From bulb to flower, the road towards FIG2020(+1) 

From the perspective of the Local Organising Committee

Local Organising Team of FIG2020

The tulips have been our signature symbol for the FIG Working Week in Amsterdam in 2020. Wherever possible we included our national symbol; in the logo of FIG2020, in our images and of course with the orange stickers on the badges.  The timing of the Working Week would have allowed you to visit the flower field, or to buy Tulip bulbs in any colour you would have liked and to plant them for the years to come as a memory to FIG2020.

Our Local Organising Committee (LOC) was looking forward to welcoming you with a specially designed ‘Tulip entrance’. Hosting the event would have given us the opportunity to see our dreams and creativity everything come through after several years of preparation and teamwork. We were looking forward to see our Tulip ‘FIG2020’ to bloom.
In 2015 our ‘tulip bulb’ was planted. In that year we started our preparation to host the FIG Working Week in the Netherlands. The national association GIN, Kadaster, ITC faculty of University of Enschede and Geomares joint forces to express their interest to welcome the FIG community to the Netherlands. The General Assembly favoured the proposal from the Netherlands and the journey towards 2020 officially started.

Support from GIN, Kadaster and ITC (University of Twente)

Each year the preparations progressed and started to take shape. The ideas were plentiful, and the team grew with colleagues with different backgrounds and various organisations. GIN, Kadaster and ITC, provided the foundation for the LOC to prepare the event. All three have been FIG members for many years. One of the goals of organising it in the Netherlands was to strengthen our geo-sector internationally. Through GIN, we can talk to the right organisations and people in the Netherlands. Kadaster is presenting the latest innovations in geo-services, which are highly regarded abroad. ITC is part of a Dutch university (Twente), but completely focused on teaching foreign students. Using their expertise, the ITC colleagues take care of building the interactive congress programme and knowledge sessions.  Also Rijkswaterstaat, HAS Den Bosch, Esri, Ministries, VGI, and others supported their staff to help with the preparations.
Smart Surveyors for Land and Water Management.

The Dutch participants at the FIG Working Week 2019. Ready to promote the coming year's FIG Working Week nin Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

By bringing the Working Week to the Netherlands, we wanted to highlight the role of the surveyor in land and water management. A topic close to our history ánd our future. How to build and manage a densely populated coastal country with a land area of which nearly half is below sea level? We have done so for centuries. And it is even more crucial today when we have to protect our country against the impact of climate change causing sea level rise. Therefor the theme ‘Smart Surveyors for Land & Water Management’ was chosen.
This theme is both relevant for the Netherlands and internationally in a world where drinking water is a scarce resource, waste water needs to be recycled rather than seen as waste, where the sea needs to be better mapped and managed, where land resources need to be protected against sea-level rise, and where land-based fresh water habitats are threatened.

The theme was divided into three subthemes allowing dedicated plenary sessions and focused sessions in the technical programme to contribute to the further development of the profession:

Smart Surveyors

Rapid urban growth, smart energy, cleaner mobility, and ‘land rights for all’ are some of the challenges demanding innovative surveying approaches and technologies. Sensing technologies, spatial data processing technologies and related approaches are already available. Use and improve them to become future proof, Smart Surveyors!

Integrated Land and Water management

Without integrated land and water management, the Netherlands as also other coastal countries cannot sustain its agricultural and urban development. Climate change, though, increases the risks of sea and riverine floods and extended drought periods and complicates this management task. Unorthodox measures are called for. Get familiar with these measures and discuss them from your critical surveyor perspective.

Ten years to go to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

The countdown begins, only one decade to go to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all and surveying professionals have a key role to play. How did we, as surveyors, contribute to ending poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests? In addition, what will be our role for the coming 10 years?

A very special gesture from Ghana

The outbreak of the pandemic of COVID-19 forced us to change our plans. Instead of continuing with the preparations we needed to adjust quickly and take our responsibility with FIG to guide this process, including the cancellation, in the best way possible.  Meanwhile the LOC members tried to keep their head up high, trying to focus on the energy it had already sparked in the geo-community in the Netherlands. The plan was to store all plans for any future FIG or national event in the Netherlands.

When we received the generous proposal from Ghana, we could not believe it. We know that their decision to offer us the opportunity to host the FIG Working Week in 2021 was not easy and not taken lightly. Like us, they have dedicated already quite some time to host this event and serious effort has been put in to the preparations and promotion.
In times like these it is extra special to see and feel the connection and support of the FIG family to face the challenges jointly and to come up with unusual solutions, like your generous and heartfelt proposal.

One year to go until our FIG Tulip blooms

We embraced this unexpected opportunity and put everything in motion to explore the options. Together with our partners GIN, Kadaster and ITC, we confirmed our willingness to continue with the preparations. Our LOC members are very pleased that they can continue their efforts and that their ideas & plan can still be carried out.
We will see our Tulip bloom in the spring of 2021, and in memory of its history we will brand this tulip FIG2020+1.
Next week you will get a glimpse of what was in store for you at the FIG Working Week. We hope that, despite the fact that this Working Week cannot take place, you will all be and remain in good health and we hope you will enjoy this front-row seat.