FIG Council

Ensuring the Rapid Response to Change
Ensuring the Surveyor of Tomorrow

Work Plan


The FIG vision is of a modern and sustainable surveying profession in support of society, environment and economy by providing innovative, reliable and best practice solutions to our rapidly changing and complex world, acting with integrity and confidence about the usefulness of surveying, and translating these words into action.


FIG supports international collaboration among its members for the progress of surveying in all its fields and applications.

FIG, through dedicated leaderships and the long and systematic work of its members, has established a close cooperation with the UN, the WB and its sister associations and has been globally recognized as the leading international non-governmental organization on geospatial information and the management of land, the sea and the build environment.

For the 2015-2018 time period FIG council agreed on an overall theme for the next period of office:

Ensuring the Rapid Response to Change, Ensuring the Surveyor of Tomorrow”.

Through the years almost every incoming administration of FIG has acknowledged “change” as a reality of our world. Now the changes we face are more than technological; they are global and they are fast. Change is inevitable; as professionals we cannot manage change, we can only manage the way we respond to change. What we traditionally do, as professionals, is to seek the relevance of our profession and to improve our efficiency to respond to change.

Since the steel tape, the logarithms, the theodolite, the introduction of triangulation and the least squares adjustment theory, the cadastral maps, the revolution of photogrammetry, the electronic distance measurement, the use of telurometer, up to the satellite images and the GNSS revolution, the GIS and spatial information management, the UAVs and mobile devices, and our leading role in modern cadastres and marine information systems, our increased involvement in land governance, especially in land administration, land management, land and property valuation and quantity surveying, FIG and “the surveying profession” has continuously changed aiming to better serve a spatially enabled society.

The difference today lies in the fact that “timing” is introduced as the crucial factor in our theme. We are living in an era of constant and rapid change: changing technology that challenges us to maintain our proficiency; changing markets that challenge us to adapt to international processes and standards; changing societal needs that challenge us to adapt our governance policies and tools.

Today we have reached the stage where there is an increased UN and WB recognition of how reliable geospatial information helps governments and citizens to underpin decision making; Being “geospatial” is a global “transformation”. Geospatial information is recognized as the tool to address issues like:

  • population growth and the need for food and water security and poverty eradication;
  • the rapid urbanization of the world’s cities and the need to respond fast and smart in terms of housing, mobility and transport, city and building modeling, energy saving, health care, water and waste management, and governance in general;
  • the tendency of development to cluster within the coastal zones of the oceans, the seas and the major river deltas and the need for rapid response to natural disasters and to manage the impact of climate change ;
  • the interconnectivity in all areas of our economies, cultures, governmental operations and private lives and the need for harmonization, compatibility and security of procedures; the so called “mega-trends”.

Our professional services and products are changing the perception of how governments seek growth. Good land administration, for example, has a direct effect on lending practices and national economies. Governments are seeking innovative ways to encourage universal parcels recordation as quickly as possible. Citizens also understand that innovation facilitates good decision-making for all people both in the public and private sectors. There is a fast growing civil demand and a changing culture for authoritative spatial information published on the web, a culture that changes the administrative concept. The question is how much change can governments afford? To satisfy such great demand the use of data derived from various providers may be supportive. Authoritative data can be provided and assured by government agencies but also by crowd sourcing and the engagement of surveyors.

Surveyors today are recognized for their provision of reliable geospatial data towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), enabling a real difference in people’s lives. As the MDGs are to be concluded by the end of 2015, it is the purpose of government to build on the generated momentum and carry on with an ambitious post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

FIG and its Member Associations, Academic Members, Affiliate Members, as well as Corporate Members, through the work provided by the Council, the Commissions, Task Forces, Networks, and the Permanent Institutions, are in a strong position to interact with politicians, individual surveyors and citizens at regional, national and local level and further contribute the expansion of this progress in most of the world’s countries. The post-2015 development agenda is expected to tackle many issues relevant to the surveying profession, including ending poverty and hunger, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, protecting oceans and forests. FIG and its member surveyors are the specialists who contribute this change. It is the role of surveyors to provide solution functionality, reliably, affordably for a complex and rapidly changing world that cannot wait. It is therefore urgent for the surveying profession to be customer oriented, to think ahead, to predict future changes, and to foresee the requirements of the next generation of the public and structure the way ahead. Therefore we must develop a prosperous and sustainable profession which will translate the post 2015 sustainable development agenda into action and will direct benefits to member associations respective Nation States.

