FIG Working Week 2016 photo gallery

General Assembly I - Monday 2 May 2016

During the FIG Working Week 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand, the 39th FIG General Assembly was held; the first session on 2 May and second session on 6 May 2016. The delegates filled out the large arena - a much different venue than at previous FIG conference, but this was not a “normal” Working Week due to the fact that the conference centre in Christchurch was destroyed during the large earthquakes in 2011 and 12, and today, a new Conference Centre has not yet been built up. The sports arena made it however out for a useful conference centre.

FIG Vice President Diane Dumashie (left), FIG President Chryssy Potsiou, FIG Director Louise Friis-Hansen and FIG Vice President Rudolf Staiger

At the first General Assembly 50 Member Associations were represented.

FIG President Chryssy Potsiou welcomes FIG members to Christchurch and the 39th General Assembly. FIG Vice President Diane Dumashie (left), FIG Director Louise Friis-Hansen and FIG Vice President Rudolf Staiger following Chryssy Potsiou's report. Read the  President’s Report

Each Commission Chair gave a short report on their Commission activities since the FIG Working Week in Sofia. Read the Commissions reports


Brian Coutts, Chair of Commission 1 making his report to the General Assembly.

Liza Groenendijk, Chair of Commission 2 making her report to the General Assembly.

Enrico Rispoli, Chair of Commission 3 making his report to the General Assembly.

Angela Kesiena Etuonovbe, Chair of Commission 4 making her report to the General Assembly.


See Lian ONG, Chair of Commission 10 making his report to the General Assembly

Diane Dumashie, Chair of Regional Capacity Network, making her report to the General Assembly

Christiaan Lemmen, Director of OICRF making his report on the OICRF activities in 2015

John Hohol, President of FIG Foundation making his report to General Assembly

Welcome Reception

The Welcome Reception was held at the Transitional Cathedral in Christchurch. The Transitional Cathedral was built after the original Christchurch Cathedral was badly damaged in the earthquake in February 2011.  This is the world’s only cathedral made substantially of cardboard and is affectionally known amongst the locals as the ‘Cardboard Cathedral’.

Brent Jones,  Anthony Burns

Jan Lawrence from the NZIS office

Many of the delegates, spouses and exhibitors had found their way to the Transitional Cathedral.

The evening offered a great opportunity to network with fellow peers from around the world.

Warm welcome by Mark Allan, NZIS President

Simon Ironside, Chryssy Potsiou and Mark Allan welcoming all the participants  to the 2016 FIG Working Week

Warm welcome by Chryssy Potsiou, FIG President

Warm welcome by Simon Ironside, Co-Conference Director

Opening Ceremony

At the Opening Ceremony all participants were greeted festively in the traditional Maori way.

Sir Tipene O’Regan welcoming the participants to Christchurch. Sir Tipene O'Regan has been commemorated as one of the Twelve Local Heroes of Christchurch. He spoke over the importance of “Identity, names and places” and explained why it is important for Maoris to identify where a person is from.

Mark Allan, President of New Zealand Institute of Surveyors, NZIS, the local host  welcomed all participants to this Working Week in New Zealand

FIG President Chryssy Potsiou welcomed all participants to this Working Week in New Zealand. Read her opening address

Participants listening to the FIG fanfare at the Opening Ceremony.

The key note speaker of the Working Week was Margareta Wahlstrom who has been the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction until the end of 2015. Margareta Wahlstrom underlined that disaster is a social issue as well as of economic – what are the immediate costs, but also what are the costs in 5-10 years. There is a special focus right after a disaster, but a focus on the longer run is also important. She furthermore challenged the surveyors stating that “we need people to reach out to decisions makers on the work on disasters” and “disasters are a political issue”. Hereto she encouraged surveyors to be more visible, and to promote themselves and the work that surveyors do much more than is the case today.

Plenary sessions

Tuesday 3 May 2016 - The Christchurch story “Christchurch’s response to the 2011 earth quake”

From left Mark Allan, Duncan Gibb, Hon Nicky Wagner, Hon. Lianne Dalziel and Chryssy Potsiou
The first plenary session was dedicated the  “Christchurch Story”. The presenters pointed out that a large amount was paid out in the first week after the earthquakes in order to keep people alive, and that “we should have been better prepared if we had learned from the earlier experience”. One vital focus was to get business up and running as fast as possible so that a “normal” life could be somehow maintained, and to show the inhabitants of the area that “we are here to help you”; e.g. establishing free legal advise. It was furthermore stated that “it is all about people” pointing out that you cannot communicate too much in such a crisis situation and finally that “hope is not a method”.

