Hilik Horovitz, November 2009 (Hebrew version)
This article describes the different administration sections and services provided by the Survey of Israel (SOI) beginning with its early days as the Mandatory Department of Surveys in 1920: Manpower/ Human Resources, financial resources, equipment and instrument storage and maintenance, transportation (from donkeys to modern 4x4 vehicles), project planning and tracking, pricing, marketing mapping products, statistics, construction and more.
Administration during the British Mandate
The establishment of the Mandatory Department of Surveys was announced on May 19, 1920, in the official gazette published by the British military in Palestine. On June 19, Chief Administer of Palestine, General Bols, sent a document to London in which he described his logistic plans for cadastral registration in Palestine. The Department of Surveys was established because of the need to conduct cadastral surveys. The document discussed the need for budget allocations for the first year of work. It also discussed organizational aspects of the registration of rights – recruiting manpower, determining the areas in which the settlement will be conducted, setting a start date, employee training, receiving assistance and professional support from the Survey of Egypt, etc. The original plans for the Department of Surveys were therefore not prepared by the Department itself.
As Britain was an imperialist country, many decisions regarding Palestine's Department of Surveys' activities were made in London. The offices involved in decisions and rulings, updates and support for the Palestine Department of Surveys were: the Middle East Department of the Colonial Office, the Foreign Office and the Crown Agents for the Colonies. The Empire appointed directors and senior employees who were sent to work at the Palestine Department of Surveys on its behalf. The Survey of Egypt also supported its counterpart in Palestine. An expert staff from Sudan and Egypt were sent to the Department of Surveys in Palestine as soon as it was established. The staff included the Department's temporary Director, Major C.V. Quinlan from Australia, two British officers from the Survey of Egypt, four surveyors and a Syrian plotter employed in Egypt. Ernest Dowson operated in Palestine in 1923-1927. His conclusions made the Palestine cadastral reform possible. Dowson completed his previous roles in Egypt as the Survey Director and chairman of the government commission for examining land registration methods. This British-Egypt-Palestine cooperation led to intensive legislation for survey procedures, land settlement and other related fields. The Department of Surveys benefited from the Empire's administrative support, especially during its first years. The assistance helped the department and other authorities involved in land registration, specifically the Lands Department, to promote and improve their joint land settlement activities. The Empire's sheer size and its vast human and professional resources made it possible to appoint the best professionals as directors at the Department of Surveys. The three directors, Ley, Salmon and Mitchell, left their mark on the Department of Surveys. Ley established geodetic infrastructure and began cadastral mapping. Salmon promoted topographic mapping and Mitchell took advantage of available financial resources to renew topographic mapping, including military and cadastral mapping.
The Department of Surveys enjoyed relative professional and administrative independence at a national level. The Department hired employees from among the local population, trained them, assigned them to different positions and provided them with survey tools and other necessary equipment. The British tried to place employees in the roles that best suited them. The Computation Division received honorable mention in 1925 due to the work of five division employees, all Jewish – Boris Goussinsky, Y. Sharir, Eliezer Sisa, S. Jabotinsky and Dr. David Leibrecht. The majority of the field surveyors were Arabs, many of whom grew up in villages from which they often roamed the area. A large number of employees were temporary, hired for specific projects as assistants and fired when the projects were completed.
The Manpower Division prepared labor staff lists in chart format and published a booklet. One chart, for example, listed the Nazareth office employees (as is stated on its cover). The list included the employee's name, serial number, address, work commencement date, last salary raise received, date of birth and a space for comments. An additional column was later added by hand indicating the employee's shoe size. The cover page shows the date that the booklet was printed and the dates at which the division or holder must return it to be updated. The booklet was printed in April 1945 and listed dates for future updates on August 1945, February 1946, August 1946, etc. The booklet's copy index appears as well. A note listing guidelines for raising employees' salaries based on their positions was attached to the inside cover. For example, specially trained employees were entitled to a larger salary increase, to be updated by a maximum of 6 Palestine pounds every 24 months. Many changes and comments were handwritten in the booklet after it was printed - employees who were fired or who passed away were crossed out, for example. The salary column contained handwritten salary updates. Information about employees hired after the booklet was printed was also handwritten. The list included 294 printed names, of which approximately 50 were erased (due to termination or death). 196 names were handwritten of which 148 were erased. The total number of employees in Nazareth at the time of the booklet's last update (the precise date is uncertain) was 292. The number seems suspiciously high, leading to the assumption that the list was not accurately updated.
A page from the Nazareth office staff list, printed in April 1945.
Handwritten entries were added later on.
The Manpower Division also kept track of the number of employee sick days. The 1928 annual report noted that 902 work days were lost due to illnesses, 155 of which were attributed to malaria. The 1929 report noted that the employees were relatively healthy that year. 1607 work days were lost due to illnesses, 299 of which were caused by malaria. The surveyors in the field were the most frequently infected. The 1940-1946 summary report stated that none of the Department's employees were infected by smallpox or typhus, though there were outbreaks in Palestine. Vaccinations against two types of stomach/intestinal typhus were given and the report noted that the number of work days lost due to malaria dropped to only 38 in 1946.
In 1940, a Statistics Division was opened in the Department of Surveys, which was expanded three years later. The division coordinated staff lists, lists of projects in progress, reports on sick days, absences, resignations, death, etc. Combining staff lists made it possible to present manpower-related statistics and diagrams, help make more efficient use of work time, present financial data, conclusions and more. Image A shows a diagram prepared by the Statistics Division displaying the amount of time allocated for each type of work (administration, printing, triangulation, etc.) conducted by the Department of Surveys during each year between 1941 and 1946. The diagram also shows the different percentiles dedicated to each area each year. For instance, 16% of all work conducted in the Department of Surveys was dedicated to administration. In 1942, it consumed 12.5% of employees' efforts, in 1943 – 13.5%, 1944 – 14%, 12.5% in 1945 and 14% in 1946. Cadastral surveys consumed 47.5% of the total work time in 1945, 36% in 1942, 46.5 in 1943, 58.5% in 1944, 54% in 1945 and 45% of all work effort in 1946. This information shows an obvious increase in cadastral surveys during 1944-1945, peaking in 1944. This information, with additional data such as the number of work hours per year made it possible both then and today to analyze and draw conclusions about the emphasis placed on different areas during that period.