During the 2015-2018 time period FIG, its council and commissions, hand in hand with its member associations, affiliate members, academic members, and corporate members will strive to achieve the FIG Vision.

The key topics of the Council Work Plan include professional development, institutional development, capacity development, cooperation with global organizations and sister associations to respond to global needs.


FIG will continue to provide a global forum for discussion and exchange of experiences and new professional developments between members and individual professionals in the broad areas of surveying and mapping, spatial information management, and the management of land and the built environment. This relates to FIG annual conferences, regional conferences, the FIG Networks, the work of the ten commissions (ACCO) within their working groups and commission seminars and the work of the Task Forces (TFs).

The council will ensure that this global forum offers opportunities for all aspects of the surveying profession, its various disciplines and the total range of its professional areas and professional standards.

The council will also ensure that the performance according to the agreed work plan will be monitored and supported by the responsible council members. The council will work closely with the FIG family to agree upon the deliverables and upon key performance indicators for monitoring the performance during the next 4 years and will report annually.

3.1. Global Environment

In order to further promote and enhance the role of FIG within the global environment actions will include:

  • organization of conferences and workshops

FIG will continue to promote professional development through its commission activities, conferences, the Young Surveyors Network, and the Regional Capacity Development Network. The organization of commission activities and conferences is an important global FIG effort. The FIG motto “Ensuring the Rapid Response to change, Ensuring the Surveyor of Tomorrow” should be applied to these activities. According to the situation, e.g., response to economic change (economies in transition), or response to disaster management (natural disasters), professional achievements should be identified and promoted.

  •  response to the post 2015 sustainable development agenda

FIG will support promotion of the “post 2015 sustainable development agenda” in cooperation with UN agencies such as UNGGIM, FAO, UNHABITAT/GLTN, UNECE, UNEP, UNDP, UNOOSA, UNECA, UNRCC, ECOSOC, PCIDEA, the World Bank, and sister organizations; when appropriate new MoUs or extension of existing MoUs will be developed. FIG will coordinate with International professional organizations in surveying disciplines such as IAG, ICA, IHO, ISPRS, GSDI, ISM, IFHS, ICSU through the Joint Board of Spatial Information Societies. More specifically, there is a mutual interest between FIG and

  • FAO to continue to cooperate within the framework of implementing the VGGT through a close cooperation between FIG member associations, the FIG Commissions and the FIG Academic Forum;
  • GLTN to continue cooperation on issues related to cost and financing of land administration services, valuation of unregistered land and properties, capacity building on STDM and other topics of interest;
  • UNECE to continue cooperation and in-depth research on informal settlements formalization and upgrading, and other topics of interest.
  • UN-GGIM to continue cooperation in Global Geospatial Information Management and in particular on the new item land administration and management to be tabled for discussion soon.

It is expected that raising awareness on the above global topics, within FIG, will enable FIG member associations to create more global surveyors.

3.2. Regional Environment

In order to further promote and enhance the role of FIG within regional environments actions will include:

  • joint activities, conferences, publications, Task Force activity, Network activity, etc. FIG will strengthen regional collaboration between FIG and other regional professional associations through joint activities, representation at conferences, workshops, establishment of Working Groups for joint research and publications on topics of major common interest, such as global/ regional cadastres, improving the property markets in certain regions, etc;

    Within this concept FIG will continue promoting capacity building in the regions where most in need. A Regional Capacity Development Network is proposed to be established on this topic. This is the Task Force for Africa that the council has decided to transform into a Network and include other regions as well.

    In addition, a Task Force is proposed to be established to generally assess the progress of establishing the property markets in the countries with economies in transition within the greater European continent. It is a common knowledge and experience that in most countries in transition privatization and property registrations projects have been implemented in order to support economic growth through the functioning of real estate markets. However, it is also understood that there are still regional weaknesses. 
  • encouraging delegates from various regions to be active in FIG; by assigning tasks and responsibilities within the Work Plan and the commissions’ plans to delegates from various regions, to increase their visibility and recognition by the FIG General Assembly. This will encourage the greater nomination of candidates for future elections.

