what makes us tick and what we gets us excited.

This week, meet Joe Culliver, Diodrone’s Scanning and Spatial Manager. Joe started his geospatial career in the Australian Army, bringing a disciplined approach to his work. Leading our Scanning and Spatial team, Joe is passionate about all things laser scanning and lives and breathes an outcome driven approach.

Here’s a quick Q&A with Joe, talking about his career to date, the latest advances in the industry that he’s excited about and what he sees as the biggest opportunities for spatial services providers.

  • Tell us a little bit about your career so far…
    My career in spatial sciences really began when I joined the Australian Army to become a Geomatic (Geospatial) Engineer with the hope of specializing in surveying. During my time in the Army, I was fortunate enough to work all around Australia as both a geospatial engineer and a surveyor, and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 as a project surveyor supporting a multi-national team with the purpose of helping to rebuild the country. In early 2016 I became a civilian again when I left the Army and joined a survey firm in Sydney specializing in high rise construction and brown field site redevelopments. During this time, I built out an RPAS and laser scanning capability within the business – which was all relatively new to the industry at that stage. I’ve since become something of a laser scanning specialist, working for a large survey and engineering firm providing spatial and modelling support across a range of engineering projects.
  • Tell us about a standout project that you worked on…
    One of the most personally stand out projects would have to be the upgrade and renewal of an unsealed major arterial road outside of Tarin Kot in Afghanistan. It was a true example of data fusion at its best, due to the operational complexities at the time a traditional survey of the alignment was never going to be possible, so I had to bring multiple data sources together into a single model which I and the civil engineers could work off. The majority of the route was captured by aerial LiDAR mounted to a helicopter, this was complemented by high resolution satellite imagery which allowed for corridor linework to be digitised. Using this preliminary linework and imagery of both wet and dry seasons, we determined key areas of concern. We were then able to plan specific missions to each of these sites for traditional surveys to be completed. Once all the sites had been surveyed the data was used to ground truth the aerial LiDAR and new linework was generated, informing a detailed design package including surface upgrades, culvert placements and curve re-alignments. I enjoyed the operational and technical challenges we faced on this project. Incorporating aerial LiDAR allowed us to do much more than would conventionally have been possible – and we did it faster and safer.
  • What are some of the advances in reality capture and surveying that have you most excited?
    The advances in modern computing, photogrammetry and point cloud processing over the past few years are pretty exciting –  when I first started surveying I never imagine I’d regularly work with billions upon billions of collected points. Then there’s all the advances in BIM and modelling, it generally a very exciting time to be in this industry….
  • Where do you see some of the biggest opportunities for spatial service providers to add value to the AEC sector?
    The biggest opportunity to add value comes from developing a better understanding of the client’s objectives and workflows to ensure the most effective reality capture solution is developed. Asking the client the whys and hows up front ensure the best outcomes for all. More than just conformance to a specification or RFQ line item, we need to see ourselves as partners on our client’s project and ensure that our service, as much as our deliverables, help drive successful outcomes.
  • Who inspires you most in the industry? Company or Individual…Leica Geosystems, their continual investment in laser scanning technology, both in hardware and software development, has made the industry what it is today.
  • What is your favourite thing to do on the weekend?
  • Spending time with my wife and three daughters, you’ll often find us at either Taronga Zoo or Symbio Wildlife Park checking out all the animals.
  • Which do you prefer –  books, YouTube, or podcasts?
  • I would say a mix of books and YouTube, but I don’t read/watch recreationally it’s all about learning more information; the only fiction books I have in my life are the children’s books I read with my girls.
  • What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
  • Of what I can talk about –  I would say one of my solo hikes, like my speed ascent of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
  • Best quote you have heard?
  • “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” -Henry Ford

Keen to get in touch with our Scanning and Spatial team?

Joe Culliver, Scanning and Spatial Manager, Diodrone