Diagram prepared by the Statistics Division which shows the relative amount of time dedicated to each area (administration, print, triangulation, etc.) of work performed by the Department of Surveys each year between 1941 and 1946.
Surveyors and field workers lived in tents and rode animals. Their camps were comprised of several large tents and several medium-sized "bell" tents. Surveyors rode horses and their assistants rode donkeys or walked. Donkeys carried surveying equipment. Some teams also had a camel. Food had to be provided for the employees and their animals. The Department of Surveys' 1922-1923 annual report presents, for instance, the resources dedicated to caring for the animals and the fact that they were cared for by members of the Department of Surveys administration: "Five camels, one mule and four donkeys died. One horse and one donkey were stolen by Bedouins. All losses, other than the donkeys, were old and worthless for the hard work required of survey staffs. Four of the ten donkeys brought in from Cyprus died shortly after their arrival. The Veterinary Department reports a viral infection". Later, the same report describes the tents received by the Department of Surveys: "Many of the army tents in use are either worn or covered in fungus. A significant number of them must be replaced. A suitably designed mobile shack is needed for cadastral survey teams and one model is currently being considered".
The warehouse operators were responsible for providing the appropriate equipment to each Department of Surveys employee. Moshe Sharir, a Jewish surveyor who began surveying in Palestine in 1925, wrote: "At the Department of Surveys, I first trained by copying a map of the Nile River Delta. It was plotted on a transparent piece of paper, using a thin nib and a double ruler (an instrument not used today). My training lasted two months, until a British Department director namedCrusher, who later became the Director General of Department of Surveys, decided that I had practiced enough and transferred me to the field division which conducted surveys for situation maps at a 1:2500 scale using a plane table". This excerpt proves the need for different types of equipment: from plotting equipment to survey tools. Logarithmic boards, blank field-notepads, fabric and metal measuring tapes, shoes for surveyors, manual computation machines, plotting tables were all required, as well as any other equipment that Department of Surveys employees might need.
Transitioning from the British Mandate to the State of Israel
When the British Mandate ended and the State of Israel was established, the number of Department of Surveys' employees dropped from 736 at the end of the Mandate (including 309 technical workers) to 68 in October 1948. This drastic decline was the result of several factors: British directors and employees left Palestine when the Mandate ended, some leaving as early as February and relocating to Ramle were the Arab Department of Surveys was to be established; Arab employees no longer came to work at the Tel Aviv office after the Partition Plan was announced on November 29, 1947 and the incidents that followed on the Tel Aviv-Jaffa border; Jewish workers were recruited to underground military units and later to the Israel Defense Force.
Employees remaining in Tel Aviv lost contact with the Department of Surveys administration after it was officially transferred to Ramle. Nevertheless, the British Department of Surveys administration continued to handle Tel Aviv manpower issues from the Ramle office or from the Mandate headquarters in Jerusalem until the Mandate ended on May 15. The official British offices were busy preparing to depart Palestine: preparing affirmations of employment at the Department of Surveys, financial arrangements, etc. Once the Mandate ended, manpower and other administrative issues were managed from the British offices in Cyprus.
A letter sent from the Department of Surveys in Ramle to Arye Greenbelt of the Tel Aviv office. The letter discusses his retirement options. Signed by Luckstone.
An official envelope of His Majesty's Government Ministries sent from the Cyprus office on February 16, 1949 to Hadassa Ruhimovich in Palestine.
Survey of Palestine issues that still required processing after the Mandate ended were handled from the Cyprus office.
The remaining employees at Lincoln St. reorganized under Boris Goussinsky's temporary management until Moshe Yohnovetski was appointed acting Director. Several months later, during the second half of 1948, Joseph Elster was appointed Director General, a position that he held for 23 years. Organizing the Department of Surveys for the emerging state of Israel required administrational management of manpower within the Department, contact with outside authorities, including map and photography service providers and with the Department of Surveys field employees. Shoshana Noodleman, for instance, was a phone-line operator during the Mandate and continued in that role until after the State of Israel was established. She was then transferred to the Planning Division were she was needed to summarize the field employees' work hours to calculate their salaries (as descibed in a conversation with Survey of Israel retirees, Sept. 9, 2003).
The State of Israel – the First Decades
The number of employees at the main office in Tel Aviv and the Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem regional offices (there were almost no employees at the other branches) began to grow and reached 173 during 1949-1950. The numbers continued to climb, reaching 506 in 1974/75. From then on, the number of employees began to decline in accordance with the national objective of reducing manpower in government ministries.
The new State of Israel prioritized Department of Surveys activity differently from the priorities assigned by the Mandate: significantly fewer work days were allocated for cadastral surveys; control surveys and triangulation began in the Negev, which was mapped for the first time -using a precise control network and work days were allocated for the project; more work days were allocated for engineering surveys to build infrastructure for residential areas and employment for new immigrants; a Photogrammetry Division was established, as well as a Survey School – first in a temporary location in PWD (Public Works Department) warehouses and later in a designated building in Holon's Tel Giborim neighborhood.
The development and advancement created a need for larger human resource administrative divisions to recruit, train, employ, promote, and pay workers. The need for new planning, logistics and equipment purchasing, distribution and maintenance divisions increased as well. Updated lists were made of employees and managers, infrastructure was created to pay salaries, and workers were reassigned to different offices and positions according to transfer policies determined by the director, Joseph Elster. Field work required transportation and vehicles were needed. Communication with surveyors in the Negev was necessary as they began their work in far-off Eilat. Seats for surveyors were arranged on Arkia flights and new equipment was tested. Equipment was purchased as well as new and old types of replacement parts. Instruments had to be calibrated and repaired. Department of Surveys employees were sent to study geodesy, cartography, plotting and photogrammetry at the Survey School. Employees began to attend courses and receive in-service training.
The Department of Surveys annual reports as of 1950-51 list the following administrative divisions: Administration and General Secretarial Office (which included the General Administration, Secretary's office, Management and Economics); Treasury (accounting and bookkeeping); Transportation; General Technical Administration which included Planning, Mechanic Workshops and Warehouses.
Administration included the Director General, his military-appointed deputy (the commander of the Mapping and Photography Services and later the commander of the military mapping unit was Deputy Director of the Department of Surveys, by virtue of his authority), treasurer and manpower manager. The secretaries typed letters, filed them, kept schedules, transferred phone calls, etc.
