By Mikael Lilje and Matt Higgins


The FIG Working Week was organised in Sun City in late May/early June. The number of delegates was fairly high but the organisers had hoped for even more. Specifically, participation from Southern Africa was lower than expected. Commission 5 was represented by a large number of people, e.g. Matt Higgins, Mikael Lilje, Vaclav Slaboch, Martin Lang, Naser El-Sheimy and Nicolas Paparoditis. The South African delegate to Commission 5, Richard Wonnacott, played an active role during planning for the Working Week and throughout the technical sessions and business meetings. Such local involvement is crucial to the success of Working Weeks.

This report is a short description on the major events that took place there. For more information on a specific topic, please contact one of the mentioned persons above.


The General Assembly was divided to two different days as usual. There was not much discussion during the plenary sessions. Five new member associations were accepted and no member association was expelled. Three honorary members were accepted; Georgi Milev, Stig Enemark and Jane Woolley.

FIGTree will soon be moved to a new domain ( and there will also be a new email address to FIG ( This is a more direct and simpler domain name and is a gratifying development given that our Steering Committee in Gavle had resolved to press FIG to do exactly that.

There was a lot of information given about the discussions that has taken part between FIG and UN. A round table discussion is planned to take part during the International Conference on Land Tenure and Cadastral Infrastructures for Sustainable Development in Melbourne in October and a work plan between UN and FIG will be signed. This work is being fostered by Ian Williamson who was recently appointed Director of FIG UN Liaison. In an ACCO meeting Ian encouraged all commissions to be involved if possible in Melbourne. Matt Higgins is planning to attend and represent Commission 5.

The Bureau proposed that FIG should terminate its membership within the International Union of Surveying and Mapping (IUSM) and instead seek to enter into bilateral agreements with each of its other members and with ISPRS. Through ACCO, Commission 5 and 6 clearly stated that we would like to be involved in the process when we are discussing with e.g. IAG and ISPRS. Chair of ACCO agreed and would support any such initiative on our part. Whether IUSM is a functional organisation or not has been questioned but actions to be taken within IUSM in the near future will perhaps improve its work. For instance, ISPRS are considering whether to become a member again. The motion by the Bureau was however agreed with the condition that if IUSM was indeed revitalised, FIG should reconsider the situation.

Tom Kennie has been responsible for a task force on the future governance of FIG. After a short presentation of some possible ways to go, General Assembly was divided into four different discussion groups. The outcome was that there seems to be a need to change the governance of FIG but the member associations did not agree on the details of how to do it. One way could be to separate the Bureau from the Congress country to be more regionally focused but other alternatives included focusing Bureau around different linguistic groups. There were also differences in opinion whether it is necessary to organise a General Assembly every year. Some thought that every second year should be enough and to have a more regional meeting every year instead. Tom Kennie was given the mission to work on a more detailed proposal for the FIG Working Week in Prague.

Three bids were received for FIG Working Week 2004. These were Stockholm, Rotterdam and Athens. It was decided by vote at the end of the week that Athens should be responsible for the event.

Calender for the FIG Working Weeks and Congress

2000: 22-27 May, Prague, Czech Republic

2001: 6-11 May, Seoul, South Korea

2002: 21-26 April, Washington D.C., USA

2003: 19-23 May, Eilat, Israel

2004: August, Athens, Greece


Three ACCO meetings were held in Sun City. ACCO stands for the Advisory Committee of Commission Officers. Matt Higgins and Mikael Lilje represented Commission 5 during these meetings. Unfortunately, many more people than the officers were in the meeting room, especially in the second meeting, which did not improve the meeting standard. This also led to a discussion during the week to reduce the people in the meeting room to the minimum in future so that we will be able to have a good and creative atmosphere.

