FIG Working Week in Seoul, Korea 6-11 May 2001

Korean hospitality makes FIG Working Week in Seoul a real Conference

Korean cultural programme at the opening ceremony performed by the Sheraton Walker Hill Hotel entertainment group.

President Kim Jaeyoung, Korea Confederation of Surveyors opened the FIG working week in Seoul.

Vice Minister of the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs giving his welcome greetings and inviting FIG to Korea in 2010.

President Robert W. Foster giving his keynote address at the opening ceremony.

Mary Clawson, Congress Director FIG 2002 and Charles Challstrom, Vice President of FIG at the welcome reception.

The plenary session on the visions of surveying attracted full hall of participants like all technical sessions.

The Korean organisers provided interpretation between English and Korean for the plenary sessions and commission 7 sessions. The opening ceremony was also translated into Japanese.

The General Assembly adopted unanimously the new statutes and internal rules for the Federation.

President Robert W. Foster (in the middle) together with Angel Villalba Ortiz (right) and Israel Otero Rosario from CIAPR, Puerto Rico. 

President Angel Villalba Ortiz giving his speech after CIAPR was admitted the membership of FIG.

President Jens Bruun Andersen, DdL and President Robert Foster signed an agreement that guarantees the permanent office in Copenhagen after the first five years. 

The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) organised its 24th General Assembly and technical conference in Seoul, Korea 6-11 May 2001. This event is called FIG annual Working Week turned to be the largest ever FIG annual gathering between the four-yearly congresses. It was also among the most successful both by professional and social indicators thanks to the effective Korean organisers and the famous Korean hospitality. With almost 1,000 participants from over 50 countries and with more than 30 technical sessions and workshops, in which about 150 papers were presented, this year's working week was more like a congress. Similar to all FIG working weeks there was a range of technical tours, during which the participants were able to learn about the Korean cadastre and latest technology. The social programme was flavoured with the Korean food and culture. The technical exhibition with 25 exhibitors gave a good opportunity to see the development on surveying in Korea and in North East Asia.

The conference was organised by the Korea Confederation of Surveyors which was established by Korea Cadastral Survey Corporation (KCSC) and the Korean Association of Surveying and Mapping (KASM) in 1981 and which joined FIG in 1983. This year's meeting was generously sponsored by both KCSC and KASM and the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs. The FIG working week was also part of the Visit Korea Year 2001 campaign.

The opening ceremony with Korean cultural programme attracted about 700 delegates. The opening address was given by President Kim Jaeyoung, Korea Conferderation of Surveyors and the welcome address was given by President Robert W. Foster, FIG.

The technical conference titled "Technology for a New Century" consisted of 29 technical sessions running parallel for three days. The themes of the conference covered all nine technical commissions of FIG. The two plenary sessions focussed on the visions on surveying, including e.g. presentation on the relationship between surveying and politics given by Prof. Holger Magel the incoming President of FIG. The other important input to this session was the presentation on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications. This paper prepared by Prof. Stig Enemark and Dr. Frances Plimmer explained the concept tailored for surveying profession which FIG will launch in 2002. The two remaining papers focussed on topics central for the whole conference, namely Korean experiences, in this session an overview on the visions on the Korean cadastre presented by Lee Myounwoo, Vice President of KCSC, and location based services and personal navigation in mobile information society given by Antti Rainio from Finland.

The second plenary session gave insight views on the broad international co-operation that FIG is having with the United Nations and its agencies and with other international partners. At this conference the partners were represented by Jan Meeuwissen from UNCHS (Habitat), who made a presentation on establishing land administration in post-conflict regions, in this case in East Timor and Willi Zimmermann, Germany/Cambodia, who made his contribution from the perspective of a national aid programme (the German Agency for Technical Co-operation).

The co-operation between FIG and the UN will continue already this autumn when FIG together with the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) and the Institute of Surveyors of Kenya organises an International Conference on Spatial Information for Sustainable Development in Nairobi, Kenya, October 2-5, 2001. FIG will together with the World Bank and PC IDEA further organise an inter regional workshop to determine policies and programs for education, training and professional capacity building in Mexico in September 2002.

