About Joseph

Hi, my name is Joseph Mcduff. I’m a university student finishing my final year of full time study of my Bachelor of Spatial Science (Surveying) in Toowoomba. This is my last year at university and currently super keen to hit the work force next year. Though, more than likely, I will begin to miss university and college life when I’m actually working. I like to think I’m a pretty easy going guy who love keeping people on their toes and keeping things fresh and interesting Over my studying career in Toowoomba I have met some pretty amazing friends so I try to spend as much time as I can with them and also my family. Currently my hobbies involve organizing exciting college events as President of the RSC (Residential Social Committee), watching Game of Thrones, my favorite character is Tywin, and studying Japanese – I have a good friend who helps me with my Japanese pronunciation. I am passionate about trying new things like Latin dancing and it turns out I wasn’t too bad at it either. I love my comics even at the age of 25 I still enjoy Tony stark playboy approach, Thor’s moral and epic quotes and how Spiderman just can’t seem to catch a break. I have a celebrity crush on Zooey Deschanel, and a fictional crush on Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones. Whilst this only briefly begins to explain who I am, I’m sure you’ll definitely find out more about myself, my studies and social life as semester progresses. Hope you enjoy reading about my adventures throughout the semester. Joseph

Who are Surveyors?

Hey guys today’s blog was inspired by my friends and family who seem to know little about my career of choice, Surveying.  When people ask what I do, they often respond like “oh, you’re one of those guys that looks into those funny instruments“ or “yeah, you’re one of those guys on the side of the road that checks the level and stuff“ though these statements aren’t entirely untrue  I’d like to share with you the basics about what we really do. For this blog I thought I would briefly explain what we do, enjoy.

Pic 1

What Are Surveyors??

Surveyors are essentially expert’s at measurements with the help of mathematics and specialised equipment (like the one you see in this picture above). We analyse the data which presents information about the land. Surveyors are capable of measuring just about anything whether it be on land, in the sky or under the ocean.

How we obtain data to produce maps varies with the type of instruments we use, the precision or landscape. Traditionally, surveyors used modified chain linked together that once stretched would equal a set distance to measure land. Thankfully, with passing years we have obtained instruments that make our job a little easier, these instruments include Total station, GPS and Laser scanner.

Total Station: These are operated wirelessly by a control

Total Station: These are operated wirelessly by a control

Laser Scanner: These instruments operate independently to produce data

Laser Scanner: These instruments operate independently to produce data

Laser Scanner: these instruments operate independently to produce this type of data

Laser Scanner: these instruments operate independently to produce this type of data

GPS: operate like a total station but uses satellites to obtain data. They can be used anywhere

GPS: operate like a total station but uses satellites to obtain data. They can be used anywhere

GPS: operate like a total station but uses satellites to obtain data. They can be used anywhere

GPS: operate like a total station but uses satellites to obtain data. They can be used anywhere

A diagram of old school survey (note the chain used by the surveyor in the blue shirt

A diagram of old school survey (note the chain used by the surveyor in the blue shirt

Depending on the work you’re doing different instruments are chosen due to their accuracy and convenience while there are many instruments can be used by surveyors, these are the most common.

Where can our job take us??

Now that we have a fairly good idea on what surveyors are let’s have a look at areas that surveyors can become involved in. Like some specialized careers the sky is the limit, however there are generally three main areas common to surveyors.

Cadastral Surveying:

A cadastral surveyor is responsible for accurately defining property boundaries and understanding the laws of land and ownership. This job may include the identification of residential or rural boundaries, re-establishing boundaries that have been previously surveyed or creating new boundaries as part of a land subdivision process.  A cadastral surveyor has the skill and knowledge to interpret and advise on the location of boundaries and if there are any rights or restrictions relating to the property. Only a registered cadastral surveyor can certify survey plans for lodgment with the government.

An example of a Cadastral Survey Plan

An example of a Cadastral Survey Plan

Engineering Surveyor:

Engineering surveyors are generally associated with the design and construction of new infrastructure projects. These may include high-rise buildings, road freeway systems, road tunnels, airports etc. to ensure they are built in accordance with the design criteria with regards to location, size and shape.

