Newsletter May 2002


To the National Delegates of Commission 2
To the Academic Members of FIG
To the Corresponding Members

Dear Colleagues

 It is about a month since the Washington Congress and I want to send you the last Newsletter prepared by me. Commission 2 got a new Chair, professor Pedro Cavero who will take care of the Commission for the next four years.

In this Newsletter I will give you a brief overview on the activities in the Commission 2 during my time of office. You will find the complete formal report in the documents of the Washington General Assembly, as well as on the web site of our Commission, but in the following there is a short discussion on the core issues.

Discussion on the activities of Commission 2 during 1998-2002

 FIG Commission on Professional Education has been working primarily on two topics: on  Surveyors Curricula around the world and on the development of Virtual Academy on Surveying. On both of these themes we had active working groups and in this short presentation I want to describe briefly the achievements of them.

In addition to these Commission 2 had also two other working groups: On Management Skills and Professional Competencies that primarily finalized the tasks from the previous period and The Working Group on Surveying Students the goal of which was to attract young surveyors in the work of  FIG and for example to organize possibilities for students to attend FIG congresses and working weeks.

Surveyors Curricula has been an interesting and problematic topic and it took the first two years, also for the working group, to realize how this topic could be approached. Professor Jud Rouch (US) and professor Liu Yanfang (P.R. China) have been working in this WG. Many attempts has been made by several other people (like professor Allan and professor Mattsson) as well as CLGE to generate a model or even a core curriculum of surveyors educational contents. The problem is, however, that surveyors curricula around the world are so different that it is very difficult or even impossible to make a general model of the contents. It is impossible to describe the curricula so that for example university teachers could compare their own curriculum to others or, on the other hand, for example students could find a foreign university where they would like to study for a year. Also all descriptions on curricula contents are outdated when they are printed and published.

In Commission 2 we realized that more and more universities have their curriculum documented on their web site and we found that the only realistic solution also for our problem has to be based on Internet technology. The result of this working group is the proposal and a prototype on a Surveyors Educational Portal (SEP).

The main idea of the Surveyors Educational Portal is the use of an automatic search engine and a graphical user interface and by these tools enable the user to get information on every curriculum that is documented on a web site. This application makes it possible both to describe the curricula content and also to find information based of certain keywords and specific needs. We have developed a prototype on this idea at Helsinki University of Technology, the prototype was demonstrated at Washington Congress and the FIG Council also decided to give some funding for the project. The Project Plan is in the appendix 2.

The Working Group on Virtual Academy has organized a network of universities that are developing Virtual courses in Surveying. Professors Henrik Haggren (FIN) and Esben Munk Sorensen (DK) who were chairing the WG have also organized a seminar last year, in Helsinki University of Technology, Finland. This working group will continue its work also in the future.  These two topics Surveyors Educational Portal and Virtual Academy are very closely connected to each other. Virtual Academy produce contents to surveyors curricula and Portal enables a flexible entry to the courses as well as other materials in Internet.

It has been a tradition in Commission 2 to organize seminars in such countries where FIG has not yet a very strong role or then for some other reason it has been important to bring a FIG Symposium to a specific country.

During the last four years Commission 2 organized seminars in China, in Wuhan Technical University, 1998, as well as in Argentina, Rosario in 2000. The work with Latin American counties has been a special responsibility of the vice Chair of Commission, professor Pedro Cavero. His work in this field will certainly continue during the coming four years.

In general Commission 2 has been active and co-operative. We had joint work with other commissions, especially with Commission1. With Commission 9 we had a joint Working Group on Education of Valuers.  Commission 2 has also participated in the work of the Task Force on Under-represented Groups in Surveying.

Commission 2 organized  altogether 15 technical sessions in during the recent period, altogether 55 oral presentations in different congresses. In the commission meetings we typically had 15-25 participants.  Newsletters were published twice a year. All information was also on our web site but newsletter were still mailed as paper copies for all delegates.


XXII FIG International Congress
Washington, DC USA, April 19 –22, 2002

Marriott Wardman Hotel in Washington.In the following a short report on the activities during the Washington Congress is given.

Commission 2 organized eight technical sessions with 30 technical papers.