In the technical conference there was extremely strong input from the commission on cadastre and land administration, commission on spatial information management and commission on positioning and measurement. Themes included e.g. cadastral systems and sustainable development, legal and technical trends in cadastre including 3D cadastre, spatial information infrastructures, permanent GPS networks and facility management systems. In addition to these technical themes topics like business practices and educational issues were highlighted, especially virtual academy, international surveying curricula and education of valuers.

Further a series of workshops were organised. These focused on several reports and FIG guidelines that will be prepared for the approval of the next General Assembly during the FIG Congress in Washington. E.g. Commission on positioning and measurement organised three workshops on the FIG guidelines for check, maintenance and calibration of survey instruments. Another hot topic was standardisation. The special session on standards in surveying (including ISO standards) was followed by a workshop in which the FIG guide on standardisation was discussed.

It was delightful that both participation and number of papers from the North East Asian countries was higher than ever. Special thanks belong to the Korean presentations that added the local and regional perspective to all themes discussed. Furthermore participation not only from Japan and China but also from other Asian countries like the Mekong region (Cambodia and Vietnam) was most encouraging. The Korean organisers introduced a new concept of regional meetings by organising an Asian night for the participants from Asia. This special meeting attracted almost 40 representatives.

The working week in Seoul was historical for FIG in many ways. At the same time when it was the biggest working week in the FIG history it was a turning point in the governance of the Federation. The General Assembly adopted unanimously on the last day of the conference the new statutes and internal rules for FIG. This means that FIG is now on a way towards a fully democratic organisation. In the future the members of the Council will be elected by the General Assembly so that the first Vice President will be elected by the General Assembly in 2002 and that the new structure is in full operation in 2007. At that time all members of the Council will represent not only different countries but also, hopefully, different continents. This is a big step in the process of changing the FIG to an truly international surveying organisation. The renewal of the governance will continue with the review of the Commission structure. The first draft was discussed during the breakout sessions in Seoul.

The General Assembly further adopted two important reports namely FIG Agenda 21 which is the FIG response to the implementation of Agenda 21 adopted in Rio de Janeiro 1991 and to the Habitat Agenda adopted in Istanbul in 1996. The second report is the FIG Guidelines on Women's Access to Land, which is a part of the FIG contribution to the discussion on promoting the security of tenure. These guidelines prepared by FIG commission on land management highlight the importance of equal access to land for the women as well as gives practical guidelines to those working with land administration projects in developing countries.

The General Assembly further admitted six new member associations to the Federation. These come from Armenia, Finland, Mongolia, Morocco and Puerto Rico. The total number of FIG member associations is 85 representing 72 countries after the meeting in Seoul. To help the member associations from the developing countries the General Assembly decided to change the membership fee structure so that the members from the poorest countries will pay only 50 per cent of the standard membership fee from year 2003. In addition a new affiliate member was admitted from Cambodia and the number of academic members raised to 37 (from 25 countries).

The number of corporate members in FIG has raised quickly during the current US Council. The campaign and new benefits offered to the corporate members have increased the total number already to 17 which is an increase by 7 since the General Assembly in Prague, May 2000.

The General Assembly further endorsed the statutes of the FIG Foundation that was established by transferring the former Education Foundation from Australia to the FIG office in Denmark. The new Board of Directors has already started a fundraising campaign to raise funds to help the developing countries in educational issues.

Next year FIG will meet at the XXII Congress in Washington, DC April 19-26, 2002. The organisers expect even 5,000 participants to this congress because it will be held in conjunction with the national congresses of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) and the Imaging & Geospatial Information Society (ASPRS).

The papers of the FIG working week 2001 and the technical conference are available on the FIG home page: Information about the FIG Congress 2002 can be found at


Thanks to the members of the Local Organising Committee for their great work. 

President Robert W. Foster, Vice President Holger Magel and Congress Director Mary Clawson welcome all surveyors to the XXII  FIG Congress in Washington, April 19-26, 2002.