Conference and Seminar Proceedings

FIG Commission 2 and 7 Workshop 2015, Kathmandu, Nepal "Strengthening Education for Land Professionals and Opportunities for SDI Development"

24-27 November 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal

Keynote speakers

Prof. em. Dr. Armin Gruen

Prof. Dr. Armin Gruen was since 1984 Professor and Head of the Chair of Photogrammetry at the Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry, Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland. Since 1 August 2009 he is retired and is now with the Institute of Conservation and Building Research, Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich. Currently he is acting as a Principal Investigator on the Simulation Platform of the SEC-FCL (Singapore ETH Centre - Future Cities Laboratory) in Singapore.

He served as the President of ISPRS Commission V (ISPRS...International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing), as ISPRS Council Member (Second Vice President) and Council Member of IUSM (International Union of Surveys and Mapping) and as Chairman of the ISPRS Financial Commission. He was Chairman of the ISPRS International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) and the ISPRS Ad-hoc Committee on"Knowledge Transfer", International Member of the Fourth Academic Committee of the State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing (LIESMARS), Wuhan University, China, Member of the First Academic Committee of the Key Laboratory of Mapping from Space of the Chinese Academy of Surveying and Mapping (CASM), Beijing, China and Member of the Executive Board of the Digital Earth Society, Member of the International Expert Committee for Strategic Development of CEODE (Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences), Beijing.

His major international awards and honors include the Otto von Gruber Gold Medal (ISPRS,1980), Talbert Abrams Award Grand Trophy (ASPRS, 1985 and 1995), with Honorable Mention 1989, Fairchild Award (ASPRS, 1994), Miegunyah Distinguished Fellowship Award of the University of Melbourne, 1999, ISPRS U.V. Helava Award 2000, E.H. Thompson Award 2005, ISPRS Brock Gold Medal Award 2008, Dr. Boon Indrabarya Gold Medal Award 2009, Yuri Gagarin Medal 2014.

Title of paper: Image Based Modelling for Emergency Management


Natural and man-made disasters have had a great impact lately worldwide. As global communication intensifies we are becoming increasingly aware of the amount of damage that is done in terms of injuries to and loss of humans and materials. Therefore a tremendous amount of efforts goes into activities aiming at disaster mitigation and early and effective rescue actions.In this context disaster response planning plays a specific role. Disaster response planning consists of three components: (a) development of damage simulation models, (b) methods and models to rapidly assess damage, and (c) methods to allocate limited resources in an optimal way.Among the various techniques applied in this domain remote sensing technology can contribute in particular to (a) and (b), but to a certain extent also to (c).
In this presentation the emphasis will be on the characteristics and use of image-based techniques.We dispose nowadays of a large spectrum of different sensors, operating from a variety of platforms like satellites (optical, radar), aerial (images, LiDAR, helicopters, UAVs) and terrestrial (Mobile Mapping systems, flying “mosquito” robots). We will show how these techniques can be used both for simulation of events, risk analysis and for the empirical analysis of events and prevention, and for the monitoring of actual events.The true challenge today lies not so much in sensing, but in data processing. Especially if on-line processing and real-time responses are required, the lack of performance in data processing techniques is still an annoying factor. This presentation will cover all aspects from sensing to data processing, supported by a number of exemplary international projects.

Prof. Dr. Arbind Man Tuladhar

Arbind Man Tuladhar holds a PhD degree from Delft University of Technology (TUDelft), and is currently working in the Department for Urban and Regional Planning and Geo-Information Management of Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) at University of Twente in the Netherlands. Currently he holds the positions of visiting Professor in the fields of Geo-informatics and Land Administration at the School of Engineering of Kathmandu University (Nepal) and Changa’n University (Xi’an, China). His current research focuses in the fields of land governance, land tenure, land management/ land administration, informal settlement, climate changes, disaster risk management, Geo-information system modelling and development, national and municipal land information systems including 3D modelling and spatial data infrastructure.