The Treasury made calculations and kept track of work hours, records of payments and sales, equipment and instruments purchased and prepared balance sheets. The Treasurer was a Ministry of Finance employee assigned to the Department of Surveys. By virtue of his authority, he supervised the Department of Surveys' expenses in order to make the financial system more efficient and prevent waste of public funds.
Transportation allocated drivers for field surveyors and registered and maintained vehicles. According to Yaakov Bedjerano, who became a Department of Surveys driver in 1956, field surveyors in the Negev used military command cars and Power Wagon vans owned by the Department of Surveys. Surveyors used Department of Surveys' vehicles, including Willis Jeeps and vans, for surveys conducted north of the Negev. These vehicles were provided by the government vehicle administration. Later, the Department of Surveys received Reno-4s, GMCs and other, more recent models, up until today's modern off-road vehicles. Bedjerano was a field driver until 1978/79, when he was appointed Vehicle Supervisor.
A Power Wagon used by Department of Surveys surveyors, with a military command car to its left in Beer Ora. Standing in front of the vehicles are (from right to left) Reuven Salman (wearing a kafia), Yaakov Bedjerano, temporary surveyor assistant, Moshe Kaplan – driver, David Elfar from Photogrammetry
A military command car assigned to the Department of Surveys Negev surveyors. The photograph was taken at the Hava Flatlands during the 1950s/1960s. Yaakov Bedjerano, the driver, is seated on the hood on the right. The others standing on the command car are security soldiers from the second command car (its front wheel can be seen on the left side of the photograph). The surveyors are seated inside the car.
Surveyor Shlomit Shamai photographed the surveyors, their assistants and security officers on a military command car in the Negev. Taken in the 1950s/1960s.
The Planning Division was responsible for tracking work conducted by the Department of Surveys and pricing the work based on information collected while tracking. Each project was planned in detail, including technical information and the number of work days and finances involved. Each assignment was given a number made up of a serial number and a code, which allowed it to be classified according to its essence and its category. This number was used to track budget usage, measure compatibility between plans and operations and to prepare statistic reports. Detailed calculations were performed for each project so that costs and efficiency could be analyzed. Each Department of Surveys employee filled a daily report of his work and assignments for that day, in order to receive the most accurate information possible about the cost of work. The employees reported the work they had done and how much time they invested in it, as well as any absences. The Manpower Division kept track of all types of absences per employee. Keeping records of wages – per section and per employee, cost of material and direct expenses, distribution of work-days per type of assignment, allowed the administration to determine precise cost standards and cost of a work day per division.
The data that was collected and processed was used by the Planning Division to generate different tracking reports. The most important and useful reports were:
- Statistical Report: number of vacation and sick days used, absences, unused vacation days, convalescence pay, etc.
- Work Report: expenses per assignment, per unit, including a detailed list of work days, overtime, living expenses, materials, transportation, etc.
- Tracking Report: All ongoing projects appear in this report, including information about clients, estimates and comparisons between estimates and actual operation, etc.
- Client Report: Each customer appears in the report with a list of all of the projects he has ordered, operational costs and bills submitted.
- Task Completion Report: Lists each completed project with order details, operation estimates and amount due.
- Technical Statistic Report: gives an accurate description of the Department's activities. The report allows budget tracking and can be used to prepare budget plans for upcoming years.
The Mechanic Workshop repaired and adjusted survey instruments, repaired machines and electronic equipment and completed welding and scribing assignments. The workshop also repaired dozens to hundreds of metal and fabric measuring tapes per year. In an interview with Zion Shitrug, he described, somewhat amused, that when he broke a steel measuring tape, he had to pay 5 lira to repair it out of his 40-45 lira salary. Surveyors found someone in Tel Aviv who would repair the measuring tapes for only two and a half liras by shortening the measuring tape by a centimeter or two. When a fabric measuring tape tore, the surveyor would sew it himself, shortening it by two centimeters or more.
Steel measuring tapes used by Department of Surveys surveyors and repaired at the Mechanic Workshop
Fabric measuring tapes from the collection of Sharir – Certified Surveyors
Warehouses provided equipment for the Department and its employees. All required equipment was purchased, registered and stored. It was issued to employees based on criteria defined by the Department. Surveyor Simha Doron recalled that the warehouse manager, Mr. Tamari, would demand to see the end of the last pencil when surveyors came in asking for a new one. Zion Shitrug added that surveyors had to pay the cost of a lost pencil. This rule applied to all perishable equipment and to some types of surveying equipment.
During its early days, the Department of Surveys also employed a carpenter and a shoemaker, located near the warehouse and the workshop. The carpenter would repair desks and "hubs" (red and white guard stakes). The original hubs were two meters long. The carpenter repaired broken hubs, shortening them to 1.8 or 1.7 meters. During observations, surveyors would ask the assistant holding the hub if it was a two meter hub or a repaired one. The shoemaker repaired surveyors work shoes.
Surveyors' worn shoes, taken in the 1950s
The Department of Surveys annual report for 1950-1951 indicated the following information: 13 people were employed in the secretarial division and in accounting. They were responsible for correspondence, writing letters, bookkeeping, accounting and housekeeping (security and cleaning). The transportation division maintained Department of Surveys' vehicles. The report also stated that the number of vehicles allocated for the Department of Surveys was insufficient. Surveyors needed more vehicles and the lack of them caused delays – especially to Negev surveys. General Technical Administration was responsible for planning (three employees ran the Planning Division), supervising ongoing assignments, giving technical information and preparing publications. The Mechanic Workshop employed two mechanics responsible for repairing and adjusting equipment. A total of 131 repairs and adjustments were reported. The Warehouse employed six workers and supplied the Department's needs, stored wares and managed registries. The 1950-51 annual report listed 796 incoming vouchers, product removal based on 1451 outgoing vouchers and receiving and delivering products for immediate use based on 152 bills and outgoing vouchers. As no details of the vouchers are available, the numbers are listed here to give the reader a general idea of the scope of activity at the warehouse.
Important issues handled by the Department of Surveys administration that year, according to the annual report:
- Increasing the workforce, specifically hiring additional skilled workers: The Survey School's first graduates were hired. They were committed to work for government offices for at least three years. 133 new employees were hired, bringing the total workforce to 234 employees.
