News in 2013

FIG Commission 1 Workshop held on 11th September 2013 In Melbourne Australia

Melbourne, Australia 11 September 2013

On the 11 September 2013 an International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) workshop was held in Melbourne organised by the Chair and Vice Chair of Commission 1, Leonie Newnham and Robyn McCutcheon. It was held as a pre-summit workshop for the annual Victorian Spatial Summit. The workshop reviewed the definition of a Surveyor as defined by FIG in 1991. This definition is broad and includes all forms of spatial professionals under its umbrella.

Attendees included the FIG President Cheehai Teo, the Commission 1 Chair Elect Brian Coutts and well-known representatives from the surveying and spatial industry. We also had a few people giving a community perspective. This included a futurist who helped focus on the views of external users of industry services.

In addition to the ‘physical’ attendees the workshop included a group ‘skype’ session. This allowed overseas participants including Winnie Chu, a Land Surveyor and Commission 1 Vice Chair from Hong Kong. It gave excellent audio for recording and listening to those online. We were a little nervous about how this would work but it was very successful. Commission 1 is also working on expanding use of new technology and social media to support professional practice.

The findings were that the content is right but is missing some elements and the wording of the definition needs updating. The group thought that the definition’s focus was for use by an international body. Interestingly, a number of examples were given by workshop members where they had used the definition to support their work at a local and regional level. It does creates a framework within which surveyors can work and define our expertise. The role of a surveyor has changed significantly since the previous definition was created and also international diversity makes it difficult for a whole of profession / industry definition to work for everyone without local additions .
The discussion had five key topics:

  • New technology/Future scan,

  • Young Professionals view on working and fitting into the spatial industry,

  • The future of surveying as a regulated profession,

  • Education and professional development,

  • Underrepresented groups, indigenous groups and those in remote areas.

People nominated as champions for each topic and will prepare a summary of findings for the workshop report. A redraft of the current definition will be attached to stimulate discussion across the FIG world wide community. Leonie Newnham reported on the outcomes at the Victorian Spatial Summit the next day.

FIG Commision1 will progress towards a formal change of definition and consider a policy paper to take this further. The Chair of Commission 1 Leonie Newnham will present a paper on this, jointly authored with nominated champions, at the FIG Congress in Kuala Lumpur in June 2014. Further discussions and input are welcome through our LinkedIn group:

FIG was the major supporter of this event providing the personnel to organise it while additional sponsors for the FIG workshop were the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute, Spatial Industries Business Association and Consulting Surveyors National. We thank all our participants and sponsors of this event.


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Robyn McCutcheon
September 2013

02 October 2013