Just another day in the office for an Engineering Surveyor

Just another day in the office for an Engineering Surveyor

Mining surveyors

Mining surveyors work in both open cut and underground mines for minerals mining industries.  Mine surveyors will basically have responsibility for surface and underground plans of the mine site doing activities that include for an open cut mine identification the extent on the resource for excavation purposes or marking the drill patterns for blasting coal. In underground mines surveyor will determine and control the location and direction of tunnels as well as the mapping of all underground tunnels. In both open cut and underground mines, the surveyor will prepare mine plans and calculate the volume of materials moved or mined.

A surveyor at an open cut mine

A surveyor at an open cut mine

A surveyor at an underground mine

A surveyor at an underground mine

Do not be fooled in thinking that these are strictly the areas we are kept to they are merely the areas that make up the majority of the work force. We’ll now take a sneak peek into speclised area of surveying to keep it interesting I’ve posted a video of each area which you are welcome to watch if such an area fascinates you.

Hydrographic surveyors

Surveyors who measure and map the location and shape of the land under the oceans, rivers and lakes are called hydrographic surveyors. They use specialized technology to identify underwater hazards, look for oil, guide dredging projects and measure erosion.

Forensic surveyors

Forensic surveyors map, analyze and collect data used as evidence during court cases. They testify in lawsuits over automobile wrecks, industrial accidents and boundary disputes. Forensic surveyors are good communicators since they need to share technical information in a way that’s easy to understand – especially by people who know nothing about surveying. These specialists must be very precise since their evidence is scrutinized by other forensic surveyors hired by the opposing side.

Archeological surveyors

Surveyors work with archaeologists to define the parameters of an archaeological search area. They also map out locations to identify points to excavate for particular objects, artifacts, human remains and cultural heritage land.

Ok, that’s pretty much the bread and butter of what surveying is all about while it only scratching the surface I hope it helped educate you on what we really do. Like any job there are very generic parts to it that even I find boring however, I hope I’ve shown you that it does obtain exciting combination of both indoor and outdoor activity that continues to grow and revolutionize as technology advances. I hope you’ve found Surveying as exciting as I do and as a reward I’ve posted some pretty funny video relating to surveying, enjoy.

Party vs Study

Study or Party? This is a dilemma that has plagued many university students throughout the years and no doubt will continue to be a problem for students in the future. It’s a topic that no one person can provide an exact answer for, factors such as time, competence and situation dramatically impacting the answer. This should make you question the main fundamental goal of a university student which is to achieve an academic education however we can’t help but consider that guilty pleaser. No one understood this more so than Tom Petty who quotes

“You have four years to be irresponsible here. Relax. Work is for people with jobs. You’ll never remember class time, but you’ll remember time you wasted hanging out with your friends”.

As a recent university graduated who wouldn’t classify himself as a party animal I still can’t help but agree to an extent with both sides however, you be the judge on this topic.

For you to properly judge the choice between the life of a social butterfly in and the life of a uni student who places study before anything else this blog will look at two things:

  1. The physiological reason why we choose party over academic
  2. And look at procrastination which fundamentally the core of party or Study.

The Why

We look at the decisions we make between a short term and a long term reward based on the perceived reward value associated with each possible action. Before I continue I’d like to acknowledge these concepts are based off an article (One Candy Bar or Two? Party or Study? Procrastination Decisions) written by Ira Hyman who uses a clever example to explain why some times party comes before party.

The article cleverly uses an example of a child who was given a choice on a Monday morning whether he/she would prefer their candy bars be distributed either one on Thursday and the other Friday, or to receive two on Friday. Results showed that while the child chose two candy bars on the Friday valuing that as the better option, as the days passed and Thursday came the child’s valuing suddenly changed to preferring the candy bar Thursday and Friday. The idea of receiving the reward at the present outweighed an intangible reward later the next day. Anyway for those who are wondering just what I’m talking about here’s a diagram to explain.

Working Towards the Reward

Let the blue line be the reward on Thursday and Friday and the yellow line be the big reward on Friday.

This can be related back to university students, say there’s a test Friday and their going to party after it finishes on the Friday afternoon, they know there will be another party on the Thursday. Does he/she study through Thursday feel more confident about the test and go all out on the Friday night party or do they go for the second party as well and spend money and study time that perhaps hinders Friday a bit? The choice is yours?