- Resignation: The market, always in search of experts, was very attractive for government employees. Several employees opted to join the private sector and earn higher salaries. 60 Department of Surveys employees resigned during 1950/51, significantly interfering with the Department of Surveys growth process.
- Purchasing Survey Equipment: some progress was made, though only a small percentage of the required survey equipment was purchased.
- Photogrammetry: Efforts were invested in locating and purchasing photogrammetric equipment; Moshe Erez was sent to the US for training, funded by the UN.
- Partial improvements made to the printing equipment, which was received from the Mandate government in poor condition.
- Construction and Expansion: An initial sum was allocated to build an additional building (next door to the Department of Surveys, at number 3, Lincoln St.) which would house the Public Works Department. The building at 1 Lincoln St. was not large enough to hold both departments. Progress on expanding the original building was slow, due to difficulty acquiring construction materials.
That year the balance of financial activity was 323,736 Israeli liras.
During the 1950s and the early 1960s, the Department of Surveys building was expanded. Construction began on the new building next door to be used for the PWD (Public Works Department). The construction would add work space, especially to make room for space-consuming photogrammetric equipment. The 1953-54 annual report stated that Department of Surveys building was to be for the Department's use only, requiring that the PWD move to the new building on 3 Lincoln St. Construction began on the wing to the left of the entrance to the Department of Surveys to make the Photogrammetry Division's work more efficient. The 1956-57 annual summary reported that the extension had been completed. Construction began on the third story of the wing to the right of the entrance to the Department of Surveys. This project, completed during 1963-64, added 545 sq. meters to the building. 140 additional sq. meters were constructed during 1965/66 to make room for more photogrammetric equipment. The total area of the building after construction was 4065 sq. meters. The construction projects required timetables, administrative offices for the different divisions, communication with external parties, purchasing equipment, training for new equipment and more.
The Department of Surveys annual report for 1960-61 shows a significant increase in administrative, secretarial, finance and housekeeping employees. 47 people were employed in these fields, of which 35 had official positions and 12 did not (only 13 people were employed in administration during 1950-51). The number of Planning Employees remained unchanged (three employees). The number of warehouse employees remained unchanged (six employees), and an additional employee was recruited for the Mechanic Workshop (for a total of three employees). The Mechanic Workshop adjusted and repaired 92 survey instruments, checked and repaired 166 measuring tapes and repaired 293 machines and other electronic equipment. The work load was three times the amount in 1950-51, without taking steel measuring tape repairs into account. The warehouse issued 1028 vouchers for incoming products, 833 vouchers for outgoing products and 255 bills and outgoing vouchers for products received and delivered for immediate consumption.
The 1960-61 financial balance was 4,204,808 Israeli liras, 13 times the scope of financial activity in 1950-51.
The Department sent its administrative employees for public administration, human resources and logistics training in order to expand their knowledge and improve services provided to the Department of Surveys' different divisions. The courses and conferences attended by Department of Surveys representatives in 1960-1961 included:
- Deputy Director of the Department of Surveys, Asher Sollel, participated in the second national conference for public administration on January 20, 1960.
- Two Department of Surveys employees participated in the third national conference for public administration held on January 11-12, 1961.
- The Deputy Chief Warehouse Manager participated in a logistics and housekeeping seminar held from March 27 to April 1, 1960.
- A seminar for Chief Warehouse Managers was held on May 15-18, 1961. A Department of Surveys' representative participated.
During the 1950s and the 1960s, Joseph Elster was Director General of the Department of Surveys. The commander of the military mapping unit, known as the mapping and photography service during its first years, was appointed as Elster's deputy by virtue of his authority. Originally, Lieutenant Colonel Pinhas Yoeli held that position, and later, Lieutenant Colonel Asher Sollel. Yeshayahu Zilber was the treasurer and manpower director. Manpower manager Carola Erlich (who later changed her surname to Zilber) reported to him. Carola was replaced by Herschel Alon. Eliezer Sisa held the role of Planning Manager and assistant Director, until he was replaced by Zion Shitrug, who later became the Department of Surveys Director General. Tamari was the Logistics Manager, and Refaeli was his deputy. When Refaeli was appointed Logistics Manager, Eliyahu Kantorovich was appointed warehouse deputy director.
Eliezer Sisa, Planning Director and Assistant Director
Organizational Changes and Advanced Technology
In 1964, the Department of Surveys began using an electronic computer. The first computer used by the Department was the IBM-360 at the Tel Aviv IBM service office. In order to use this computer, cards were punched at the Department and run in IBM's building. The Computations Division pushed to begin using electronic computers in order to shorten and streamline geodesy survey computation schedules. When the Department began using computers, it also began developing its own software and training employees as programmers, by attending either external courses or courses given within the Department. Programs were developed for administration and pricing. A new era began for administrators and pricing experts. The changeover was gradual and took a significant amount of time. Computers were replaced, more advanced programs were developed and mechanical work became faster and more efficient from one application to the next. The new pricing system introduced in the mid 1980s gave the users better control over the reporting systems, work processes (estimates, operations, finances, etc) and billing, collecting, logistic and other administrative processes. The files were organized using advanced techniques, giving the Finance Division and Division Managers access to a large, easily accessible database. The new system helped the Planning Division and the team responsible for incentive pay calculations, calculate employee incentive pay more efficiently. During 1983-84, Planning Director Zion Shitrug wrote that offering incentive pay to employees at the Survey Department was a successful motivator and output increased in the divisions in which it was offered.
Planning Manager, Zion Shitrug received an Award for Computerized Manpower Management in 1972. At the time, managing manpower using computer programs was innovative and the Department of Surveys was the first government office to take on this type of project. Uri Shoshani and Dr. (now Prof.) Yerachmiel Deutscher (Division Director and Deputy) received the Kaplan Prize for Computerized Applications.
A Reporting and Registration Clock that reported time of entry and exit using magnetic cards was first used in 1989-90. Later, the clock was also used to calculate vacation time, absences, overtime, living expenses and pricing expenses.
Advanced technology made surveying and mapping more accurate. Advanced survey tools were purchased, significantly improving survey capabilities; the Survey Department/Survey of Israel transitioned from analog to digital equipment and moved into the GIS and GPS era. At the end of the 1980s, Giora Golod, then Manager of Computations and ADP (Automatic Data Processing) and responsible for GIS preparations, wrote "This field (GIS) takes professional responsibility for planning, organization, defining policies and work processes as well as Israeli standards for transferring geographic information between different databases in different organizations. In addition, it will develop and promote the technological basis for information systems, form efficient and ongoing communications with other information systems in Israel and abroad, while locating sources of knowledge information… The division will intensively purchase hardware, software, communication technology and more so that the system can work to the best of its ability".