TS 2.1 Virtual Academy – Case Studies and Experiences, Monday 2.-3.30 pm
TS 2.2 Virtual Academy And Curricula Contents, Monday 4.-5.30 pm
TS 2.3 Teaching and Learning Methods and CPD, Tuesday 11. am -12.30 pm
TS 2.4 Virtual Academy and New Teaching and Learning Methods, Tuesday 2.-3.30 pm
TS 2.5 Surveying Core Curriculum, Tuesday 4.-5.30 pm
TS 2.6 Changes in Curricula, Thursday 11. am –12.30 pm
TS 2.7 Descriptions of Curricula, Thursday 2.-3.30 pm
TS 2.8 Different Aspects in Planning and Implementing Curricula, Thursday 4.-5.30 pm

In addition to these we had joint sessions with Commission 9 on the topics of Education of Valuers and The Task Force for Underrepresented groups on Gender issues.

In the sessions we had participants from 15 to 46. Papers were presented in a very professional way and they raised a lot of questions and discussion. I want to mention that we also had students in the audience and they also took part in the discussion.

Commission 2 had two Commission meetings with 27 and 16 participants (see minutes in the appendix 1). The work of Working Groups was reported as well as the work plan of the incoming chair was discussed. We also organized a students meeting with 9 participants.

The main topics both in the sessions and meetings were:

  • Virtual Academy
  • Changing role of university teacher and the changing process of learning
  • Surveyors curricula contents and educational models.

We also discussed some actual topics like the relation between research and teaching in universities as well as the university funding systems in different countries.

It seems to bee generally accepted that surveyors curricula are globally too different to be put in one model. However, it is important to be able to compare them. It is necessary to keep curricula up-to-date and that needs continuous interaction between science, practice and education. Collaborative learning seems to be possible by networking and the tool for networking is of course Internet.

In Virtual Academy we should not only concentrate on technical and contextual matters but also the form of teaching, the didactic abilities. Instead of broadening the education the contents should be reduced and more emphasis should be put on the continuous learning ability of the students.    

In the development of Virtual Academies surveying teachers need support. Teachers role is changing but he/she should not became a programmer. The teacher should be a tutor or mentor who guides the learning journey of the student.

Virtual Academy has several forms from global system into a virtual academy of one university. Also the implementations are different. It is very possible the best way of organizing virtual academy has not yet been invented. I hope that Commission 2 will continue on the subject of virtual academy as well as curricula content during the coming period.

Commission 2 also organized a students meeting during the Congress. It is most important to get into contact with young surveyors and especially students. We got very good and fresh ideas in that meeting. It was decided to organize a students meeting during every working week and congress in the future.

Commission 2 recognises the underestimated position of teaching profession in universities. Research has got too strong emphasis in the result evaluation models in university administration. Development of educational materials and courses seem nowadays to give no merits to professors. Commission 2 will work on this issue in the future. The national associations could, for example, be the correct way to report to the universities on the need of qualified teachers and educational courses in the field of surveying.

Commission 2 decided also to continue the development of the Educational Portal. The prototype of the graphical interface and the search engine was demonstrated and the idea was accepted, also some funding was given to the project. The project plan is in the appendix 2. Commission 2 established a project the goal of which is to develop first a test version of the system and finally implement the Educational Portal for general use. This project will be reporting in the next FIG Congress in Munich.


I hope the best success for the Commission 2 as well as for the new Chair professor Pedro Cavero. I want to thank everybody who has been working with me during the last years, the national delegates, all working group chairs and members, the Vice Chair professor Pedro Cavero, the Commission Secretary Mrs. Marjaana Laurema as well as Ms. Arzu Çöltekin who regularily helped with updating the web site. I want to thank everybody contributing to the technical sessions in Congresses, all my colleagues in FIG – especially the colleague Chairs of Commissions, as well as the past Chair of Commission 2 professor Stig Enemark, who always supported me and never left me alone with problems in the work in Commission 2. My special thanks go for FIG Director Markku Villikka, who finally always took care about my work, by calling and emailing, and who always was available for extra information and help!We had many fruitful working sessions, several happy social moments and last but not least – we have a lot of good memories to be saved for the future life!Thank you all!