If you would like to check out this article yourself, feel free:



Now, the boring section about procrastination, where I talk about ‘strategies to realistically manage the distractions that are bound to arise in a busy person’s schedule.’

I could give example such as:

  • close the door
  • turn off the mobile phone
  • prepare a schedule for your study session with beginning and ending times
  • take strategic study breaks so you can still pay bills, go to the gym, pick children up from school and make important phone calls
  • keep a blank ‘procrastination pad’ on the desk for jotting to remind you to think more about non-study things later, after your study period.

However I found an interesting video that will explain it better than I ever could:

To save this blog from getting too serious I’ve also added this video, Enjoy!:

And there you have it. I hope this at the very least has given you a better understanding of the age old battle of study vs party. It makes you wonder whether it all comes to this:


So the question that all university students must ask themselves:

What are you going to choose? Part or Study?

My advice about dealing with stress

Hey Guys, I finished my last course in university late last year and I wish I could explain to you how awesome it feels. It has been a long journey but it was worth it and hopefully I can find something beginning this week. Anyway I’ve still got a few more blogs to fill, so this one going to be about stress but more importantly how you can deal with it (these are my methods however feel free to make them your own.) Let face it if you want to start and finish a university degree stress is going to happen. The secret is to moderate yourself with work and play, have study breaks when your require them but moderate them, there is no right or wrong answer for time but you need to be truthful to yourself.

Method one –Exercise!

Exercise! Is one of best ways to de-stress, not only does a dose of adrenaline give you that feel good kick but you’ll find it a lot easier to relax or focus after a good workout. Now again this is not a routine you need to copy however this give you an idea of what I do. I do roughly an 8Km run. I don’t like to run just on a flat ground so I mix it up with a hill run combined in to it. In my run I encounter one hill 170 meters in that has a slow incline and another hill roughly 80 meters after with a very steep incline. Keep in mind, hill running you use your body weight as a resistance to push against, which in turn makes it harder to run.

Hill training offers the follow benefits:

  • Improved lactate tolerance
  • Improved muscle elastic
  • Developed stride frequency
  • Developed speed
  • Developed exhausted control

Guy running up sand mountain

This guys a boss

Method two – Light reading

Check it out: The Art of Manliness

Exercise is great however sometimes you need a break that’s not going to take up too much time. Light reading is great for that and if you can find something interesting to read it becomes easier to let go of stress. I refer to a site called “the art of manliness” if you’re like me and you find that Men’s Health magazine content continually going downhill and you’re wanting something a little more than sex and six packs then this is the website.

Basically the Art of manliness is articles helping men be men, looking at the past to find an example of manliness in action. Analyzing things like:

  • Dress and grooming
  • Health and sport
  • Manly skills
  • Money and career
  • Relationship and family

The Art of Manliness


Give it a read Guys… or Girls though its kind of more guys orientated sorry female reader! Lol!

Dim and Dash Comic

Funny clip I read on this website, Dim cracks me up.

Method three – Games!!

Ok, this one is for when you’re finally finished your exam/ assignment and the last thing you want to do is anything study related. Game time!!! Lol! I have a few but one that’s really got my interest at the moment is Marvel Heroes. It’s an awesome game that really hits my interest. Remember, and this is for people who have read my earlier blogs, I have an interest in Marvel Characters and they mad a diablo game it is the bomb!

This game has features like:

  • Battle as your favorite Marvel Heroes
  • Team up with friends
  • Explore the Marvel universe
  • Customise your heroes
  • And play online with your mates

Marvel Heroes

Love it!!!

Check out the trailer for the Marvel Heroes below:

Until next time,



My experience at McGregor Summer School

USQ McGregor Summer School has just recently concluded (8 – 18 January 2014) and for those who consider themselves an ‘arty’, creative or musical and have never previously attended, I would highly recommend getting involved in the future 2014 McGregor Schools – Winter and Spring respectively.

Even though I was unable to attend 2014 Summer School.  As a 2012/2013 Residential College’s student, I was fortunate enough to receive the Residential Colleges/McGregor Summer School Scholarship last year and attended the 2013 McGregor Summer School and completed the workshop ‘Manga Magic’.

So what happens?! 

