FIG Young Surveyors Network: Geospatial agents of change

Reclaiming the Future by Mapping the New World

Melissa Harrington, Chair, FIG Young Surveyors Network
Kwabena Asiama, Vice Chair, FIG Young Surveyors Network
Simone Emens, FIG Young Surveyors, the Netherlands

"With geospatial information being more important now than ever, location-based data is the key to solving the societal challenges of our time. Young geospatial and surveying professionals especially sit in the driving seats towards the goal of meeting the most urgent global and local challenges with location-based information and analyses. But we cannot do it alone. Resilience, collaboration and global networks are the key to unlocking our sustainable common future. The FIG Young Surveyors Networks provides a platform for young geo-spatial professionals from all over the globe to share, learn, network and take action."

The FIG Young Surveyors Network (YSN)

The FIG Young Surveyors Network (YSN) is a vibrant network of students and young professionals from all around the world who study and work within the global surveying community. A young surveyor is as a person 35 years old or younger, who is a student of surveying and all related studies or within 10 years of graduation from a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in surveying and all related studies.

The FIG YSN was established at the FIG Congress in Munich in 2006. The network’s contribution to the work of FIG and its 10 Commissions and ensures that Young Surveyors are well represented and active in the FIG Commissions. The network has organised various events all over the world, with some of these being recognized by and others organised in co-operation with leading bodies such as the UN-Habitat, World Bank, FAO, CLGE etc. These co-operations and partnerships are key in showing our generation’s place as ambassadors and agents of change. Cooperating with world-leading businesses and sponsors enables us to inform and show future and up to date technology. The presence in media through publishing various articles, statements and comments in magazines, social media and forums leads to a worldwide recognition.

4th Young Surveyors’ Conference (4YSC) Istanbul 2018

The YSN Purpose, Vision and Workplan

The FIG YSN addresses the need for the representation of young surveyors within FIG and to ensure FIG activities are meeting the needs of students and young professionals.
The keep up with the changing times, each FIG term has a vision. The vision of the current FIG term is to INSPIRE the next generation of surveyors. To reach this goal, our Workplan builds on five initiatives – Partnerships, Communication, Events, Development, and Outreach. Each of these initiatives have a purpose and an outcome to be achieved through one or more projects all aimed at reaching our vision for 2019 to 2020. Key among these are the scaling up of the Volunteer Community Surveyor Programme (VCSP) geared towards increasing volunteerism among young surveyors and the Mapping the Plastic initiative undertaken in partnership with FIG Commission 4. You can read more about our Workplan here (FIG YSN 2019-2021 Workplan).

5th Young Surveyors Conference Amsterdam

In advancement of our goal to bring young surveyors all over the world closer together, the Network organises meetings in the various regions, as well as a Young Surveyors’ Conference biennially. In 2019, the third Young Surveyors’ Asia and the Pacific Meeting (3YSAPM) was held together with the 2019 FIG Working Week in Hanoi, and the second Young Surveyors’ African Meeting (2YSAM) in Dakar, and significantly, the first meeting of the Young Surveyors Latin American Network. This year, the 5th Young Surveyors Conference (5YSC) was set to take place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on 9-10 May. The two-day event was planned to provide an environment for Young Surveyors from all over the world to meet, share, re-orient, and discuss the issues facing their future: including their crucial role in protecting our countries against the impact of urbanisation, and climate change and the  resulting sea level rise. Various key notes, presentations, demonstrations and workshops related to smart surveying techniques and our contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were planned. Being Young Surveyors, we must contribute to challenges such as these:

Reclaim the future by mapping the new world!

Indeed, Young Surveyors from all over the Globe, would have experienced first-hand, how the Dutch fought the sea and managed to build a densely populated coastal country which has nearly half the total land area below sea level.

However, COVID-19 happened...