My warmest regards

Kirsi Virrantaus

Appendix 1

Commision 2 Meeting for National Delegates, Washington XXII Congress

Monday the 22nd of April, 2002, 9.00 – 10.30 Balcony D, Hotel Marriot Wardman


1.Opening the meeting, Kirsi Virrantaus welcomed all participants to the meeting
  • list of participants was made, 27 participants present (see the list of names)
  • the agenda was accepted
2. Technical Sessions of the Congress were discussed
  • sessions and chairs were checked, two more chairs were needed: for TS 2.2 (Monday 4.-5.30) and TS 2.5 (Tuesday 4.-5.30)
    • TS 2.1 Kirsi Virrantaus
    • TS 2.2 - Pedro Cavero was available
    • TS 2.3 Pedro Cavero
    • TS 2.4 Henrik Haggrén
    • TS 2.5 - Khagenda Thapa was available
    • TS 2.6 Jud Rouch
    • TS 2.7 Pedro Cavero
    • TS 2.8 Kirsi Virrantaus
  • speakers were checked, until this 18 speakers were confirmed their presentation
  • practical information was given about AV equipment; Kirsi Virrantaus will bring her computer to every session
3. Minutes of the previous Com 2 meeting in Soul was delivered, no discussion
4. Com2 Report to the 25th General Assembly was delivered, it is also published in the Appendix of GA agenda, no discussion
5. Working Group work was presented
  • WG1 Stig Enemark gave some words about WG1, that will now finish with its work
  •  WG2 Henrik Haggren told about the activities of WG 2;
    • in the Seminar on Virtual Academy in Otaniemi some good applications were presented, some of them are also presented here in Washington,
    • the Report will be given in the Technical Session 2.1
    • the work of the WG on VA will continue its work during the next period
    • Henrik emphasized that pedagogical expertise is needed in developing the applications,
    • in the administration of VAs there are two approaches, closed systems for one university only and open worldwide systems – in these the problems are different;
  • other issues on the VA theme
    • the payment system, either open access or a payment system (David Rogers)
    • how to test/examine students ?
    • knowledge management will be the core in the future (Stig Enemark, Bela Markus)
  • WG3 Jud Rouch and Kirsi Virrantaus reported on activities on Curricula,
    • the Report will be presented TS in 2.2
    • the final result of this WG is the Project Plan of Surveyors Educational Portal, it will be presented to the FIG Council and we hope that some funding will be give to the project; if so then Kirsi Virrantaus will continue with SEP, first piloting and testing and then finalising the application for Munich Congress (the Project Plan was delivered)
    • Arzu Çöltekin told about the prototype of SEP that is prepared by her and presented in Washington Technical Session 2.2 ; because no Internet was available the system could not to be demonstrated as we have planned, however an oral presentation was given, also some questions and a short discussion
  • WG4 Pedro Cavero told some words about activities with students
    • it is difficult for many reasons for attract students to FIG, however we should always try to organize student low price accommodation and low participation fees in the Congresses
    • more information for students on FIG should be delivered, Internet is a good medium
    • during this Congress a Students meeting will be organized
6. Other planned events were introduced

Pedro Cavero gave information on the International Symposium “Education and professionalism in Surveying”, October 3-5, 2002 in Puerto Rico.

7. The Task Force for Underrepresented Groups in Surveying has invited all interested persons to participate the work, the sessions and meetings were mentioned
8. The 2nd Commission meeting during the Washington Congress was informed, it will be

on Wednesday at 9. – 10.30 in the Commission room 8206, Pedro Cavero will chair the meeting

9. The meeting was closed at 10.30.

Kirsi Virrantaus

List on participants:

Henrik Haggrén, Raubie Raubenheimer, Katri Koistinen, Jean-Robert Schneider, David Rogers, Frances Plimmer, Stig Enemark, Ulf Jensen, Ales Cepek, Jean Yves Bourguignon, Arzu Çöltekin, Gert Steinkellner, Jud Rouch, Khagenda Thapa, Kazimier Czaenecki, Pedro J. Cavero, Gary Jeffress, Analia Argerich, Mike Besh, Stefan Willgalis, William Cely, Bertold Witte, Joshua Greenfeld, Bela Markus, Leif Eidenstedt, Josef Weigel, Kirsi Virrantaus

Because of the law on privacy protection the email addresses of persons are not included in this document. The minutes will be published on our web site. If you need to contact somebody, please ask for it Commission 2 officers.

Appendix 2

Project proposal on “The Development of Surveying Educational Portal, SEP”

1. Background of the project plan

FIG Commission 2 has been working on the concept of Educational Data Base for several years and few versions of the EDB has been created. First implemented as a file based workstation version, the most recent EDB is based on Access –database and available in Internet. Several hundreds of surveying curricula are there documented. The main problem with EDB is the management of the updating procedure. It has been the problem since the early versions. In Internet version the updating procedure was delivered to the universities themselves. Universities have passwords and they are expected to keep their data up-to-date. However, the question is about hundreds of universities with changing personnel where the updating procedure is a personal responsibility of nobody. The result is that the updating is performed very poorly. On the other hand a database that is not updated has no value.