It’s a ten day intensive learning experience within the areas of Performing, Visual or Creative Arts and Manga Magic (corny name, but the class was pretty cool!) was an introductory course to drawing Japanese comic drawing – Manga Graphic Novel

Our teacher was David Lovegrove a professional artist, author, designer, speaker and has a passion (and talent!) for drawing and creating Japanese Manga (comics).  David’s additional interests also include Anime, Japanese language, culture and film – from this, I knew we’d instantly click!

Over the ten days we covered an extensive amount of artistic territory which included:

• Drawing expression using a composed of movement with the eyebrows, eye and mouth
• Introduction in drawing perspective in a manner that allowed the drawer to tilt objects without causing them to distorted or incorrect
•Finally, a lesson in drawing the human body – firstly, by using geometric shapes to act as a guide when drawing the human body curves and then progressing to gaining drawing  inspiration from live art models!

Anyway, I couldn’t speak more highly of David Lovegrove.  For those who have a passion for comic art and Manga, please check out his website, in particular, the art galleries for some amazing stuff.


So my intensive fortnight workshop lead to my first ever Manga story creation which is displayed below.  It’s called ‘Fire & Ice’ and the story is about two brothers who are seeking to reunite with their father (reason is unknown).  One brother uses a honourable approach by using the police whereas the other sibling uses quite the opposite approach and is quite aggressive by using underground methods and connections to find out information relating to his father’s location.

Anyways, enjoy!

‘Fire & Ice’

Fire & Ice - 1 Fire & Ice - 2 Fire & Ice -3

Rudd 2013 Formal

So as of September 14th the Steele Rudd College formal is over and from my experience it turned out to be one of the best in my years on this great college. Each year we have a formal to celebrate our university accomplishments, the college year, reflect on what happened, celebrate the graduates and issue awards to those how have accomplished at a university level, contributed to college life and not to mention, followed by some pretty wild after-parties.

This event is run by the RSC and without the dedication and commitment of these amazing people, the college experience wouldn’t be half of what it is. But beyond the formals, the RSC is responsible for organizing a range of activities for the college including the Residential Shield competition, social events like bush dancing, Funday Sunday, after-parties and O-Week.

To give you an idea of a typical formal night we usually start with a big college picture of all residents; this time we wanted an afternoon shot as the sun was setting. With the orange background along with the open grass field and tree’s in the background it was really spectacular. We’re still getting the photos developed so you might have to take my word on it. Pre-drinks are held in the college Junior Common Room where we gather to admire the girls’ gorgeous dresses and talk before heading into our dining hall to commence the night.


During the night we have a variety of events to entertain us like block videos made by each of the college blocks. These video represent the block’s lifestyle and the students that reside in that block. These aren’t really structured but we all get a laugh or a protest depending on which block does what.

Being the President of the Steele Rudd RSC I was expected to make an announcement regarding the college year which brings me to a particular topic; Phobia (Abnormal intense fear of a given situation, Organism or object). Our phobias change over as we develop but public speaking remains on average the number one phobia, ahead of Nerophobia – fear of death, Arachibutyrophobia – fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth, Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – fear of long words and Levophobia – Fear of things to the left side of the body. Unfortunately I am a part of the one in three people who suffer from speech anxiety, so doing a presentation to a group of my fellow residents is no easy task. Having a particularly low voice that sometimes is hard to understand doesn’t help either. However the highlight of my speech was a poem dedicated to the residents of B Block which I’d like to share with you.

What Duff really thinks of B Block

It’s finally here, like a dream come true
B Block this is what I think of you


I hate you B Block, I really do
I sit and wonder what can I do


You say hello, I say goodbye
You think the reason is because I’m shy


Katharine thinks you’re cute and also funny
But to the RSC you just cost money


You make me laugh, you make me cry
It’s like being back in junior high


Thank God we’re separated by a wall
I have considered a B Block brawl


You complain so much, and say “it’s not fair”
But other blocks just do not care


You talk of love, like you have a clue
And wonder why you’ve caught the flu


You say we’ll miss you Duff
I laugh at you 
But secretly I’ll miss you too

I’m quite the poet I’ve realized. Anyway getting back to the formal, it went well and to top off the evening we had a pretty awesome band to finish our night. Now this band just so happens to be a Rudd resident Ayden Ribbits, and his band “The Whisky Fox Run”. Rather than describing the music I found a video of them performing so if you love your music check them out. Yeah they’re still a little green but they’re pretty good.