First of its kind: YSN Social Distancing Edition

Being resilient and looking ahead to new possibilities and global partnerships without borders, the YSN saw a new opportunity to host the “5th Young Surveyors’ Conference (5YSC) Social Distancing Edition” on 9 May 2020. In the true spirit of global partnerships, the Young Surveyors around the globe gathered digitally and took up the challenge to organize the ‘5YSC Social Distancing Edition’ in 4 different time zones; Asia and the Pacific Zone - 9:00 am UTC +8, Africa and European Zone – 9:00am UTC +1, Latin America Zone - 9:00am UTC –3, and the Americas’ Zone – 9:00am UTC –6. Young Surveyors and indeed all surveyors from around the globe are invited to join any or all of these sessions!
The two common themes that will run through all four zones are Integrated and Smart Land and Water Management, and the Professional Development of Young Surveyors.

Registration is now open!

Register now for the 5th Young Surveyors conference - Social Distancing Edition, completely free and hosted online!

Join us now for 4 sessions around the globe! The programme will exist out of keynotes and interactive panel discussions. Everyone is welcome to join and experience what it is like to be a young surveyor.


The Asia and the Pacific Zone (9:00 am UTC +8)

The keynotes in the Asia and the Pacific Zone will feature a talk about the Humla, Karnali: Trails & Infrastructure Mapping for Emergency Preparedness and Response, a project that uses OpenStreetMap and GPS mapper tools to collect local trails and infrastructure information to aid with the provision of services. This is very much linked to the FIG vision of Volunteering for the Future. The second keynote in this zone with feature a talk on the Mapping the Plastic initiative run jointly by YSN and FIG Commission 4. On the aspect of the professional development of young surveyors, three presentations on the Management of Disruption with Soft Skills, Innovation to adapt to the changing world to be come relevant, as well as the education and learning styles in surveying, with the later being a product of a partnership with FIG Commission 2.

The African and European Zone (9:00am UTC +1)

The African and European Zone will also place focus on the Smart Land and Water Management and the professional development of Young Surveyors. A keynote on Mapping the Plastics and a presentation on Ocean Mapping and the SDGs, will provide the link between the SDGs and water management. These together with a presentation on the Advances in the Land Administration Domain Model (LADM) and the Drowned Land Project will tie together the two aspects of Land and Water Management. The second keynote on “The Future of the Ever-Evolving Surveying and Mapping Profession” sheds light on the professional development of young surveyors.
The conference in this time zone will end with a panel discussion, which will feature the presenters as well as other invited panellists under the title, “Smart Land and Water Management”.

The Latin American Zone (9:00am UTC –3)

The Latin American Zone will focus on the role of surveyors in disasters, volunteering, and professional development. On disasters, there will be presentations on the comprehensive survey for emergency care as a result of hurricane impact on the electrical systems, the adoption of 3D scanners to the inspection of tanks and electrical generators after an earthquake, as well as the impact of the Maule Earthquake on the activities of farmers.
Further talks will deal with the new opportunities provided for volunteering in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic through virtual Geo-volunteering as well as a young surveyor’s wonderful experience as a recipient of the FIG Foundation Grant.

The American Zone (9:00am UTC –6)

The American Zone will also focus on the general areas of integrated land and water management and professional development for young surveyors. Two keynotes at the meeting with  cover smart surveyors and the road to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals with 10 years left. Other presentations will cover implementation of the LADM, a Demonstration of Software by ESRI, and the relevance of spatial information to Environmental Sciences. The last session will look at the surveyor’s role in the world. In commemoration of Earth Day, which fell on April 22, there will be a further talk on the surveyor and the Earth. A presentation on Volunteering for the future, highlighting the network’s volunteering activities and how young surveyors can give back, to wrap up the conference in the zone, and indeed the conference across the globe.

Continuing the Professional Development of Young Surveyors

Based on the success of the 5YSC – Social Distancing Edition we will be looking into other digital platforms of sharing information to continue the education and professional development of Young Surveyors around the world!

So why don’t you join us for this? Would you like to share your knowledge and ideas through our webinars? Contact us on

Join us to contribute to our common future!

Broaden your knowledge, network and impact.

Let us connect and learn the importance of geospatial information and its ability to serve the world.