Title: Land issues and Geo-information: Responding Post Disaster Earthquakes in Nepal


The April 2015 major earthquake took place about 76 km northwest of Kathmandu followed by more than 300 aftershocks killed 9000 people and injured 25,000 people in Nepal. Recent official report by Government of Nepal (GoN) indicates that these earthquakes have affected the lives of eight million Nepalese people which is about one third of total population. This is a dangerous natural disaster which causes tremendous impacts on human vulnerability and leads to human, structural and financial losses and destructions. At international level, there are two major frameworks namely Hyogo and Sendai frameworks that address to the Multi-hazard environment including the threats to people’s lives, livelihood and assets. These frameworks can provide very good guidance to develop an action-oriented framework at the country level. Since land is fundamental to the recovery process, this presentation discusses land issues including access to land for shelters, protection of land rights, livelihood and early recovery from the earthquakes, and highlights how to incorporate these land issues into the action-oriented framework for recovery. Finally, this presentation presents land matters and Geo-information needs for post disaster reconstruction planning process within the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr. Rajan Aiyer

Mr. Rajan Aiyer is Managing Director/GM (SAARC Region), Trimble Navigation Ltd and BOD member of half-a-dozen wholly owned subsidiaries of Trimble Navigation Ltd, USA. Rajan is responsible for all aspects of these subsidiaries’ operations in SAARC Region (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Maldives). Under his leadership, Trimble revenues in India Region have more than quintupled in the last five years. Prior to this Mr. Aiyer headed his own start-up company in Silicon Valley, CA for 5 years. He has held increasingly responsible positions in engineering, marketing, sales and customer service in various Boston and Silicon Valley, CA hi-tech companies.
He brings 23+ years of total industry experience in IT, Telecom, and Data communication fields and has over a dozen key patents in key areas of networking and communications. He has a passion for fitness and enjoys a variety of hobbies including traveling, photography, dance, and squash. He is active in American Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, IMA CEO Forum, is a founding member of Association of Geospatial Industries (AGI) Governing Council, IIT Alumni Association, HBS Alumni Association. Mr. Aiyer graduated with a B.Tech. from Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi and an M.S. Computer Science from University of Texas, Austin. He has completed General Management Program at Harvard Business School.

Title of paper: Geospatial Technologies for a Disaster Resilient Community


The adoption and integration of geospatial information across the wide expanse of socio-economic sectors continues to advance at a rapid rate. For nations facing high risk of natural disasters, geospatial information is a critical element in the development of disaster risk management systems. A plethora of innovative geospatial technologies available today will help not only to produce these critical information, but also enable analytics to support quick and effective decision-making . Rajan Aiyer will discuss some of these technologies and how they are applied in pre- and post-disaster projects.

Plenary Speakers

Prof. Marguerite Madden

Professor and Director
Center for Geospatial Research
Department of Geography,University of Georgia

Title of paper: Geo-spatial Technologies and People are needed to Prepare, Respond and Recover from Disasters


Disasters are non-ordinary events and come in many shapes and sizes. They can be characterized by extraordinary delivery of wind, water and fire, and in the case of earthquakes, energy that moves the very ground we stand upon. Although the occurrence of disasters may be unexpected, measures can be taken to prepare for them. We can be ready to respond and understand what we must do to recover. Geospatial technologies, for example, can provide community leaders, planners, policy makers and emergency responders with critical data and disaster analysis tools. Satellite programs acquiring image data that are regular, synoptic and complete in coverage are invaluable for disaster assessment because they provide both the “before” and “after” views. Imagery from airborne and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) also provide critical information to assist responders with prioritizing their actions, planning paths of evacuation and delivering aid and supplies. Combining imagery with geographic information systems (GIS) and existing data of Spatial Data Infrastructures also allows analysis of current conditions and past disaster events in order to model risk, patterns of damage and predictions of future events. Spatio-temporal analysis of time-series remotely sensed imagery, 3D terrain data and point clouds provide advanced geovisualizations and animations that allow us to virtually experience disaster scenarios and evaluate possible responses. This presentation will discuss geospatial technologies and analyses being conducted by researchers at the Center for Geospatial Research (CGR), Department of Geography at The University of Georgia, USA that can be used for disaster preparation, response and recovery. Case studies will be presented using multi-temporal imagery from satellite, airborne and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) platforms that document current conditions and establish baselines for assessing future changes. Training staff and approaches for easy access to geospatial technologies also will be addressed because people with local knowledge and who are on-site when disasters strike are the most important component of disaster management.

