FIG Working (from home) Week
- your front row seat

How much were we looking forward to welcoming you in at the FIG Working Week Amsterdam from 10-14 May, the capital city of the Netherlands, a vibrant city surrounded by the colourful tulip fields.

The grand opening and the plenary speakers would have set the scene for the theme ‘Smart Surveyors for Land & Water Management’. The technical programme was filled to the rim with interesting papers on the latest research, projects and products. And there were plenty of options to network, share experiences and to take part in technical tours.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic all this changed. The travel restrictions and government measurements keep us close to home. The authors and presenters do not have the opportunity, after all their preparations to write and submit a paper, to share and discuss their contributions in a face to face setting. And we have to find other solutions to stay connected and get inspired.

From 10-14 May we will bring the valuable contributions of the FIG Working Week to you. Giving you the opportunity of a front-row seat from the distance. With a range of articles we will highlight for you the hot-topics, the ground breaking research, and the hidden gems. The articles are linked to the FIG commissions and the 3 subthemes of the event. Each day of the Working Week you will receive a newsletter to give you access to new articles.

The articles are prepared in a joint effort by FIG, GIM and the Local Organising Committee of FIG2020. Read more about the organisations and the cooperation below. We hope that you are looking forward to read the articles and to get inspired and stay connected to the FIG and the FIG surveying community.




FIG Working Week 2020 - Distance matters

FIG Working Week” – what is that? A strange name for a conference, but a name that has become close to a trademark and is significant for the many varied activities that are going on during the – almost - week-long event. Since 1878, where FIG was established and gave surveyors the possibility to meet and network, the yearly FIG Conference has proven to be a unique meeting place for surveyors and geospatial experts around the world. But does it really matter to attend a conference, and to meet?  Read the article.

From bulb to flower, the road towards FIG2020(+1)

The tulips have been our signature symbol for the FIG Working Week in Amsterdam in 2020. Wherever possible we included our national symbol; in the logo of FIG2020, in our images and of course with the orange stickers on the badges.  The timing of the Working Week would have allowed you to visit the flower field, or to buy Tulip bulbs in any colour you would have liked and to plant them for the years to come as a memory to FIG2020. Read the article.

Thinking Out Aloud about a FIG and GIM International Collaboration

Who could ever have imagined that GIM International would publish a summary of a FIG Working Week 2020 that never took place? The planned location was Amsterdam, but the coronavirus outbreak and coupled lockdown resulted in the situation we are in now. FIG and GIM International therefore decided to join forces to make the most out of all the effort that had been put into making this year’s Working Week a great success. Read the article.

FIG Young Surveyors Network: Geospatial agents of change

With geospatial information being more important now than ever, location-based data is the key to solving the societal challenges of our time. Young geospatial and surveying professionals especially sit in the driving seats towards the goal of meeting the most urgent global and local challenges with location-based information and analyses. But we cannot do it alone. Resilience, collaboration and global networks are the key to unlocking our sustainable common future. The FIG Young Surveyors Networks provides a platform for young geo-spatial professionals from all over the globe to share, learn, network and take action, Read the article.

Welcome from FIG President Rudolf Staiger

Now we are here…

Normally, a city and conference venue would be buzzing with surveyors and geospatial experts from all over the world, excited to meet (again) and we would all be eager to get started.

The FIG Fanfare should have marked the opening of the Working Week and the General Assembly.

Today, as we are not able to meet, we are happy to share this newsletter with you. Included here, please find a Welcome article by FIG President Rudolf Staiger that might give you an impression that the FIG Working Week has started, however in a different way than normal. Included is also the Presidents Report.

But first and foremost, please join us in this short video welcome address from FIG President Rudolf Staiger:

Please also look forward to the newsletter and articles that will be sent to you during the following 4 days.

Rudolf Staiger, FIG President

Welcome to the Working (from home) Week

Until the beginning of March 2020, LOC and FIG-Council were quite optimistic regarding the organization of the Working Week in May. Once the global lockdown started, it became more and more obvious that a normal organisation will not be possible. Some of our registered participants, who had already paid the registration fees, contacted the FIG Office and asked impatiently for a cancellation. At Mid-March it was in principle clear that the Working Week will not take place.  Read the article.

FIG Council

Presidents Report 2020

This is the first report from FIG Council for the period 2019-2022. Under normal circumstances it would have been presented at the first General Assembly during the Working Week 2020.
The year 2019 was not only the start of my presidency; it was also the induction of two new Vice presidents namely Jixiang Zhang (China) and Diane Dumashie (UK) and at the same time the start for ten new Commission Chairs. Read the report.


Did you know the proceedings are already available? The 80 sessions offer many different and interesting topics covering the entire broadness of the surveying profession.

