FIG Commission 2 Professional Education Workshop on the Trends in Surveying Education and Training

University of East London, 26-27 August 2010

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Commission 2 on technical tour

Report by Peter Lakin and Richard Latham UEL

This workshop focused on surveying education and in particular how educators around the world respond to changes in the survey profession and keep their courses relevant and stimulating for students. Also explored were the opportunities that exist to enhance surveying teaching and learning by sharing approaches and investigating the benefits of a variety of new technologies. The meeting also saw the hand over of the chair of FIG commission 2 from Bela Markus (University of West Hungary) to Steven Frank (New Mexico State University).

FIG president, Stig Enemark, gave the opening address and presented an overview of surveying education in Europe. Most surveying courses have experienced significant changes in recent years, changes brought about by survey technology, the use of computers in teaching and learning and changes to the profession itself. Indeed, one comment that seemed to dominate these proceedings was that ‘the only thing we can rely on is that things will change’.

Bela Markus has chaired FIG Commission 2 for four years and as outgoing chair he gave a presentation on Commission 2 achievements amongst which have been 10 workshops or conferences held worldwide. The impact of the changing worlds of both surveying and education were again highlighted in the presentation. As a key part of this, the growing trend of professional institutions towards using competencies as part of their requirements for membership was discussed. However it was clear that the range of definitions of surveying found worldwide makes international acceptance of a common system difficult. In terms of changes in education, the growing emphasis on the provision of e-learning is clear and in January 2010 Commission 2 highlighted this in FIG Report no.46 “Enhancing Surveying Education through E-learning”.

Gert Steinkellner reported on the work of working group 2.4 - Education Management and Marketing, including details of the workshop held in Vienna in 2009. After identifying the ‘big swing’ of the profession from measurement to management as a challenge, he discussed the role FIG could take in marketing surveying education. This included looking at how the profession is recognised, the need for realistic expectations and the need for co-ordinated global marketing.

The final item for the day was the introduction of the proposed work plan for Commission 2 for 2011 – 2014 by Steven Frank, chairman elect. Discussion followed on the strategies suggested for each working group and how FIG can help with survey education at all levels.

Opening the second day of proceedings, Alojz Kopacik presented details of Slovakian survey education. The University of Technology in Bratislava takes about 250 surveying students per year. A new course structure has been introduced, brought about in part by the Bologna Process, and in part by the aim of aligning courses with others in Europe, thus enhancing transferrable skills and job opportunities.

Garfield Young (University of West Indies) currently completing a PhD at Nottingham, presented some of his research on the structure of land surveying courses currently on offer worldwide. Amongst a variety of interesting findings he observed that first year students often have a high tutor dependence and this needs to be changed to self direction by the final year and for lifelong learning and CPD. The importance of the field schemes in preparing students for real life was also highlighted.

Stephen Ramsey from Leica gave the perspective from a manufacturer’s view. Laser Scanners are changing the way we survey, but errors are still not considered fully by users. Not enough training is provided, so users depend on the equipment and the software and often lack an understanding of how to combine data sets, extract 3D surfaces and can’t understand what happens when things go wrong.

Henny Mills from Newcastle University and Peter Lakin from the University of East London ran through some of the alternatives to traditional teaching methods they have been trying in their respective courses. Henny’s examples included the interactive traverse learning tool, which enables students to calculate a traverse by hand, then insert values into an e-learning tool for checking, as well as levelling and digital data flow on-line tutorials. Peter demonstrated examples of learning support using one-minute video clips combined with the use of mobile video players in the field to help guide students through the use of total stations. He also explained some sample exercises currently undertaken by surveying students making use of problem based learning approaches.

Gert Steinkellner followed, with a second presentation, concentrating on survey education in Austria. He outlined recent changes brought about as a result of the Bologna process, especially with new public management, autonomy of universities and modern teaching and learning.

Tim Goodhead (Portsmouth University) introduced the new Associate membership route of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in the UK and the use of competencies in the membership process. He also outlined the origins of the RICS and changes it has faced and adapted to.

The final paper was from the furthest travelled delegate – Michael Strack (Otago University, New Zealand. Here, the main course is a BSurv, co-ordinated with the New Zealand Institute of Surveyors professional requirements. The content is based on the requirements of the New Zealand cadastral system but with alternatives for management and development becoming popular choices. There is still a high demand for their successful course as it is seen to have very good employment opportunities (several working on the Olympic site in London!).

The final discussion session came up with suggestions about how the profession might benefit from more student exchange programmes and the potential value of an International summer school. The meeting closed with a discussion on the possible timing and themes of Commission 2 workshops for the next four years and ways in which to maximise their potential.

Picture Gallery

Presentations

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Alojz Kopacik

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Alojz Kopacik

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Alojz Kopacik

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Brian Whiting

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Bela Markus

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Bela Markus

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Brian Whiting

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Brian Whiting

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Garfield Young

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Gert Steinkeliner

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Garfield Young

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Gert Steinkeliner

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Gert Steinkeliner

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Gert Steinkeliner

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Graham Sharp

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Henny Mills

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Henny Mills

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Michael Strack

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Peter Lakin


Steve Frank


Peter Lakin

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Steve Frank

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Steve Frank

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Tim Badley

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Tim Goodhead
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Delegates at the meeting

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Delegates at the meeting

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UEL Campus

Dinner at the Commission 2 meeting  
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16 September 2010


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