Now onto the after party – the most important point of the evening! It was pretty cool and I won’t get into the “who, what, when, where, why and how’s” of the evening because I could go on for pages. However, a party with a $400 drinking tab on the bar is a pretty good recipe for a good night out.

I am, by no means a big drinker but on occasions when I do have a big night out I may consider doing stuff a little out of the usual. This time it was Tequila Suicide and for those who are unfamiliar, I’d rather write about it than show you an example of what is involved in a Tequila Suicide. There is one performed by an actor called Sascha Gilly Israel you can look up if you want more information, or just a laugh.

 Yeah, so we snorted salt, downed Tequila and squished lemon juice in our eyes. Why did I do this you ask? Well it seemed like a good idea at the time – again I don’t overly support this, but a one off experience can be really painful but a lot of fun.

Anyway that’s pretty much everything worthy of noting from our 2013 Formal.


I hope you enjoyed reading my blog and check back as I’ll be putting a new blog up soon.

A Guide to the New Zealand Ski Trip

Hey it’s been a little while since I posted something so this post is about my recent Ski trip to New Zealand.


The Residential Colleges was offering a holiday opportunity to Queenstown in New Zealand. For those who may be unfamiliar with Queenstown is known as being a party town all season round. So, I was looking forward to it. Our ski goals were the Remarkable and Coronet Peak which was exciting being an absolute rookie to snow let alone skiing. I was looking forward to it until with a month before the trip I suffered a fractured leg, and just like the story of my life, it was too late to pull out or obtain a refund. So, this blog is 

about how I made the best of a ski trip where I didn’t really go skiing. Nevertheless there were some highlights which I will elaborate on.  


Nevis Bungy Jump and swing:
Nevis Bungy jump was located half an hour drive from Queenstown and is known for being the highest Bungy jump in Australasia at roughly 134 meter above the ground. The Nevis Swing is also the highest swing in the world.

Now, I know for most people it’s just about jumping and saying they did it however with me in this situation it’s all about choosing the craziest option to get the most out of it. So for this Bungy jump it was jumping backwards and upside down so your pretty much seeing the ground coming right at you,  doing this made it a little more memorable and that little bit more scary. Love it.

Don’t let me fool you though, I may like to try the scarier and different option but that doesn’t take away the fear. Despite what the photo below might suggest it was pretty terrifying. However like most guys when we’re being watched by women we’re surprisingly good at keeping a straight face. Anyway, in the end jumping was a great adrenaline kicker for the day and something I recommend for everyone once in their life.

Nevis Bundy Jump-2 

Queenstown Fear Factor: 
This was a pretty cool experience. This place was a maze of dark hallways where your objection was to find the exit in a pitch black surroundings with only red lights to guide you. Of course the whole time you have scary staff dressed up in Halloween costume jumping at you grabbing your legs and arms with the intention of freaking you out. So, four friends and I decided to give it a go, the whole time wondering whether our Residential Life Manager, Katharine would get scared and take the chicken-way out.

To elaborate on the chicken-way out the place has a fail-safe method for those wishing to exit the maze immediately if they no longer wanted to continue. Apparently the staff believed this had happened for over 4500 people so seeing Katherine on the picture below I’m surprised she did’’t take this option (she the second last person from the right on the picture below)


As you can see from our faces there were some pretty scary stuff in this place that got even me, but as freaked out as I got it was enjoyable. I think there’s something about being with friends on this that even though you’re little scared, you’re still enjoying the moment. So yes, I do look kinder pathetic in this photo but I will point out that I was at the front with all the scary staff freaking me out so again I’m not acting cool but I’m doing a lot better than my other friends ok so don’t judge me.

Ice Hockey Game at Queenstown Ice Arena (Southern Stampede):
This game was intense. I’ve seen ice hockey game before on TV, so when our College Manager said we were going, I thought I knew what to expect. Apparently not! Watching a final match against two international level teams was intense.

This match was a game against two experienced teams, the Southern Stamped and the Swans each team had players from around the world, not to mention a lot of hostility after facing each other last year in the finals. The only problem was that the my group didn’t know who to cheer for, which was soon resolved when we discovered team Southern Stampede was made up of a lot of Australian hockey players, so it was then a no-brainer to decide.