As an improvement to this situation Commission 2 has introduced a new distributed approach in managing information on surveying curricula. This approach is based on the web-pages of universities, the development of an automated search engine and a graphical user-interface. A prototype of the Surveying Educational Portal approach has been implemented and the plan for further development has been made.

2. The prototype

The prototype of SEP will be demonstrated at FIG Washington Congress, both in the Commission meeting (Monday the 22nd of April, at 9.00 am in the Balcony D)  and in the Commission 2 Technical Session, presented by Ms. Arzu Çöltekin (TS 2.2, Monday the 22nd of April, at 4 pm). The functionality of the prototype is quite limited but it demonstrates the idea of having a graphical user interface consisting of user defined or ready made model of the structure of the curriculum. The prototype makes searches to web pages of selected academic member universities. The search is based on certain keywords and their morphemes. The result of the search is a graphical description of the contents found and a verbal list of courses/publications etc. in the selected university/all universities including the given keyword. The prototype also gives the possibility of making the user´s own model of curriculum, a user interface has been implemented for input of university identity data, the model of the curricula with major subjects, themes and their morphemes as well as the password.

The prototype has been planned by Ms. Arzu Çöltekin, professor Henrik Haggren and professor Kirsi Virrantaus from Helsinki University of Technology, the practical implementation work was made by Mr. Yevgen Pavlov, Jyväskylä University. The development of the prototype has been financed by The Helsinki University of Technology and FIG Commission 2.

The prototype can now be viewed in order to get the idea of the SEP. However the prototype can not be used for real testing.

3. The project plan

The further development of SEP can be made in the following steps:

  1. Demonstrating of the prototype at FIG Congress in Washington, April 2002
  2. Planning and implementation of the test version, ready before PC meeting 2003
  3. Testing the SEP, between PC 2003 and 2004
  4. Making the plan of the final version
  5. Implementing the final version
  6. Launching the SEP at FIG Congress Munich, 2006.

 3.1 Resources needed

The planning the first prototype has been made by several people and in fragmented time slots, however the pure coding took one working month and HUT invested 1000 €.

The next step, planning and implementing the test version will be more demanding work and will take 3 working months for programming and 2 months for planning. The time required is, of course, dependent on the amount of functionality.

After testing the technical planning and implementing the final version will take 5-8 working months, of course depending on the specified functionality of the SEP.

3.2  Financing plan

Until this Commission 2 and Helsinki University of Technology have been financing the SEP prototyping. The next stage will require some other funds also. The costs of the next step 2 will be 10000 €.

After the testing phase the final version will be implemented and the costs will be 10000€ - 15000€, depending on the functionality of the system.

3.3 Proposal

The proposal of Commission 2 for the development of Surveying Educational Portal is that:

  1. Commission 2 WG 2 takes the leading role in the development of SEP, a Task Force on Surveyors Educational Portal is established under the WG 2 (Virtual Academy) of Com 2.
  2. The Task Force on SEP takes the responsibility of the previous plan.
  3. FIG provides  partially the funding of the development of the test version (stage 2). The rest of the costs will be financed by the funds applied from different sources. The planning work can be mainly made by the Commission and Task Force personnel without extra costs. The required funds are for the programming work, the must be made by an experienced programmer.
  4. The Task Force will apply money for the funding of the final version. The potential sources are for example academic member universities.

The amount applied from FIG for the implementation of the test version is 5000 €.

The rest will be covered by Commission 2, Helsinki University of Technology and other sources.

The main task for the Task Force for SEP will be to find funding for the implementation of the final version. The funding possibilities are international educational organizations, EU etc.

It is most important that FIG funds the development of the test version, because without proper demonstrating of the advantages of  the system it is impossible to get positive feedback. We are sure that when the idea and the technology can be demonstrated we will find enough funding for the final implementation. Because most universities have at the moment projects on Virtual Academy, this topics is actual and universities might realize the advantage of co-operation among surveying within this project. The project does not only make progress in information delivery via Internet but also in more general way supports communication and gives possibilities for curriculum development.

Espoo 15.4.2002

Kirsi Virrantaus, Professor
Chair of FIG Commission 2