Technology and transitioning from the analog age to the digital one, especially GIS, required great effort on the part of the administration and planning employees. They had to make contact with external parties for training, purchasing and cooperation. The Survey Department/Survey of Israel made internal preparations for these changes. Employees were re-trained and transferred, divisions changed their focus and work methods. Designated instruments and other equipment was purchased, new furnishings were fitted, etc.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Dr. Ron Adler was Director General of the Department of Surveys. In 1977, when the Department of Surveys was transferred from the Labor and Welfare Ministry to the Ministry of Construction and Housing, it became known as the Survey Department. Its name was changed to the Survey of Israel in 1988. The 1969-70 annual report, published while Elster was still Director General, contained a list of all Department employees distributed by the divisions in which they were employed as of March 31, 1970. Administration and Planning included 25 employees, 21 official and four not. Housekeeping and technical services employed 28 workers – 21 official and seven not. A total of 53 people were employed, 42 of which were officially employed and 11 were not. There was a 13% increase in the size of the administrative and services workforce compared to the 1960-61 report (when there were 47 employees, 35 with official positions, 12 without). The list of drivers in March 1970 should also be added to the list: 16 drivers, 12 with official positions and four without.
The problem that concerned the administration and manpower division most of all was the painful cutback that began in 1974-75. During that year, the Department of Surveys employed 506 people. The number of employees was reduced from that year on. This was emphasized in the annual reports. Dr. Adler wrote in the 1983-84 report that the Survey Department had only 450.5 available positions. Dr. Adler added: "from this day on, the Department will begin an ongoing, permanent streamlining process to be implemented by purchasing more sophisticated equipment and adopting more efficient work methods, resulting in an ongoing manpower cutback until we reach a peak of 372 employees by March 31, 1984". This meant that 134 jobs were cutback over 9-10 years. Dr. Adler added that "reducing the size of the government workforce will continue to be a national objective". Cutbacks continued and reached 311 by 1989-90 and 294.5 by 1990-91.
Two developments halted the manpower cutbacks in the 1990s. The first was the advanced technological development of digital devices – GPS and GIS. Zion Shitrug wrote the following in the 1987-88 annual summary: "There is no doubt that introducing this sophisticated equipment will require recruitment and training of new employees, in addition to the Survey of Israel employees who are already experts in the field. We must recruit a new, young, educated generation of employees". The second development was the large number of immigrants arriving from the Soviet Union. This population increase required that land be developed for construction and infrastructure laid to receive the immigrants, enabling the Department to recruit skilled manpower or workers interested in career changes. Recruiting employees from among the immigrants from the Soviet Union was deemed important by Dr. Ron Adler, who insisted that it be done "while making our new friends feel welcome and needed".
Manpower cutbacks and new recruits required complicated efforts of the Survey of Israel administration, which was responsible for these employees. The multi-year process of reducing such a large number of employees was neither easy nor pleasant. Each year, the administration had to decide which employees would be laid off. Recruiting new immigrants to the Survey of Israel required good will, understanding the immigrant's unique needs, preparing in-service training and more.
From the 1970s until the late 1980s, two administration and service divisions of the Survey Department were defined – the Treasury and Planning, Organization and Administration (see, for instance, the Technical Departments' work plans for 1981-82 and the 1980-81 report published in April 1981). During 1987-88, partial changes were made to the Survey of Israel's organizational structure. New allocations were made and a new structure was defined. The administrative and service divisions were organized under two separate departments: the first, Accounting, included Billing and Salaries. The second, Planning, Organization and Administration included Technical Services, Workshops, Manpower, the Construction, Property, Logistics and Housekeeping Division, Planning, Supervision and Outside Coordination (see annual reports from the late 1980s and the early 1990s).
Salaries converted the worker's records into a salary. During the 1970s, all salary, wage differences, severance and other calculations resulting in money paid to the employees were done manually. These manual computations took days. In order to pay employees at the beginning of the month, the division had to receive the employee salary lists by the tenth-twelfth of the month. Some of the differences were paid in the following month's salary because they could not always be calculated in time. For comparison, in today's computer era, this information can be submitted on the 20th of the month, including differences calculated later in the month. Permanent employees received their salaries directly to their bank accounts. Temporary employees received checks at the register. The cashier, seated near the Department of Surveys map store, handed the temporary employees their salaries in envelopes.
Beginning in the 1970s, the Salaries Division received microfiche cassettes containing copies of the employees' pay slips to be used to manage and track their salaries for seniority accumulation, salary increases, checking salary components, etc. A special microfiche monitor was used to view the pay slips. In 1999, the division began using a computerized application prepared by Malam Systems which stored salary slips and 106 forms for all SOI employees.
Malam was the government computation and computerization unit used by the Ministry of Finance until 1982. The unit was privatized in 1982 and became Malam Systems – the Office Mechanization Center.
Accounting converted the work done by the Survey Department/Survey of Israel into monetary values. The cost of each task performed by Survey Department employees was estimated by the employees, whether it was an internal assignment or a project for an external customer. If an external project was beneficial for the Survey Department as well, the managers would calculate the percentage to be completed at the Department's expense. The Accounting Division calculated estimates of monetary values, made lists of expenses per budget lines, kept track of payments received and collected debts from customers who paid for services with credit.
The Accounting Division was also responsible for checking purchase orders from suppliers made by the logistics division. Accounting checked that all orders were placed in accordance with the Chief Accountant's instructions, after they were approved, received the accountant's approval and the monetary obligation was entered into the budget system. The division was and remains responsible for paying suppliers. When a supplier delivered a bill, it was transferred to the manager of the relevant department or division for approval, then registered by the Accounting Division and sent to the accountant for payment approval.
For more information about Logistics, now called the Material Resources and other Planning, Organization and Administration Divisions, see below.