Hon. Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Christchurch


Hon Nicky Wagner, the Associate Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration


Mr. Duncan Gibb Founding General Manager of SCIRT (Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team)


Hon. Lianne Dalziel (left) and Margareta Wahlström

From left: Warren Haynes, Lianne Dalziel, Chryssy Potsiou, Margareta Wahlström, Nicky Wagner and Duncan Gibb

Wednesday 4 May 2016 - Disaster Management and Recovery framework – The Surveyors response

From left: Mr. Warren Haynes, Dr. Hiroshi Murakami, Mr. Gregory Scott, Mr. Keith Bell and Ms. Diane Dumashie


Dr. Hiroshi Murakami gave the participants another real-life insight in a disaster area. He pointed out that improvements are needed to prepare for future catastrophes, hereunder to have updated maps of areas that can help to compare the situation before and after a disaster.


Dr. Hiroshi Murakami almost did not make it to the Working Week because Japan was hit by earthquakes just three weeks before the Working Week and his help was needed. Luckily he still managed to come

Gregory Scott, leader of the secretariat for the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), presented the global perspective with impressive statistics on disaster loss – both in terms of numbers of affected people (more than 1.5 billion) and in money (more than one trillion dollars). The Post-2015 Development Agenda is actionable, and data about people and place is an indispensable element in this agenda.


Keith Bell, World Bank, stated that 80% loss of people in connection with disasters come from low income countries. The complexity for these countries is much larger than in the developed world. The best situation is of course to prepare for disasters, but after a disaster the key term is “Build Back Better”. The “Build Back Better” concept should be used to rethink an area and not “just” build up what was there before. It is important is to have reliable geospatial data – and the World Bank recommends to get this on a Fit-for-Purpose basis that secures that there will be data although it may not be fully detailed.


Thursday 5 May 2016 - The Public, The Private and the Peoples response for Disaster Management and Recovery in the Surveying Profession - New technologies

From left: Mr. Simon Ironside, Mr. Sam Johnson, Prof. Dr. Jixian Zhang, Mr. Mark Nichols and Prof. Rudolf Staiger


Mr. Mark Nichols, Trimble Navigation, stated that the profession is moving from maps to models. He presented an impressive description of Trimble’s role right after the earthquakes in Christchurch. Surveyors need to keep their current skillsets but enhance them to become spatial data experts, understanding and interpreting a plethora of data from several sources. The challenge is to effectively manage spatial information from everywhere including 1cm accurate data available for everyone. This requires the Surveyor to 1) Deliver the right information to the right people and 2) Manage all the spatial data during the life cycle of a project


Prof. Jixian Zhang gave a very impressive presentation on the use of remote sensing and photogrammetry in disaster response in the Chinese context. The Chinese Government has invested heavily in satellite based remote sensing, photogrammetry, airborne mapping including unmanned platforms/UAVs and mobile mapping system to respond to and mitigate natural disasters in China Photogrammetry and remote sensing play an important part of the National Disaster Action Plan.


The final speaker was Sam Johnson. Sam is a shining example of youth leadership. He was the leader of the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) in the aftermath of the 22 February Christchurch earthquake

Sam gave and inspirational talk on harnessing students/youth in response to disaster situations.  The SVA tapped into a well of good will and enthusiasm to help people. Their work is now part of Christchurch. Sam has now gone on to help people in Nepal and his message is to question processes in a disaster situation. His preferred method is to galvanise volunteers, what he calls utilising the powerful skills of the unskilled. This is, he argues, “perfect in its imperfection”. Sam also challenged FIG and Member Associations to establish a network of young surveyor volunteers to respond to disaster relief - Surveyors without Frontiers  



A well designed exhibition area met the participants at the tea breaks and during lunches. The two platinum sponsors Esri and Trimble were occupying the centre of the large multi arena. The Diamond Partner LINZ together with the other exhibitors filled out the exhibition space which was very crowded during the breaks. Wednesday afternoon the exhibition opened for the public.  Many talks with exhibitors continued after the breaks and many took the opportunity to clear their head in the exhibition area during a session.

Trimble was one of the two international platinum sponsors occupying the central area at the exhibition - there was a continuous flow of visitors to the stand.


The other international platinum sponsor of the Working Week was Esri.  

