FIG Commission 1 - Professional Standards and Practice

Term 2003-2006

Highlights Commission Chair

Commission 1 looks back to a very successful period 2002 – 2006. Many presentations at all FIG events were made. Lots of discussions took place and mutual understanding between colleagues from different regions and cultures have been strengthened. Not all our wishes of an ambitious work plan have become reality but there is always another term.

Mr. Klaus Rürup

Thanks to the very active vice chairs commission 1 achieved a lot as you can see below. But there remains one problem: How to get more surveyors active in commission work? Sometimes it looks like depending on the place of venue whether it is attractive or not, whether expected discussions in that region are worth going there or not.

All members of commission 1 took benefit out of the fact widening their own horizon, seeing different cultures and learning how surveyors in different regions solve their problems in different ways. All members of commission 1 should receive a big thank you for their commitment to FIG and to the work in commission 1.

Work Plan

Commission 1 is dedicated to all fields of professional activities and therefore has a commitment to raising issues of general interest that apply across the activities of all commissions. There are many areas of overlap of interest and this supports cooperative involvement in other commissions activities. The title 'professional practice' is a clear indication of the wide breadth of aspects to be handled.

Terms of reference

  • Professional practice, legal aspects and organisational structures
  • Standards and certification
  • Project-management, quality and best practice
  • Information technology management as it relates to professional practice
  • Support of under-represented groups and fair competition

Mission statement

  • Capability of development: Changes are affecting the operation of surveying practices, their management and their professional structures under the challenges of widening professional activities.
  • Change of technology: Managing processes and infrastructure with ever changing business infrastructures in the areas of IT, internet, networks and total quality management.
  • Improving surveyors' reputation: Supporting the essential dialogue between politicians and surveyors with regard to further development and setting up the own business in strengthening surveyors' role in economy and politics.
  • Under represented groups: To focus public attention on under represented groups by surveying activities taking place to improve representation.

The Objectives for the Work Plan are to undertake the terms of reference in order to:

  • Involve the wider community in the work of commission 1 recognising it's role in getting the basic professional building blocks in place for practitioners;
  • Develop collaborative work practices between professionals;
  • Build networks with member associations, related societies and organizations to improve professional practice and standards;
  • Foster intercommissional cooperation;
  • Recruit active and enthusiastic people to work with Commission 1 in progressing its mission.

Work Plan

Key Documents


Working Groups

Working Group 1.1 - FIG Standards Network

Policy issue
  • Developing the involvement of practising surveyors in the development and use of standards
  • Increasing the influence of surveyors on key international standardisation bodies
  • Building the linkage between FIG workplans and standardisation activities
  • Advising FIG officers and members on standards and standardisation
  • Supporting the implementation of FIG's policy on standards
Specific projects
  • Continuing to research the most effective way to influence the standardisation process, building relationships with member associations and sister societies as necessary
  • Coordinating FIG's input to and relationship with ISO (in particular TC211 and TC172 SC6) and IVSC
  • Working with Commissions to provide appropriate briefings to FIG's members on developing and recently published standards
  • Maintaining and updating a standards area on the FIG website and the FIG Guide on Standardisation

The last four years have seen very significant consolidation and maturing of FIG’s work in a number of standards-related areas as summarised in this report. The Network has played a key role in raising the profile of standards in FIG, and the profile of FIG in standardisation activity. The imminent submission of FIG work on the core cadastral domain model to ISO for progressing to an international standard marks a further development. The Network intends to continue the process of developing a clear shared understanding of FIG’s priorities and required actions in the area of standardisation, and will continue to shape this as a common agenda with the Commissions.