The discussion in the ACCO group was mainly towards the FIG Working Weeks and how these should be organised in the future. Several commissions explained there disappointment that they had had difficulties in finding regional speakers to Sun City and that the local organisers should have help them in greater extent. Somewhat against the trend in other Commissions, Commission 5 was able to get the help of Richard Wonnacott, who is the national delegate. With his help, and also the help of Trevor Harpham, we were able to get several speakers from South Africa. At the other extreme, Commission 9 discovered that the local association for Valuation had their annual meeting the same week but in Durban! All commissions agreed that the local participation at a FIG Working Week must be good as that was the point of organising such regional events. Commission 5, with the support of several other commissions, strongly pointed out three major points that must be determined concerning the Working Week. One concerns the affordability. The event should have an overall cost for a participant that he/she can afford to go there. This is very important for visitors from developing countries. The second point concerned the local contacts. The local organisers must appoint a person per commission in the organising country that can help the commission to find specific speakers from the region. The third point regarded the size of the Working Week. Shall each commission be able to have as many technical sessions as they wish or should the amount of technical sessions be held at a minimum? Some voices where heard that the technical program at a working week should not have any parallel sessions and only joint commission sessions. By this, we should be able to learn more about each other as well as be able to discuss jointly matters instead. Commission specific papers should then be preferred to be held at a separate occasion. This discussion will continue during the autumn and shall be discussed at an ACCO-meeting in Copenhagen in January with a view to making recommendations to the General Assembly in Prague. Other items to be discussed in Copenhagen will be future strategies of FIG and implementing the Bureau work plan for 2000-2003.

GIM Magazine is prepared to support and publish a FIG best paper award. The support could include transfer and registration of the winner to the conference. A question though is how to pick the best paper in an organisation such as FIG.

Markku Villikka expressed his wish that the FIG Office in Copenhagen should be a central place of information within FIG. He urged all commission to think on how the office could help us in the best way, e.g. by sending out messages, keeping records etc. As a start, it was agreed that FIGtree should keep the definitive list on all the National Delegates rather than having that information spread across Commission web sites.


Commission 5 had three meetings during the week. The first meeting was a lunch meeting on the Monday called only to set the agenda for the open Commission meeting in the afternoon and will not be reported on in detail here. The third meeting was a steering committee meeting. We had 12 people at our Open Commission meeting, which was less than we had hoped for. A major problem is that this meeting was held before the Technical Sessions had started and thus only attracted people already in Sun City (e.g. for the General Assembly). Most of the participants arrived the day after. The commission introduced itself by short presentations of the present working group chairs and Matt. Also Yola Georgiadou presented her ideas on how FIG could help developing countries by active participation in workshops. She had experiences from three events like this with the help of Larry Hothem, Stig Enemark and Iain Williamson and she pointed out that such workshops have more credibility if outside participation is unbiased and FIG sponsored involvement is seen as more independent than say specific consultants.


Commission 5 had a very interesting and good technical program. A proof of that was the number of delegates who attended our sessions which ranged from 40 to 80 people. All papers from all Commissions will be presented on the FIG homepage.

Below is a presentation of the Commission 5 sessions and the papers presented in Sun City.

TS7 "Trends in Positioning and Measurement"

Chair: Richard Wonnacott

Paper 1: Václav Slaboch, Present Standardization Issues in Surveying Profession

Paper 2: Nicolas Paparoditis, Trends in digital mapping using aerial techniques

Paper 3: Larry Hothem, Overview on developments in satellite positioning and GPS Modernisation

Paper 4: Naser El-Shiemy, Trends in Georeferencing of Mobile Mapping Data

Wednesday is for Technical Tour (TT1)

Hartebeesthoek remote sensing station and VLBI/GPS site

Positioning in wildlife applications

TS17 "Technological Front Lines and Frontiers" (Joint Session between C5 and C6)

Chair: Michel Mayoud and Mikael Lilje

Paper 1: Michel Mayoud, New Challenges in High Precision Measurements for Large Scale Metrology