In the 1970s and 1980s (or September 1, 1971 until December 31, 1992, to be precise), Dr. Ron Adler was Director General of the Department of Surveys, which became the Survey Department and later, the Survey of Israel. Yeshayahu Zilber remained the department's treasurer until 1984. He was replaced by Sarah Sharon, followed by Aviva Lifshin, a Ministry of Finance employee who assumed the role after it was changed to accounting. Nissim Mahla was the manager of the Salary Division and was later replaced by Chana Gov-Ari. Gad Kimron was the accounting manager. He was replaced by Yael Cohen after his death. Moshe Carmi managed the manpower division in the 1970s and Zeev Koller managed the division in the 1980s. Zion Shitrug was planning manager until 1984, when he was appointed Deputy Director. Zion was replaced by Yitzhak Hazum as planning manager. Tamari remained logistics manager. Eliyahu Kantorovich was Tamari's deputy and replaced him as manager after Tamari retired. Yaakov Bedjerano was responsible for SOI vehicles during the first half of the 1980s. He was replaced by Samo Leon in 1985, who held the position until 1992 when he was replaced by Shlomo Aruch.
The 1990s and on
The Survey Department/SOI was managed by two Director Generals, Elster and Dr. Adler until 1993, each held the position for over 20 years. Since January 1, 1993, SOI was managed by three different directors (Zion Shitrug, Aviel Ron and today, Dr. Haim Srebro) and an acting director (Giora Golod). Each director had his own vision and pressed for more employee allocations at the SOI. Many of their requests were approved and deputy director roles were added, managers were promoted, new positions were added for a legal consultant, chief scientist and heads of new divisions. A national archive for maps and aerial photos was built. Administration divisions at the SOI joined the recruiting effort and helped allocate office space for new recruits, arrange phone lines, computers, desks, etc.
One of the new roles introduced by Aviel Ron was Assistant to the Director, which was later changed to Head of Supervision and Tracking while Giora Golod was Director General. The new manager was a member of the inner administration; responsible for coordination and communications between the Director General and SOI divisions and external parties; coordinating activities and processes under the Director General's direct authority; supervising implementation of different decisions; and other assignments as instructed by the Director General.
SOI reaches the end of the GIS training and transition stage and begins receiving information. External companies generate visual, charted or verbal data. SOI analyzes the data and sends it back for corrections as necessary. Once the analysis is completed, the new data is input into the SOI data storage system. New relationships are formed with government ministries and public institutions to sell and acquire relevant data. SOI enables online purchasing of files and GIS products and uploads a National Geographic Portal, giving the general public access to a wide range of geo-informatics. New GPS equipment is purchased, work techniques become more sophisticated and surveys in Israel are now conducted based on a network of fixed stations. Advanced technology gives more precise results and shorter survey times, enabling conducting new, precise surveys of points that had been surveyed in the past or surveying new points in their place. A new era of three-dimensional cadastre mapping begins at SOI, including underground mapping. It is an era of coordinate-based cadastre, which is extremely precise today. SOI administration plays an important part in the success of these processes. The administration takes responsibility for preparing tenders, purchasing, collecting payment for sales and tracking payments.
The Manpower Division was called by that name in the 1980s. Its name was changed to Human Resources in the 1990s. The division recovered from the cutbacks that began in 1974-75 and continued into the 1990s. It recruited employees from the Soviet Union immigrant population. It made the changes needed as three different directors and one acting director ran the Department. Zion Shitrug opened two new Deputy Director positions and one administration manager role. Aviel Ron promoted the administration manager to Deputy Director, , created Chief Scientist and Legal Consultant positions, established the marine cartography division and built the National Archive for Maps and Aerial Photos. Dr. Haim Srebro opened two new divisions: cartographic reproduction and planning and geoinformatics; allocated a position for a three-dimensional cadastre division manager and promoted four division managers. These changes affected the lowest employee levels and required human resource support to document and register the changes; arrange ranks and positions, organize activity with and for other outside institutions (that employed some of the managers mentioned above) such as salary information, seniority and more.
The Human Resources Division's responsibilities included all areas related to the employees such as placement and employment – sorting, recruiting, hiring and terms of employment, making changes to terms of employment and more; handling ongoing employee issues – proceeds, promotions, social benefits, insurance, etc.; counseling and training – professional courses, in-service training for employees; welfare and retirement - social activities, group outings, employee events, regular checkups, work accidents, maintaining contact with retirees, etc.: attendance – computerized tracking of employee attendance, registering individual work schedules in the attendance system; temporary employees – hiring temporary employees, hiring contractors and supervising their employment.
The Human Resources division had its own original ideas and objectives, some of which were implemented in conjunction with the Deputy Director for Administration and the entire SOI management. The list of projects included new infrastructure for setting and implementing human resource policies; analyzing and appraising different occupations; planning and implementing promotion and training programs to meet the development needs of the employees and best serve SOI's needs; initiating programs for the employees' well-being; promoting and developing an organizational culture that considers all employees to be members of one functional socio-cultural system. The division worked to create a pleasant working environment which takes the employees' socio-cultural needs into account.
Human Resource Division, 1997: from left to right: Rachel Pisam, Dalia Ben-Oseri, Simha Gamzu, Dalia Babyan
The Planning and Geoinformatics Division was established in 2004 in order to formulate SOI's objectives, to coordinate its annual and multi-year work plans and to track their implementation. Their assignments were coordinated with the responsible directors and in conjunction with the department's accountant for budget related issues. The division is responsible for managing SOI's ongoing work plans, including supervising and tracking their progress. Projects are tracked using the ROTEM application – a computerized system specially designed to plan and track annual work plans. The division identifies causes of delays and tries to find solutions, while updating the work plans according to changing needs, priorities or available resources. The division also holds weekly meetings with the marketing and sales teams, attended by the Finance and Marketing Manager and the Internet and Projects Manager (see below); focuses on increasing the number of people who accesses information generated by the GIS by encouraging professionals such as surveyors, geographers and architects, as well as the general public, to make use of the GIS data for their continuous needs (specifically navigating open and urban areas). The division contacted navigation companies and began selling them the applicable databases. They must remain attentive to the consumer's needs and provide them, for instance, with index maps of GIS sheets that cover the entire country and display GIS updates, addresses and orthophoto. Consumer response determines the degree of updates needed per sheet, the desired resolution and other factors. The data is transferred from the Planning and Geoinformatics Division to Production (photogrammetry, cadastre and cartography), which converts public demand into operative work plans.