Prof. Alexander Densmore

Institute of Hazard, Risk, and Resilience and Department of Geography
Durham University, UK

Title: Co-seismic and post seismic landsliding in the 2015 Nepal earthquake sequence


The 2015 earthquake sequence in Nepal, including the Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake of 25 April and the Mw 7.3 Dolakha earthquake of 12 May, triggered several thousand landslides in Nepal. These were predominantly located in high-relief areas of the Lesser and High Himalaya, north and northeast of the epicentre of the 25 April earthquake. A number of different organisations used optical and radar satellite imagery to map landslides in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes. This mapping effort was largely successful in identifying the main areas that were affected by landsliding, along with the locations where major disruption to roads and other infrastructure should be expected. At the same time, the mapping effort was hampered by a number of different issues, including lack of suitable cloud-free imagery, difficulty in identifying coseismic landslides, and coordination between the different teams, data providers, and potential end-users. Here, we review the earthquakes and the patterns of coseismic landsliding, emphasising the key role of satellite imagery in allowing rapid assessment of the landslide hazard. We also describe the longer-term effects of the earthquake on landslide occurrence in the region, focusing in particular on the Upper Bhote Kosi valley, Sindhupalchok, as a representative example of the wider earthquake-affected area.

Prof. Kevin McDougall

Head of School Civil Engineering and Surveying
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
University of Southern Queensland, Australia

Title of paper: Challenges and Opportunities in Utilising SDI and Crowd Sourced Data during Disasters


Technology is changing the way in which we live our lives including the way we work, communicate, socialise, purchase goods and services and relax. Modern disaster reporting is becoming increasingly sophisticated with the ready access to social media and user-friendly online mapping tools. Citizen engagement in location enabled disaster reporting is more obvious, and the availability of crowd generated geospatial data is higher than ever before. Crowd generated geospatial content is current and more diverse than conventional geographic information; however, quality and credibility issues exist. Although spatial data infrastructures (SDIs) have proven to be successful in supporting disaster management activities in the past, delays in providing public mapping portals and gaps in data are common. Crowd support and crowd generated spatial data have the potential to speed up disaster management actions and disaster mitigation actions.
Formal or authoritative SDIs have formed the base mapping framework for emergency management authorities to utilise during emergencies. However, these data are often not available for citizens to access quickly during a disaster and therefore crowd responders are utilising other less authoritative mapping sources to respond during disasters. The utilisation of base maps such as OpenStreetMap, Google Maps or Bing Maps is commonplace for crowd sourced mapping. In some instances, these base maps are superior to the officially available government maps whilst in other cases the official mapping is more current or complete. This presentation will discuss the role of crowd sourced mapping during disasters, the challenges data quality and credibility, the opportunities that crowd sourced data presents and the role of government agencies in spatial data access and management to support disaster management.

Dr. Donald Grant

Associate Professor in Geospatial Science
Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences Department
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia

Title of paper: International Lessons in Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction


A study of disaster recovery and land tenure/land administration in other countries allows us to identify lessons for Nepal. Lessons can be drawn from previous earthquake events such as Haiti, and New Zealand. A number of key land administration challenges faced during the earthquake recovery and reconstruction periods are identified and summarised. This includes priorities for tenure security, land use planning, and property valuation. These priorities will often differ from country to country but common themes and options emerge.

Dr. Amod Mani Dixit

Executive Director
National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET)

Mr. Chee Hai TEO

Title of paper: Role of Surveying Professionals.