Paper 2: Mikael Lilje, Mission And Activities Of Commission 5

Paper 4: Campbell Brooke, Overcoming Problems with GPS

TS19 "Reference Frame in Practice - Position"

Chair: Charles Merry

Paper 0 Charles Merry, Brief Dedication of TS19 and TS20 to the late Herman van Gysen

Paper 1 Matt Higgins, Reference Frames In Practice – Fig Working Group 5.5

Paper 2 Matt Higgins, Combined Space Geodetic

Paper 3 Richard Wonnacott, The Implementation of the Hartebeesthoek94 Coordinate System in South Africa

Paper 4 Yola Georgiadou, Spatial Reference Systems in Argentina

TS20 "Reference Frame in Practice - Heighting"

Chair: Matt Higgins

Paper 1: Martin Lang, Determination of an Orthometric Height Profile in the Okavango Delta Using GPS Levelling

Paper 2: Mikael Lilje, Report On The Fig Commission 5 Seminar On Geodesy & Surveying In The Future: The Importance Of Heights

Paper 3: Gershon Steinberg, The Future of Vertical Networks


Iain Greenway chairs this task force and convened two meetings during the week. Commission 5 steering committee members involved included Vaclav Slaboch and Matt Higgins. Larry Hothem and Yola Georgiadou (both aligned to Commission 5) also attended given there existing involvement in such matters. The major work was to develop the work plan for the task force. Two specific developments are worth mention.

Firstly, there was good progress on creating a guide on standardisation activity for the Bureau, Commissions and Member Organisations. An outline for the chapters of the guide was developed and specific people tasked with responsibility for chapters (Slaboch and

Georgiadou have tasks).

The second significant development was presentation of a report on the FIG Questionnaire on Standards.

Greenway undertook to finalise and release the work plan soon after the Working Week including details of the guide.


The task force had a break out session during one of the General Assembly plenary sessions which Mikael Lilje attended. The discussion concerned how FIG should get younger professionals and students more interested in FIG and how FIG could help them. We discussed things such as having students to help the organisers to have special sessions with technical papers presented by younger people.


More information on these events can always be found on the Commission home page.


Commission 5 is involved through WG-5.1 in the preparation of the "Kurs fur Ingenieursvermessung" to be hold in Munich 13-17th of March, 2000. This is an event that is organised every 4 years. Our contact person is Hansbert Heister.


The dates are 22-26th of May, 2000. Commission 5 will, together with commissions 4 and 6, organise two sessions. A meeting between Commission 4,5 and 6 resulted in a decision that the session called Future Technologies will have 5 papers and the session called Technical Standards and quality will have 3. Commission 5 will be responsible for two papers in the first and one paper in the second.. There will only be joint sessions in Prague. One of the major sponsors of the event is also asking for papers concerning cadastral matters so we should try to have a cadastral view on our technical papers.


Since the technical program in Prague is not what we had hoped for and seems unable to be easily changed, Steering Committee members present in Sun City would propose that Commission 5 concentrate effort on technical sessions in Malta instead. Several other commissions are interested in being involved and a proposal of a program will be done by Mikael Lilje and Jean-Marie Becker. The event will take place on Malta the 18-22 September, 2000.


The 3rd International work shop on Mobile Mapping Technology will take place in Luxor on January 4-6, 2001. Naser El-Sheimy is responsible for the event. It is believed that the seminar will go towards the application side of Mobile Mapping more than the previous two have done.


The dates for this event will be the 6th to the 11th of May and the event will take place in Seoul. The local organisers presented a draft program that they want FIG and its commissions to discuss. The commissions were given to the end of October to think about how many sessions that they need in Seoul. The organisers are hoping for 500 participants from 40 countries and the number of foreigners to be about 250. The theme is decided to be New technology for the century. Commission 5 needs to mobilise any delegates in Asia to play an active role in the development of the Commission’s involvement in Seoul. If we do not presently have sufficient active involvement from the region we need to remedy that quickly.