From Cadaster and Land Administration over Hydrography, Crowdsourcing and VGI  to Valuation and Real Estate and much more… Hence, there is something for everyone! Check the proceedings

FIG is administered by its General Assembly – delegates of the member associations and non-voting members – who meet annually during the FIG Working Week/Congress. The General Assembly debates and approves policies

FIG General Assembly - Agenda

FIG Council has decided that there will be no General Assembly  in 2020. Instead, votings and decisions will bepostponed to 2021 in the Netherlands. The agenda of the General Assembly 2020 is already published and includes reports on the FIG activities. We encourage you to read the agenda and these reports, and through this stay updated on what is happening in our Federation and what FIG Commissions, Networks Task Forces and other active FIG individuals and groups are working on. Agenda

What is a Smart Surveyor? Rapid urban growth, smart energy, cleaner mobility, and ‘land rights for all’ are some of the challenges demanding innovative surveying approaches and technologies. Sensing technologies, spatial data processing technologies and related approaches are already available. Use and improve them to become future proof, Smart Surveyors!

Today's theme of the FIG Working (from home) Week is Smart Surveyors. To answer the question "what is a Smart Surveyor?", the papers of the FIG proceedings have been analysed by Tim Brouwer, Mila Koeva, Peter van Oosterom and Iris Theunisse and in the first article, the main trends are presented. In the second article, Leica Geosystems gives you the five most recent trends in the surveying industry bringing about the next-generation Smart Surveyor.

The articles are followed by contributions from the FIG Commissions on Professional Standards and Practice (Commission 1), Professional Education (Commission 2), Spatial Information Management (Commission 3) and FIG Standards Network. The chairs will highlight for you the hot-topics, the ground breaking research, and the hidden gems in the proceedings from the their respective perspectives.

Smart Surveyors - Developments and Trends from the FIG Working Week 2020

Some of the challenges demanding innovative surveying approaches and technologies are rapid urban growth, smart energy, cleaner mobility, and ‘land rights for all’. Sensing technologies, spatial data processing methods, and related approaches are already available. However, the question is how to use and improve them to become future proof, smart surveyors? Read the article.

The Evolution of the Smart Surveyor

Surveyors are a versatile and flexible bunch. As the current COVID-19 situation has proven, this group, like others, has had to find new ways of operating. Even this article is an adjustment. Originally planned as a presentation, Sensor Fusion for the Smart Surveyor,  for the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) Working Week 2020, adapting to a new platform for information sharing is becoming the new normal. As surveyors continue to navigate in these new confines, surveyors will do what they’ve always had to do – adapt, overcome and evolve. Read the article.

FIG Commission 1: Professional Standards and Practice

Need for International Ethics Standards, Peace and Gender Equality

Commission 1 focuses on establishing a set of ethical principles that fits the surveying profession for reference by professional institutions. It also focuses on promoting greater understanding and improving community perceptions about the surveying profession, which is underlined by the foundation’s vision to improve gender equality and maintaining global peace and justice, in line with Goal No. 5 and 16 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) respectively. Read the article.

FIG Commission 2: Professional Education

COVID-19 responses and FIG2020: lessons for Surveying Education

During 2020, there have been significant developments in surveying professional education due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Globally, many surveying academic institutions were required to adapt to these restrictions by moving their learning and teaching completely online. This has presented a range of challenges as we grappled with which learning management system and video communications platforms we would use. Read the article.

FIG Commission 3: Spatial Information Management

Spatial Information Management, a key discipline for managing spatial and temporal dynamics

One of the most impressive examples of how phenomena evolve over time and space is the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Knowing in real time where a local outbreak occurs, how outbreaks evolve over time, how many people are affected at any given location is of utmost importance to take appropriate measures. As with many other applications, well-established spatial information management, including an implemented system for digital information exchange can help to provide the required spatial information in near real time. Read the article.

FIG Standards Network

The FIG Standards Network and Standards in Surveying

A simple inspection of still-existing Roman roads, aqueducts and canals shows that the Romans were exceptionally skilled engineers. Shoe sizes provide a person’s shoe fitting size. There are many different shoe-size systems used in the world today. Wi-Fi is a family of wireless networking technologies, commonly used for local area networking of devices and Internet access. Wi-Fi and internet technologies are particularly important in the situation we find ourselves in today. But what do Roman roads, shoe sizes and Wi-Fi have to do with surveying and indeed FIG? Surprisingly they have a lot in common… Read the article.

Today's theme of the FIG Working (from home) Week is Integreated land and water management. Without integrated land and water management, the Netherlands as also other coastal countries cannot sustain its agricultural and urban development. Climate change increases the risks of sea and riverine floods and extended drought periods and complicates this management task. Unorthodox measures are called for. The first article, written by Roel Luis, Marije Louwsma, Roelof Keppel, Rik Wouters, focuses on the Dutch story. The Netherlands have a long tradition in land and water management - it all started with dry feet. They still have dry feet...