3.3. Local Environment

In order to further promote and enhance the role of FIG within local environments actions will include:

  • promoting and enhancing the role of FIG through initiating and enhancing a sustainable communication strategy and support greater collaboration with member associations in order to strengthen their links with FIG in contributing solutions to 21st century challenges at national level and to engage surveyors in solving global issues; using social media channels to increase outreach.
  • Clarifying and promoting FIG benefits for the surveyor; addressing “change” and successfully communicate the associated benefits to FIG members; ensuring that member associations support their surveyors to understand the vision and strategy of FIG and to contribute to FIG activities. Increase membership direct involvement in FIG activities; enhancing the profile of surveyors locally; improving international networking among members; encouraging delegate appointment to the commissions activity; and sharing experience, knowledge and examples of good practice to enhance capacity of and to support the changing role of the member associations;
  • increasing membership in less represented regions (e.g., India, Caucasus area, Latin America, Asia); attention should be paid to the problems of members in paying their arrears.
  • capacity and institutional development through guidelines and training courses especially in regions most in need through the Regional capacity Development Network and the seeking to develop cooperation with sister associations, such as the cooperation with the GLTN.
  • Place specific focus on Young Surveyors.


 FIG will promote internal structural improvements in order to meet the need for a rapid response to change. Such improvements will include:

  • empowering ACCO and Commissions. The work of the commissions is the heart of FIG activity; the council will support this work by all available means. The council will ensure that the ACCO is an empowered and innovative forum for professional development and strategic enhancement of FIG activities.

    Some commissions have more active members than others and can achieve more; in addition there is an overlap in some of the commission topics of interest, which may require a better coordination. There is an interest in assessing the efficiency of the Commissions structure according to current professional trends in order to improve efficiency and facilitate more joint activity and also to assess their close collaboration with the Young Surveyors and to propose ways on how to improve the expected contribution and the  regular flow of experts from the YSs Network, the Capacity building Network and the Standards Network into the Commissions and their working groups.

    For this purpose a Task Force is proposed to be established to assess the Commissions and their operation, investigate if there is a need to revise their structure and provide a proposal on possible improvements. Existing experience from large member associations which have recently proceeded into restructuring or improvements of the structure and operational models of similar schemes should be investigated.
  • engaging the corporate members and improving their participation within FIG. Corporate members of FIG are among the leaders in achieving significant advancements and innovative developments in software, services, hardware, and other applications within a modern and competitive environment. Their contribution to the profession and their experience is of great value to FIG. There is a need to enlarge the number of FIG corporate members, especially in an era when many FIG member associations and academic members are having financial difficulty to fully fulfil their membership fees.

    For this purpose a Task Force is proposed to be established to strengthen the FIG relationship with corporate members (investigate how to engage new corporate members in FIG, what the key topics would be, what is desired, what are the challenges, etc.)
  • promoting the collaboration with academic members and sharing experiences on the ways they address change in education; promote innovative scientific research of high level to enable a more focused collaboration. The FIG VP responsible for the Academic members forum is proposed to coordinate this activity. It is proposed that a Task Force will be established to investigate the need and if justified, the steps forward in order to introduce an FIG peer review Journal (electronic or printed).
  • Checking the efficiency, elaborating and continuously updating the new FIG website with news from the current activity; checking the efficiency of our communication channels; The Office, the Council and Young Surveyors Network will assist in developing and improving communication through related social media.
  • strengthen the collaboration and efficiency of the Forum of Mapping Agencies; organize the Directors General Forum meetings and the selection of the topics of interest.
  • Ensuring the financial sustainability of FIG and general finances. The council will ensure the functioning and sustainability of the Office. The council will continue to allocate appropriate resources to the FIG office to enable it to respond to the requirements set out in the Work Plan. The council will also ensure that the services provided by the office reflect the resources available. The office should also be evaluated through the FIG VP responsible for FIG office administration and finances in cooperation with the president and the office members.

    Policies must be established for council and office staff travel assignments and expense allowances. Any unbudgeted expense increases should be offset by alternate sources of income. The council will formalize the budgeting process; the VP assigned to financial oversight will monitor the financial condition of the Federation and will prepare timely reports to the GA.

PDF version of the work plan
Responsibilities of Council