FIG Commission 4

FIG Report of Visit to Dynamic Planet 2005

Cairns, Australia, 22-26 August 2005

Gethin Roberts and Ruth Adams attended this conference in Cairns, Australia in August. This event was a joint assembly of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG), the International Association for Physical Sciences of the Oceans (IAPSO) and the International Association for Biological Oceanography (IABO).

Gethin chaired the session “Systems and methods for airborne mapping, geophysics and hazards and disaster monitoring” and presented a paper entitled “The use of GPS for Disaster Monitoring of Suspension Bridges”. His paper outlined the work carried out to date by the University of Nottingham, with particular focus on 4 bridges: the Nottingham Wilford Suspension Bridge, the Humber Bridge, the Forth Road Bridge and the London Millennium Bridge.

As a co-chair of an FIG working group on vertical reference frames (WG4.2), Ruth was keen to attend to network with as many eminent geodesists/tidal experts as she could. Ruth and Gethin sat in on a good number of papers but the main events were out-of-session at the end of the day.

Joint IAG/FIG Meetings

On Monday 22 Aug there were two meetings in the evening

  1. a joint IAG/FIG discussion on dynamic datums and
  2. the IAG/ICP (joint commission project 1.2) on vertical reference frames.

This IAG/ICP newly formed group is of particular interest to FIG and Ruth will keep in contact with them particularly with respect to FIG WG 4.2.

On Tuesday, there were two meetings following the main conference presentations.
A joint IAG/FIG meeting was arranged on vertical datums for hydrography. Ruth presented at this meeting and discussion followed. Ruth has presented on this topic at previous FIG conferences to hydrographic surveyors and it was somewhat different to present vertical reference frames for use in hydrography to a geodetic audience. As feedback she received ‘the other side of the story’ which she very much appreciated. The geodesists were most supportive of her ‘mission’ and she received some good contacts with which to take this forward.

The second meeting was a jointly held between the IAG and FIG which involved discussion on their MOU. This meeting consisted of numerous FIG and IAG representatives, including Gethin and Ruth.

Non Conference Activity

Australasian Hydrographic Society – East Australia Region

Whilst in Australia Ruth managed to coincide with the quarterly Australasian Hydrographic Society meeting which happened to be held in Sydney the week she was there. She sat in on their meeting joining in the discussions and listening to views.
Australian Navy

Ruth also met up with some ex RN colleagues and had a tour of the surveying capability of the RAN at their Naval Base in Cairns.


In all it was a successful conference. We both appreciated the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the geodetic/oceanographic world and will be able to move forward with FIG work in the light of this.


Gethin ROBERTS BEng, PhD
The University of Nottingham

25 Sept 05