Iain Greenway

Working Group 1.2 - Professional practice and organisational structures

Policy issue
  • Widening professional activities, overcome restrictions
  • European and world-wide limitations, monitoring the legal development (i.e. GATS, EC Treaty, other relevant policies)
  • Dialogue between politicians and surveyors, as well as public private partnership.
Specific projects
  • Fundamentals of legal frameworks to be presented in a paper. (2002)
  • Professional studies, business structures, bans or restrictions to be investigated. Facts to be collected for development of a paper. (2003)
  • Recommendations on behalf of less developed countries, acknowledgement by developed countries, how structural and legal processes might be possible. Models to be proposed. (2004)
  • Acknowledgement of the requirements of governments /survey departments - necessary information provided as a basis for surveyors to deal with the legal developments and future requirements. (2005)
  • Review Publication 29 on Business Practices and determine whether there is a need to update it. (2005)
  • Synthesis of the research undertaken (Munich 2006)

In the period 2002 – 2006 papers have been regularly presented. The main aspect was put on the development policies and the role of FIG as an expert NGO.

The legal framework of all issues concerning land management can be examined but no influence on the legislation is possible for an expert member of FIG - the politics of the countries is too far away to be reached by FIG.

As a general conclusion it has to be stated, that also in the surveying business, the “revenue oriented business” is the most important goal. This is not surprising in developed countries – but in less developed countries this attitude leads to uncontrolled and uncoordinated activities – as could be seen in many countries.

The role of FIG should nevertheless be to impose itself as a leader and expert NGO in Land Management issues. To achieve this, a further FIG Commission has to be established just to follow this goal and to coordinate independently the work in lesser developed countries.

Experiences: Due to difficult collaboration and experiences made by other working groups all work and finding have been done by one person in the working group.


Michael Keller

Working Group 1.3 - Information technology management as it relates to professional practice and communications

Policy issue
  • Identifying the impact of IT, Internet and e-commerce on the profession and determining strategies for dealing with the impact.
  • Communicating effectively to the FIG community including using the Homepage of Commission 1
  • Development of Knowledge Management concepts as a way of working more effectively.
Specific projects
  • Produce a communication and marketing plan for Commission 1 activities to support its work and ensure that key messages are being received by member organizations and that two way communication channels are operating. This to be prepared in 2002
  • Impact of IT, Internet and e-commerce impact on the profession to be reported with recommended strategies for dealing with the impact.
  • Ongoing development and refinement of the Commission 1 Homepage to be undertaken by Co-Chair.
  • Review of Knowledge Management concepts and how they could be used in practice

The most important event was that we were able as commission 1 to open wide the gate to new cultures and regional groups to present their different views to the profession with variable levels of ethics and standards.

Looking to these varieties I started a project financed by USAID and AMEDEAST “Surveyors and development, new vision for codes of ethics and standards”. This project, that I will develop to try to make it an international reference from Commission 1, included about 24 presentations all around Lebanon then many presentations in Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Also I have organized the second international Conference in Beirut on September 2004 with the participation of 12 Arab delegations and about 6 other European from France, Germany, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Cameroon and Italy.

In this conference I have launched the first initiative to the new Commission 1 Work Plan with my presentation “Role of Surveyor, a Human Vision beyond the Technique”.

Commission 1 was also present and active in the regional conference in Ghana where vice chairs Dietmar Sperling, Leonie Newnham, Iain Greenway and Stephen Djaba were participating to that event as well as the chair-elect Yaacoub Saade representing the Chair Klaus Rürup and Commission 1 presented a summary about the next work plan and organized a workshop that introduced this commission to new members and African organizations that welcomed the new visions of Commission 1 and supported the issues that we are defending.

During that event we had a meeting of the new Francophone Federation (FGF, Fédération des Géomèters Francophones) and we were able to convince this young federation to cooperate with FIG and Commission 1 in the development of its issues regarding the liberal practice of the profession. Waiting for the term of office 2006-2010 to launch the new work plan of our commission we will try to make from FIG and Commission especially a professional reference for the humanism of the profession to conserve the real and glorious character of the role of a surveyor.