The Division is also part of the staff that determines when reorganization of SOI is required – defining roles in accordance with organizational goals; formulating strategies for inter-ministerial cooperation on mapping and geographic database projects; setting policies for marketing and distributing SOI information to different government authorities; defining data security policies and regulations to protect copyrights for different mapping products.
In order to streamline and improve work with SOI customers, a CRM customer service system was developed for the division. The final configuration would interact with the SOI report and billing (pricing) systems in order to conduct and manage price quotes, orders, bills and tracking.
Between six and seven people are employed in the Planning Division and the Consumer Service and Support Unit, who are responsible for all of the tasks described, along with SOI employees from different divisions.
Finance and Marketing was established in the early 1990s by Zeev Berkovich, a trained economist and an employee in the Human Resources Division. He introduced the time recorder and took responsibility for pricing SOI products according to input (number of work hours invested, raw materials and other inputs). Avi Ayet, also an economist, became head of the division in 1995. The division's responsibilities increased and it became known as Finance and Marketing. The number of employees increased as well, reaching four in 2000 – two economists and two production engineers. Today (late 2009), three people are employed in the Finance and Marketing Division. Their responsibilities are:
- Finances: conducting financial inspections and calculations to price different services and products and evaluate their profitability; taking part in determining pricing policies for different SOI services and products based on SOI's financial regulations and profit policies; participating in SOI budget planning processes and collecting all budget requests from the different divisions and using them to formulate a comprehensive SOI budget.
- Pricing: Analyzing work processes and finding ways to improve them, defining policies and tracking their implementation; coordinating and analyzing pricing system reports and submitting a summary report to the administration, including recommendations for improvement; defining plans for map production according to current stock, prior demand and future trends. The director of the division is also the head of the SOI Production Committee.
- Marketing: Identifying, characterizing and grouping potential customers; defining products in demand and developing them; developing marketing strategies based on desired marketing locations and different types of products; advertising SOI products. The division's manager is a member of SOI's Marketing Committee and is responsible for coordinating topics to be discussed by the committee and tracking implementation of its decisions.
- Records and Regulations: the division is responsible for managing SOI's records; coordinating and defining regulations; and preparing SOI's annual work plan.
Avi Ayet gives an example of the changes in marketing promotion at SOI after he became manager of the division. He found large piles of the Atlas of Israel in an SOI warehouse. Inquiries revealed that a certain marketing chain won the tender to distribute the atlas but marketed it as a regular book and sold only several hundred copies throughout Israel. After a brief inquiry and defining the product's target audience – school students studying geography – Avi contacted the supervisor for geography studies at the Ministry of Education. The supervisor pronounced the atlas suitable for his department's curriculum. The supervisor's approval and direct advertisement sent to all geography teachers, as well as Avi's attendance at conferences for geography teachers at pedagogic centers across Israel, helped the atlas penetrate the school system. Since then, the atlas has entered the Ministry of Education's curriculum and has sold tens of thousands of copies. In 2008, a new edition of the New Atlas of Israel was published and is very successful in the market.
The cover of the New Atlas of Israel, 2008 Edition
In the early 1990s, the Planning Division became the Control and Tracking Division. It also changed is areas of responsibility. Today, it is responsible for the pricing system and for incentive pay for SOI employees. Pricing was transferred to the Finance and Marketing Division. In October 2009, the Planning and Control Division was comprised of two employees.
The current pricing system at SOI has been in use since 1996. The system is currently being upgraded and additions are being entered to meet SOI's accounting needs. The Control and Tracking Division is responsible for the upgrade. An outside company has been hired to program the system and is supervised by the head of the Control and Tracking Division.
The Control and Tracking Division is responsible for updating incentive pay techniques and calculating them. Incentive pay, or premiums, is a bonus given to employees whose output is greater than expected. There are several ways of giving these incentives based on the type of work performed and these factors are used to calculate the incentives. Each method has several factors, based on the different activities involved. For instance, the photogrammetry has 35 factors for different methods, determined by the type of work conducted. The factors used by the entire division to calculate employees' incentive pay include: supervising GIS updates based on orthophotos (calculated by unit called a tile); controlling inscription data from outside contractors (calculated by a unit of one thousand inscriptions); updating roads in the topographic GIS based on orthophotos (calculated per sheet); planning flight routes for mapping photography (calculated per flight route). The ratio between the allocated timeframe and actual implementation timeframe per unit for each factor is calculated to determine the efficiency level in the Photogrammetry Division and is used to calculate the employees' level of incentive pay at the end of the month. The method and factors are determined by an outside consultant and are approved by the different civil service committees and then by the production council which includes representatives of the employees and managers, the State Employee's Union and the Civil Service, as well as a representative of the Control and Tracking Division. After approval, it is implemented and calculated each month by the Control and Tracking Division.
The former Logistics Division is known today as the Material Resource Division. When partial changes were made to the SOI organization structure in 1987/88, the Logistics Division was established. The division is responsible for purchasing all equipment required by SOI in accordance with department regulations and the Mandatory Tenders Law. The regulations state that the division manager must ask two suppliers for quotes for all purchases up to 10,000 NIS. Directors must receive three quotes before making purchases over 10,000 NIS. The division tracks orders and maintains contact with suppliers to inquire about delays and hastening them when necessary. For orders over 50,000 NIS and purchasing professional instruments or equipment by request of different SOI divisions, the SOI purchasing committee determines what to purchase and the Material Resources Division makes the purchase. The division's manager is a member of the committee. There is also an ADP purchasing committee which approves requests for computers, printers, etc. The committee gives quotes to the Material Resources Division manager, who makes the final purchase.
Equipment is stored in the General Warehouse. Stock used by SOI includes office equipment, survey equipment, cleaning materials, printing material, plates and chemicals for the printing house, ink and rags for wiping and cleaning. The warehouse is managed by one person, compared to seven in the early 1960s - though the number may in fact have been even higher (the Department of Surveys annual report for 1961-62 lists 22 employees in the map archive, the map warehouse, the general warehouse and the mechanic workshop, two of which did not have official appointments. Seven of these employees worked in the general warehouse, one without an official appointment. In the 1967-68 report, 31 people were employed in housekeeping and technical services, seven of which were not officially appointed. The different types of housekeeping and technical services are not listed, but it appears that they were composed of the same units listed above, according to comparisons done between the information in the two reports. It is definitely possible that there were more than seven warehouse employees). In 1990, two people were employed in the warehouse.