NZIS, the local host had a well attended booth

The exhibition space which was very crowded during the breaks.

Leica/Hexagon was one of two silver sponsors of the Working Week.

The other silver sponsor was Bentley Geosystems.

FIG Young Surveyors Network had a small booth/meeting place in the exhibition area.

Young surveyors having spontaneous Speed Networking session during the coffee and tea breaks as well as interesting conversations, sharing of ideas and inspirations.

Technical sessions, Special Forums, Workshops and Pre-events

Presidents' meeting


SIDS Workshop

History Symposium

Welcome address by FIG Vice President Rudolf Staiger


Reference Frame in Practice

More photos from the Reference Frame in Practice....  

Technical sessions

The ten FIG Commissions, Young Surveyors, FIG Networks, Permanent insititutions and Task Forces have been heavily involved in the planning of the technical sessions that covered a broad range of themes within surveying, and many with the overall theme “Recovery from Disaster” in mind. The technical sessions were a mixture of presentations and in-depth discussions. There were special sessions on the Voluntary Guidelines organised together with FAO, a special session on Nepal organised jointly by FIG Young Surveyors and UN-Habitat/GTLN on Nepal Building Back Better in order to introduce challenges of building back better initiatives in the post-earthquake situation in Nepal including rehabilitating informal/non-formal settlers and risk hazard-prone settlements, to present current efforts of building back better Nepal and to explore the way forward based on international best practices.Special sessions in cooperation with UN-Habitat/GLTN, a special session elaborating on the pre-conference workshop on SIDS in which a declaration was finalised, and a high level special session on the Fit-for-Purpose approach launching a Fit-for-Purpose guide and many more. See the proceedings for the full list of sessions, papers and presentations.


FIG Foundation Meeting

FIG Foundation meeting - in Trimble Charity run t-shirts: President John Hohol, William Marbel, Trimble, Mike Barry, Liza Groenedjik and Paul van der Molen

Women in Spatial/Surveying Networking Breakfast


Meeting with Chinese Society of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation, Prof.Rudolf Staiger(left), Dr. Qian Wang , Prof. Chryssy Potsiou, Prof. Jixian Zhang, Ms. Louise Friis-Hansen

Prof. Rudolf Staiger(left), Dr.vQian Wang, Prof. Jixian Zhang, Ms. Tian Tian


FIG office Claudia Stormoen and Louise Friis-Hansen together with the delegation from Nepal. A special session on Nepal was organised. The session was jointly by FIG Young Surveyors and UN-Habitat/GTLN on Nepal Building Back Better in order to introduce challenges of building back better initiatives in the post-earthquake situation in Nepal including rehabilitating informal/non-formal settlers and risk hazard-prone settlements, to present current efforts of building back better Nepal and to explore the way forward based on international best practices.


Social Events

Kiwi evening / FIG Foundation Dinner - Tuesday 3 May

The Kiwi Evening which is also a dinner in support of FIG Foundation and supported by Trimble included a traditional Maori performance. At this performance especially the male participants had the possibility to find their inner male soul by shouting out loudly and practise their dancing skills. The relaxed atmosphere – apart from the shouting – gave a good opportunity to mingle and meet.


Maori hello

Gala Dinner - Thursday 5 May 2016

The Gala Dinner was held at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand. The exhibition area was open and the dinner was held in the hangar and the dinner tables were surrounded by all the airplanes. It was a very special experience to sit among the old air planes enjoying a wonderful dinner. A trio entertained with an enormous repertoire, and the dance floor was filled up to the very end.

Wonderful singing and dancing


Gertrude Njar and Mark Allan.

Photo booth  
More photos from the photo booth...  

General Assembly part 2 - Friday 6 May

 Rudolf Staiger,Mikael Lilje,Chryssy Potsiou,Orhan Ercan,Diane Dumashie and Louise Friis-Hansen Diane Dumashie, Mikael Lilje, John Brock, Orhan Ercan, and Rudolf Staiger
New elect vice presidents Mikael Lilje and Orhan Ercan FIG council members in the Working Week, Diane Dumashie, Chryssy Potsiou, Rudolf Staiger
House Keeping
Registration Girls are busy with their work Claudia Stormoen Pedersen at the registration desk
Shuttle bus Mandy Train and regisatration girls at the reception desk
  Maris Bargholz is busy with the registration work

Loc is having a meeting for the preparation of the Working Week Plessant Venue of the General Assembly

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