Throughout the game these players flew like the ice was their element, committing to fast dash to the goal, performing sharp turns to avoid potentially take out hits from the opposition players and some locking their feet in to the ice if the moment required them to hold a player against the wall.

For those unfamiliar with ice hockey yes it’s a high contact sport and despite player regularly taking nasty hits from their opponents, ice hockey players need to accept that it’s just a part of the game and keep emotion in check. Naturally, this is easier said than done. This particular hockey game had a player skating to the other side of the field in order to retaliate after an unnecessary comment was made. Although, for me seeing that was kind of cool, ultimately I was there for some honest hockey play. Watching these guys fly across the field with ease and possessing the termination to win made this game a highlight of the trip.  

State of Origin:
Can’t say I’m a big fan of watching state of Origin matches but watching it in a foreign bar really set the mood for me. Queenstown Sport Bar had every sport playing on television that you can think of, there must have been at least 100 televisions playing at once scattered around the bar. But for this particular night they realized due to the large number of Aussies, including our college group, it was beneficial for them to have all of these televisions on one game, the State of Origin!, because of this, everywhere you looked Origin was in your view so you never missed a moment. There it was really something about being in a foreign country watching the origin with other Australians that really got me worked up for the game.

For those who remember the second Sate of Origin game for 2013 it was an absolute annihilation and the Blues were defeated. At the end of the match the atmosphere was still there because everyone wanted to talk about the game making it so easy to talk with complete strangers about how much New South Wales sucked. 


So that is pretty much my New Zealand Ski trip in a short summary but I hope it gives you an idea of college trips and about me. I put a few more photos at the bottom showing other parts of my trip so enjoy.

Nevis Bundy Jump



College Survival Tips

So, today I spent a few hours thinking of things I thought people would find interesting, while keeping it related to University and College (Steele Rudd college). Because this is my last year, I’ll try to pass on some guide-lines or “survival tips” that I’ve learnt from both college and university life. Don’t worry, it’s not going to be the usual ‘make sure you submit your assignments on time’ lecture, but rather things that I have learned in the early stages of Uni and things I wish I learned sooner than I actually did.

Firstly, invest time in yourself. I see it all too often on college, people needing approval and be liked by other people. While this alone is not a bad thing, those who try too hard for approval often get distracted from their important goal, which for most of us is to achieve a university degree. While wanting to constantly be in the social loop is not terrible, you will either: a) achieve your goal but not to your full potential, or b) become a copycat that everyone loves rather than drawing people who are interested in you.

Secondly, don’t be that guy who has these amazing ideas with no action to follow. The world is full of people like that and I believe it says so much about your character if you say and do. This will make you one in eight people that can be held accountable. Now, this doesn’t always have to be big, like save the world and devote your life, it can be as simple as returning that video to your friend when you said you would.

Thirdly, when you have free time talk to the people you may not necessary talk to, this goes double for those you may classify as “uncool” or not outgoing. I guarantee there’s a lot more to that person than you may expect. For the most part there’s a really good reason why that person is who they are, and spending those extra few minutes talking to that person will really help you to see them in a new perspective. It may help you relate to them better and more importantly, stop you from being an ignorant sheep and judging without proper reason.

Lastly, this may come across as being bad, particularly coming from a college student, but saying ‘yes’ to spontaneous things that occur can sometimes be a good thing. Now, I don’t mean going out partying when you said you were going to study. This means those few times in a year when someone might propose something that’s a little out of your comfort zone or even different again, not just drinking or the opposite sex. In these situations you’ll learn something cool or experience something different. My example would be last year when I choose to participate in a poorly organized but fun road trip with an American exchange student called Christiano. We went to places like the Great Southern Road and Melbourne. The fact that most of it was last minute was kind of what made it exciting and yes a lot of things went wrong but that also added to the fun.

Anyway, I hope my guide-lines for university and college have some meaning to you. Obviously you can and should mold it to properly fit your beliefs or lifestyle. I’d like to finish by leaving you with a few tips myself and the other Rudd RSC (Residential Student Committee) members gave to Steele Rudd about becoming an RSC member.