Yaacoub Saade


Stephen Djaba


Working Group 1.4 - International project management (Joint Activity with Commission 10)

Policy issue
  • Ability of professionals to work as effectively as possible in multifaceted projects as such projects are an important component of professional service delivery.
  • Working with people, communicating messages, moving towards more collaborative work processes as the world of the professional and the type of work undertaken expands into other related areas.
  • Being aware of current good practice, how it can be implemented across a variety of delivery systems and communicating this to professionals.
  • Knowing what quality management is and being provided with resources to assist in applying this in diverse work situations.
Specific projects
  • Development of a project management resource detailing the major facets of project management delivery as it applies to the profession in conjunction with Commission 10 and using an interactive review process with FIG Member Associations.
  • Research case studies in project management across regions of the world in conjunction with Commission 10 with the aim of preparing a resource for use by members in learning about and discussing project management issues.
  • Establish a collaborative work site to develop a community of interest group that can work across member organisations to share information on current good practice and quality management in theory and practice. Outcomes of this to contribute to FIG's approach to world's good practice.

The International Project Management Working Group has been concentrating on exploring the management of change and innovation through project management. To this end a number of papers were produced over the four years involving those involved in industry change and development using case studies to identify key issues that might be relevant for professionals as they participate in the continually evolving land management environment.

The model of the land management paradigm (Enemark, 2004) has been used as an organising vehicle to explore changes in policy frameworks, land information infrastructure and land administration functions. This has encouraged debate and discussion around these areas across Commissions and has involved Commissions 1, 2, 7 and 10 throughout the four year term and other organisations such as the Australian Spatial Sciences Institute.

The working group has created a core group of those interested in innovation and change across the world and my thanks go to them for their valuable contribution through this period.

At the congress in Munich in October 2006 a joint paper for Commission 1 and 10 will review cross country comparisons exploring change management issues in large land management projects titled ‘Changing the World We See Through Land and Building Project Management’. This will clarify the importance of land management professionals in implementing major changes and the importance of their roles as change agents. Another paper will publish a guide for professionals in managing change issues consolidating things learned from the last 4 years.


Leonie Newnham

Working Group 1.5 - Under-represented Groups in Surveying (Joint working group with other FIG Technical Commissions)

Policy issue
  • Survey the role of minorities in the world of surveying and the benefit of diversity.
  • Analyse the present status of under-represented groups and be aware of good practices concerning the support of under-represented groups in FIG member associations, in professions and at universities.
  • Enhance fair competition for minority groups.
Specific Projects
  • Continuing with a FIG network for under-represented groups in surveying to enhance the distribution of information.
  • Intensify the work within the FIG Commissions to support women and cultural and language minorities.
  • Evaluation of FIG Washington Congress registration concerning gender, age, commissions and continents.
  • Organise joint Commission working group meetings or workshops during the working weeks.

Beneath the quarterly Newsletter ( the main task of the Joint Commission Working Group 1.5 on Under-represented Groups in Surveying during the last year was the preparation of Guidelines to Enhance the Representation of Under-Represented Groups in FIG. They are a result of consultations and the efforts of a number of experts and contributors, led by the Chair of the Working Group. The Guidelines contain FIG Gender Policies, FIG Young Surveyors' Policies and FIG Minorities Policies as well as Case Studies and Good Practices.

The Working Group 1.5 and the Task Force before have undertaken several initiatives, such as the quarterly newsletter promoting the participation and perspectives of women, youth and minorities, demonstrating its increasing commitment to diversity in representation and plurality in perspective. However, it can learn from case studies from surveying organisations around the world which provide good practices in this respect. In this section, examples of best practice from professional associations, public institutions and universities from a number of countries across the globe are showcased. It is not intended to be a representative sample, but rather a collection of experiences from countries in which FIG representation has been easy to obtain.

The Draft Guidelines are adopted by the Council of FIG and will be presented during the FIG Congress 2006 in Munich.


Gabriele Dasse

Klaus Rürup
Droste-Hulshoff Strasse
846236 Bottrop
Tel. + 49 20 411 8830
Fax + 49 20 411 88316

Commission Chair Elect 2004-2006 and Chair 2006-2010
Yaacoub Saade

c/o Order of Surveyors of Lebanon
Dekouane Danay Centre
Floor 5
Tel. + 961 1 489 605 ? 6 ? 7
Fax + 961 1 489 605-6

Vice-Chair - Administration
Dr. Dietmar Sperling
Veilchenweg 3
D-42579 Heiligenhaus
Tel. + 49 2054 84 856
Fax + 49 201 12 23197