FIG Commission 6 - Engineering Surveys

Working Group 6.1
Deformation Monitoring and Analysis 

Policy Issues

Deformation studies in Engineering Surveying are based on a broad knowledge of suitable sensors and their potential, modern data storage and communication solutions and advanced processing and analysis methods. Additionally, a thorough understanding of the behaviour of monitoring objects and processes (e.g., large scale structure or landslide effected area), is essential to set-up and operate an optimum monitoring system.

Nowadays deformation tasks are more and more oriented towards real-time, multi-sensor systems, which require automation of data capture and new concepts in data processing, analysis and interpretation.

WG6.1’s main goals will be to support specialists in deformation studies with state-of-the art solutions and provide latest developments and future oriented concepts:

  • Promoting studies on the potential of existing and new sensors to determine geometric deformation quantities from surveying and adjacent fields;
  • Promoting the development of concepts for automated data storage, data transfer and data pre-processing;
  • Promoting the adaptation of numerical algorithms to derive relevant deformation quantities in real-time, including concepts from time series analysis;
  • Promoting a multidisciplinary collaboration between surveying, structural and geotechnical engineers to understand the behaviour of structures and geotechnical objects;
  • Study of most modern concepts for data analysis like artificial neural networks, fuzzy logics and generic algorithms;
  • Investigate and adopt as required modern analysis techniques (Big Data, IoT, etc.) to cope with large volume data arising from large number of low-cost sensors;
  • Study the issues and investigate the challenges arising for using Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs) for deformation monitoring;
  • Initiate investigations to extend the range of deformation studies to higher frequencies, which are important in Structural Health Monitoring, i.e. to be able to study oscillations and vibrations and their effects on critical structures;


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Niemeier, Germany

Prof. Dr. Vassilis Gikas, Greece


In 2011 a new series of symposia was created, named: Joint International Symposium on Deformation Monitoring (JISDM) These symposia are a joined initiative of FIG (leadership), IAG and ISPRS. The objective is to bring together specialists from different fields within the geodesy, photogrammetry and surveying communities, which have interest in the here mentioned fields of deformation monitoring.

Up to now these symposia are held in Hong Kong (2011), Nottingham (2013), Vienna (2016). The next JISDM will be held in Athens in May 2019. Responsible organiser for this event is Prof. Vassilis Gikas, the vice-chair of WG 6.1.


What we are working on -

What's New

The Working Group organized the 4th Joint International Symposium on Deformation Monitoring (JISDM). This was held in Athens, Greece, from the 15th to the 17th of May. With more than 200 participants coming from all continents, this symposium can be considered to be a real success.

The joint symposium was organized by the School of Rural and Surveying Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens and was supported by FIG , IAG and ISPRS. The president of the local organizing committee was Vassilis Gikas, the co-chair of the WG6.1.

The three keynote speakers - Carmelo Gentile, Charalampos (Haris) Kontoes and Dorota A. GrejnerBrzezinska - introduced the latest tendencies in the field of deformation monitoring and shared their vision on the evolution of technologies and methods for monitoring both natural phenomena and man-made structures.

A total of 132 presentations (95 oral and 37 poster) covered several topics that included:

  • quality control, quality assurance and optimization techniques in deformation analysis; i
  • point cloud-based space-temporal deformations;
  • reference frames and geodynamics;
  • cultural heritage/ bridge / dam / geohazards monitoring;
  • multi-sensor systems and new concepts for deformation measurements; vi) UAV for change detection and deformation monitoring.

Special issues of the Journal of Applied Geodesy (De Gruyter), of the Journal of Applied Geomatics (Springer) and of the Journal Sensors (MDPI), that will include an extension of selected articles presented at the symposium, are in progress.

In the closing session the chair of the WG6.1, Wolfgang Niemeier, made a short report of the event and announced that the next JISDM, the 5th, will take place in Valencia, Spain, in 2022.

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