The articles are followed by contributions from the FIG Commissions on Hydrography (Commission 4), Positioning and Measurement (Commission 5), Engineering Surveys (Commission 6) and FIG Capacity Development Networks: Africa and Asia and the Pacific. The chairs will highlight for you the hot-topics, the ground breaking research, and the hidden gems in the proceedings from the their respective perspectives.


Changed Perspective in Land and Water Management

It all started with dry feet. We have a long tradition in the Netherlands in our fight against water. Our main purpose for a long time was to make sure that our dikes and waterworks were strong and high enough to hold the water. What we have created in the past did a tremendous job. We still have dry feet.... But nowadays we take a broader view in water and land management. Read the article.

FIG Commission 4: Hydrography

Contribution of Hydrography towards Sustainable Water Management 

Mapping the Plastic is a key focus area for Commission 4. The effects of plastic pollution on the Earth’s oceans are well documented, potentially catastrophic and increasing exponentially year on year.
The Blue Economy is another important focus area as it provides a vital source of food and benefits from a host of industry sectors, technology and innovation. Read the article.

FIG Commission 5: Positioning and Measurement

Positioning the World for the Future

Seeking to develop the tools, techniques and procedures necessary to achieve the highest level of accuracy for a wide variety of surveying disciplines. Applications are developed and studied that can assist in all fields of hydrographic and engineering surveying. These applications also provide the geospatial detail needed to integrate land and water management. All of these efforts contribute to work on realizing five out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).   Read the article.

FIG Commission 6: Engineering Surveys

Accuracy near, far, above or under. How is FIG Working Week 2020 contributing

The skills that engineering surveyors had to acquire in order to respond to the challenges of the construction world have made them capable, also, of fulfilling other challenges, several of which motivated by an awareness of the limitations of our planet. Engineering surveyors have learned that they need to push the equipment and techniques to its limits, while having recognized the necessity to integrate new techniques which can present more complete answers, without forgetting an important qualifier: accuracy. Read the article.

FIG Africa Capacity Development Network

The FIG Africa Regional Network - Developing capacity in Africa

The FIG Capacity Development Network (CDN) is playing a leading role in bringing regional member associations and academic members together using a networking approach. This is based on enhancing communication in the region and promoting the ideals of the FIG. Our Facebook site is the principal platform for communication. Please LIKE the Facebook page @FIGARN to stay connected. Read the article.

FIG Asia and the Pacific Capacity Development Network

The FIG Asia and the Pacific Regional Network

The FIG Asia Pacific Capcity Development Network (AP CDN), comprises of a group of dedicated individuals from our Commissions, the corporate sector, academic networks, and our sister organisations.  Our main outcomes are the development of the technical and soft capabilities of geodetic surveyors; the modernisation of a nation's geodetic datum and infrastructure; and preparing surveyors for the geospatial trends and challenges that lay ahead. Read the article.

Did you know that...

  • 650 million people still live in poverty
  • If women farmers have the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry people can be reduced up to 150 million
  • 70% of the SDG’s are related to geo–information

The countdown begins, only one decade to go to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all and surveying professionals have a key role to play. It is therefore of crucial importance that FIG member organisations and surveyors are aware and prepared on how their work contributes to the achievement of the SDGs and vice versa.

In the first article of today you will read about how the FIG community is helping to achieve and monitor the SDGs and what the role of the surveying community will be in the coming 10 years.

This article is followed by contributions from the FIG Commissions on Cadastre and Land Management (Commission 7), Spatial Planning and Development (Commission 8), Valuation and the Management of Real Estate (Commission 9) and Construction Economics and Management (Commission 10). The chairs will highlight for you the hot-topics, the ground breaking research, and the hidden gems in the proceedings from the their respective perspectives.

Lastly, are you crazy about history? Join us in an Afternoon of History…

Ten Years to go to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals - Unlocking valuable contributions of the FIG Working Week 2020

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and related land indicators will re-shape and influence our profession profoundly in the decade to come. It is considered to be of crucial importance that FIG member organisations and surveyors are aware and prepared on how their (daily) work contributes to the achievement of the SDGs and vice versa. Read the article.

FIG Commission 7: Cadastre and Land Management

Land challenges in a revolving world

Has your world changed in the last four weeks? It has for Commission 7 also, and we are adjusting quickly to the new needs of our world. During this pandemic, every day the COVID19 virus is changing how we relate to our land from border closures to restrictions to citizens to be confined into private parcels. The current pandemic has shown how important it is to have a land inventory (the cadastre), and to be able to understand and change it (hopefully temporally) un terms of rights, restrictions and responsibilities of owners and occupiers. Read the article.