The Material Resources Division is responsible for maintaining the SOI building, repairing problems in the electricity system, air-conditioning, piping, restrooms, drinking water machines, shredders, etc. The division is also responsible for renovating the SOI building that was built in 1931 and required renovations, tiling and other maintenance. Moving departments from one location to another, installing new equipment and new work stations all require coordination led by the Material Resources Division.
The division is responsible for operations at SOIs different regional offices. It conducts an inspection at the regional offices once every two months, taking inventory, checking equipment for wear and deficiencies, etc. The Material Resources Division takes annual inventory at the regional offices as well as at the main headquarters.
The division employs four people – the manager, secretary/assistant, warehouse manager (as described above) and maintenance worker.
The Mechanic Workshop eventually stopped making repairs. When survey equipment became more sophisticated, especially as the SOI entered the digital era, they began sending broken equipment to the manufacturing companies' labs in Israel or abroad. This was one of the Field Warehouse's responsibilities. The field warehouse managed the stock at the Geodesy Department – responsible for surveyors and their equipment. The stock-keeper would receive equipment from the general/main warehouse, check quality and quantity according to tenders and orders and issue the equipment to the field surveyors. An additional responsibility was to maintain contact with the field units and the Material Resources Division and place orders when necessary. As explained above, the field warehouse delivers broken equipment to labs for repairs. The warehouse manager is responsible for tracking the repair and returned the equipment to SOI. During the last two decades, the field warehouse manager divides his time between managing the warehouse and managing SOI vehicles.
The Vehicle Division has grown since the Department of Surveys' early years. The division is run by two people (one of whom is the manager who divides his time between vehicles and the field warehouse) who are responsible for 25 vehicles of different types, many of which are terrain models. Some of the cars are used by surveyor group leaders in the field and other remain in the SOI lot and serve the other departments. Most regional offices have between one and three cars per office. The vehicle division is responsible for ordering new cars every four years, maintenance and licensing, repairs after accidents, replacing travel registry cards each month and tracking travel registration. It is also responsible to determine which SOI employees are qualified to drive the cars. SOI currently has 80 non-professional drivers who are authorized to drive government vehicles. The division ensures that they pass vision tests on schedule (every three years), taking driver's training courses including defensive driving and traffic law refresher courses (also every three years). Each driver has a personal file. The division receives monthly fuelling reports from the fuel company and verifies their compatibility with the report submitted by the SOI drivers who fuelled the car during that month. Several years ago, the division began handling registration and payments for the Route 6 toll highway.
Until October 1998, Legal Consultation was provided by the Ministry of Construction and Housing's legal office. SOI employees usually did not have direct contact with the legal office, causing delays. The new SOI legal consultation department was established to avoid these delays. On October 13, 1998, SOI Director General Aviel Ron obtained permission to hire a legal consultant for SOI. He selected Gili Kirschner as the center's legal advisor.
The legal consultant provides constant legal advice to the Director General and the different SOI divisions and handles legal issues related to the center's activities. She is also responsible for representing SOI in legal matters, writing contracts and handling communications for SOI. She is involved in legislation related to SOI and its activities and implementing legal changes.
Zion Shitrug was appointed Director General in January 1993. His deputy in charge of human resources was Zeev Koller, who was appointed administrative director. Yaakov Trupochenik was in charge of manpower, which was now called human resources. Zvi Rahamim was Manager of the Planning Division. Moshe Allouche managed the logistics division. Baruch Shimoni was the warehouse manager and Aviva Lipshen was the Accountant. Aviel Ron, who was appointed Director General on November 1, 1994, began reporting directly to the Minister of Construction and Housing and was appointed deputy director in the Ministry. Yaakov Trupochenik was appointed deputy director of administration and human resources, with an interim senior division management rank. Sari Grossman was the Director General's administrative assistant. The position was re-defined as head of control and tracking and is held today by Rachel Saranga. Rachel Pisam was appointed manager of human resources, Haim Bar-Dov was selected to direct the planning division and Avi Ayet was appointed finance and marketing manager. Moshe Allouche continued in his position as head of logistics, Aviva Lipshen remained the Accountant and Gili Kirschner, Adv. was appointed SOI legal consultant. Shlomo Aruch managed the SOI vehicles and the field warehouse. Haim Srebro was appointed Director General in April 2003. Yossi Raz was appointed director of planning and geoimformatics. Several minimal changes were made within administrative management positions. Dalia Margalit was the SOI Accountant until she was replaced by Chaya Shoshany in 2009. Rosi Shaked replaced Haim Bar Dov, who retired from his position as head of control and tracking. In 2008, Ofer Stern replaces Shlomo Aruch as vehicle and field warehouse manager. His current job description (as of 2009) is Car and Survey Equipment Manager – national transportation authority. Avrum Borstien manages the general warehouse.
Planning Division employees at Haim Bar-Dov's retirement party, December 2, 2004. From left to right: Haim Bar-Dov (behind him: Avi Ayet, head of finance and marketing); Haim Shechter; Zion Shitrug, Natasha Daninhirsch; Yitzhak Hazum; Haim Srebro, SOI Director General; Zvi Rahamim
- Annual reports published by the Mandatory Department of Surveys, 1922-1948.
- Annual reports published by the Survey Department/Survey of Israel, 1950/51 and on
- Dov Gavish: Land and Map, From Land Settlement to the Map of Palestine – 1920-1948, published in Hebrew by Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem, 1991.
- Sharir Moshe: Life Chapters, self published, 1988
- Noodleman Shoshana, Mandatory Department of Surveys veteran's meeting, September 9, 2003.
- Shoshani Uri: Automization. 1st Labor and National Insurance Journal published (in Hebrew) by the Ministry of Labor, January 15, 1970.
- Shitrug Zion: Pricing Systems and Operation Tracking, 8th Labor and National Insurance Journal published (in Hebrew) by the Ministry of Labor, August 1977.
- Interview with Zion Shitrug, 2004
- Interview with Simha Doron, July-August, 2004.
- Conversations with Yaakov Trupochenik, Rachel Pisam, Avi Ayet, Moshe Allouche, Rosi Shaked, Ofer Stern, Avishag Nagar, Yossi Raz, Yaki Bar-Lavi, September-November 2009
- Interview with Yaakov Bejerano, April 2005.
- Interview with Samo Leon, June 2004.