The United Nations in September agreed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets as agreed demonstrated the scale, reach and ambition of this Agenda. These goals and targets should inspire and galvanize actions over the coming decade in areas crucial and important to humankind. Earlier in the year, the global community adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction with an emphasis on the importance of developing, providing and improving disaster risk information leveraging on geospatial information technologies. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, there is the much anticipated 21st Conference of the Parties later this month in Paris. Next year, the global community heads into Habitat III Conference seeking the New Urban Agenda that will provide solutions for the complexities within human settlements and urbanization. These international agendas and developments all have a people-to-place dimension.

Mr. Alistair Greig

Christchurch, New Zealand

Title of paper: Disaster Recovery Post Christchurch 2011 Earthquakes


New Zealand typically experiences 20,000 earthquakes annually. However the southern city of Christchurch was considered a relatively quiet seismic area – until September 2010. What followed over an eighteen month period were 13,000 earthquakes and aftershocks. Christchurch suffered catastrophic damage to buildings and loss of life. Geospatial professionals were needed immediately to support the rescue effort by Urban Search and Rescue, Civil Defence, Police and Army. Support from Surveyors and GIS experts increased as the emergency response turned into recovery and then rebuild of the city. Today, five years on, the need for surveyors and GIS specialists is still as strong as ever and it is important to recognise their contribution to disaster recovery.

Dr. Christopher Pearson

School of surveying
University of Otago, New Zealand

Title of paper: Towards a modernized geodetic datum for Nepal: Options for developing an accurate terrestrial reference frame following the April 25, 2015 Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake


Along with the damage to buildings and infrastructure, the April 25, 2015 Mw7.8 Gorkha earthquake caused quite significant deformation over a large area in central Nepal with displacements of over 2 m recorded in the vicinity of Kathmandu. In this paper we consider options for a modernized geodetic datum for Nepal that will have the capacity to correct for the earthquake displacements and ongoing tectonic deformation associated with Nepal’s location on the India/Asia plate boundary. The current Nepal datum is a classical datum developed in 1984 by the Military Survey branch of the Royal (UK) Engineers in collaboration with the Nepal Survey Department. It has served Nepal well however the recent earthquakes have provided an impetus for developing a semi-dynamic datum which will be based on the most current available ITRF and have the capacity to correct for tectonic deformation.
In the scenario we present here, the datum would be based on be ITRF2014 with a reference epoch set some time after the end of the current sequence of earthquakes. The deformation model contains a grid of the secular velocity field combined with models of the Gorkha Earthquake and the May 12 Mw7.3 aftershock. We have developed a preliminary velocity field by taking published velocities for Nepal and adjacent pars of China and India from five previous studies and aligning them to the ITRF. We are currently working on developing patches for the co-seismic part of the deformation using published dislocation models. While these models do a reasonably good job of modeling the deformation, there are some significant discrepancies between their predictions and the limited GPS measurements. We hope to improve these models by developing revised grids that will incorporate increased GPS and INSAR measurements of the deformation field. Top level control would be based on a CORS network based around the existing Nepal GPS Array. Coordinates for existing lower order coordinates would be determined by readjusting existing measurements and these would be combined with a series of new control stations spread throughout Nepal.

Mr. Igor Cvetkovski

Department of Operations and Emergencies (DOE)
IOM, Headquarters, Geneva

Title of paper: Balancing the HLP needs, rights and available resources before, during and after natural disaster


Designing and implementing comprehensive and efficient policies for preventing and addressing the impact of natural disasters represent significant political and socio-economic challenge for any society. This challenge manifests itself in the conundrum of finding the right balance between the needs and the rights of affected population, the existing legal frameworks and the societal demands and the available state and community resources. There is no universal recipe for achieving this balance and each society has to find its own. However, there are set of principles which can guarantee equitable and efficient policies and mechanisms such as the principles of participation and consultative decision making. This discussion paper will set to explore these principle and elaborate on the variety of feasible and efficient models for addressing housing, land and property issues before, during and after natural disasters.