FIG Commission 8:  SSpatial Planning and Development

Highlighting spatial planning and development at FIG2020 – Contributions to the Working Week from FIG commission 8

From a planners’ perspective it is key to optimize the spatial allocation of various land use types. This applies to both land-based and water-based functions and activities. As such, spatial planning aims to balance the interests of various policy domains and stakeholders in pursue of an overall sustainable development. As land and water are a limited and often scarce resource, those interests may clash, and sometimes hard decisions have to be made.  Read the article.

FIG Commission 9: Valuation and the Management of Real Estate

Valuation – key to transparency in performance measurement

Valuation covers a wide range of assets classes and purposes. A valuation may be required to initiate a loan on a single residential home or for a complex infrastructure project that crosses international boards or possibly the estimate of value of a transport vehicle or a Rembrandt painting. All will require valuation for a variety of purposes from loan security, insurance, regulatory and financial reporting. It’s a great and exciting job being a valuer! Of course, you need specialist skills for the particular area of valuation work you are undertaking but the opportunities are unimaginable. Read the article.

FIG Commission 10: Construction Economics and Management

Construction economics is fundamental in responding to coronavirus

Global construction will be critical in countering the economic effects of the coronavirus. Whilst most construction has been adversely affected in the short and medium term by closing sites, social distancing, material shortages and investment uncertainty, it will provide an important stimulus to the world economy if governments enable projects to proceed after the virus abates. Coupled with this, the crisis is providing a catalyst for change in the industry in terms of the greater adoption of technology, consideration of sustainability and social value impacts, and greater collaboration. Read the article.

An Afternoon of History

Crazy about history? Join us in an Afternoon of History… This year, The FIG Permanent Institution of History of Surveying joint forces with De Hollandse Circle to put together a programme for an afternoon of history during the FIG Working Week. In this article we have highlighted a few of the papers that are related particularly to the history of Dutch Surveyors and Dutch Surveying which takes you all the way to Japan. Read the article.

Follow up...

Yesterday's theme Integrated land and water management calls for a celebration of the 8th anniversary of the adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests. Please enjoy this short video from UN-Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

FIG values the cooperation with FAO. During the FIG Working Week 3 sessions had been planned. These sessions are part of larger joint activities, and the Working Week is an excellent place to bring experts together.

Two webinars will be held during these coming months, so please look out for announcement of this. Planned sessions were:

  1. TS01I: Land Consolidation Legislation: FAO Legal Guide and its Application at the Country Level
  2. TS02I: The Role of Land Consolidation and Other Land Management Instruments in Development of Agricultural Land Markets – in cooperation with FIG Commission 8 on – Spatial Planning and Development
  3. In cooperation with FIG Commission 2, the FIG Academic Forum on VGGT - VGGT and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification into the implementation of the Convention,TS03A

 What's next?

It is Thursday 14 May 2020, and today should have been the closing day of FIG Working Week in Amsterdam. The programme of today would be the second General Assembly session and closing and handover ceremony.

How is it possible to hand over to yourself… This will be the case this year since the FIG Flag should be handed over from the local organisers 2020 to the local organisers 2021! So instead the Local Organising Committee created a message for you, where each LOC member is symbolically handing over (from home!) to welcoming you next year.

We would like to extend a thank you to all who have followed us during this week.
Please enjoy the articles of this final and closing day of FIG Working Week 2020

Informal 'hand over' at Intergeo, Stuttgart

FIG Working Week - What's next?

This week we gave you a front row seat to the content of the FIG Working Week. The Local Organising Committee of FIG2020 and FIG found an alternative way to make sure you could get easy access to the proceedings. It was a way to recognise all the hard work of the authors and presenters. But it also turned out to be a way to feel connected to the FIG community, to show that we as community continue, not matter what, reach out to each other and are interested to learn what the latest developments are. Knowledge, cooperation and improving our profession is what drives us. Read the article.

Two consultation sessions with UN-Habitat/Global Land Tool Network - GLTN

As one of the founding partners of the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), FIG has contributed to the development of land tools with GLTN since 2006. Over the years and since 2006, FIG has been involved in the development of many of these tools. Today, the tools are successfully used in many projects at a local, national and regional level. Read the article.

Re-read the articles

It has been different for us to present a full Working Week in 6 Newsletters and 24 written articles, but we hope that you have enjoyed this journey with us from home. A very big thanks to all who have contributed to all articles, and also to the current Local Organising Committee for their preparations so far. All the articles.

Next - FIG Working Week 2021

Follow the preparations for next year's FIG Working Week at
What can you expect at the FIG Working Week in 2021? Wait and see... For both FIG and LOC it is most important that we create an opportunity where our community can meet.


Thank you to our sponsors and supporters, we really do appreciate you being part - from the distance - of the FIG Working Week 2020





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