About FIG

International Federation of Surveyors

Who are surveyors?

A surveyor is a professional person with the academic qualifications and technical expertise to conduct one, or more, of the following activities;

  • to determine, measure and represent land, three-dimensional objects, point-fields and trajectories;
  • to assemble and interpret land and geographically related information,
  • to use that information for the planning and efficient administration of the land, the sea and any structures thereon; and,
  • to conduct research into the above practices and to develop them.

What is FIG?

FIG was founded in 1878 in Paris. It is a federation of national associations and is the only international body that represents all surveying disciplines. It is a UN-recognised non-government organisation (NGO) and its aim is to ensure that the disciplines of surveying and all who practise them meet the needs of the markets and communities that they serve. It realises its aim by promoting the practice of the profession and encouraging the development of professional standards.

FIG’s activities are governed by a plan of work which is regularly reviewed against a longer-term strategic plan. The current plan of work focuses on the surveyor’s response to social, economic, technological and environmental change and the particular needs of countries in economic transition. FIG also recognises that markets for surveyors’ services are constantly changing. The plan accordingly lays emphasis on strengthening professional institutions; promoting professional development; and encouraging surveyors to acquire new skills and techniques so that they may be properly equipped to meet the needs of society and the environment.

Who are the members of FIG?

More than 110 countries are represented in FIG by

  • member associations – national associations representing one or more of the disciplines of surveying;

  • affiliates – groups of surveyors or surveying organisations undertaking professional activities but not fulfilling the criteria for member associations;

  • corporate members – organisations, institutions or agencies which provide commercial services related to the profession of surveyor;

  • academic members – organisations, institutions or agencies which promote education or research in one or more of the disciplines of surveying.

An individual may be appointed as a correspondent in a country where no association or group of surveyors exist that is eligble to join FIG as a member association or affiliate.

How does FIG operate?

FIG’s technical work is led by ten commissions with the following terms of reference:

Ethical principles and codes of professional conduct; guidelines relating to the provision of services; standards of business practice and total quality management; changes affecting the operation of surveying practices, their management and their professional structures; international legislation affecting the profession including the liberalisation of trade in services; the role of surveyors in the public service.

Education and teaching methods; continuing professional development and training; the interaction between education, research and practice; encouragement of the exchange of students and personnel between countries.

Management of land, property and hydrographic information and the related processes, procedures and resources; spatial data infrastructure– data models, standards, availability and legal aspects, management of spatial knowledge; the impacts on organisational structures, business models, professional practice and administration; management of spatial information supporting sustainable development.

The marine environment; hydrographic surveying; data processing and management; nautical charts and bathymetric maps – analogue, digital and electronic; other associated tasks.

The science of measurement; the acquisition of accurate, precise and reliable survey data related to the position, size and shape of natural and artificial features of the earth and its environment.

Acquisition, processing and management of topographic and related information throughout the life cycle of a project; setting out methods in engineering projects; validation and quality control for civil construction and manufacturing; deformation monitoring, analysis and interpretation; prediction of deformation in engineering projects, mines and areas of geological hazard.

Land management and administration; cadastral reform and multi-purpose cadastres; parcel-based land information systems and computerisation of cadastral records; cadastral surveying and mapping; land titling, land tenure, land law and land registration; urban and rural land consolidation; national and international boundaries; land and marine resource management.

Regional and local structure planning; urban and rural land use planning; planning policies and environmental improvement; urban development and implementation; public-private partnerships; informal settlements and urbanisation in developing countries; environmental impact assessment.

  • Commission 9 – Valuation and the Management of Real Estate

Valuation – the estimating of value of real estate by valuers and appraisers for various purposes including market value, property taxation, eminent domain, claims of damage or impact on value by some cause or event, and acquisitions for public use or public policy; investment market value and investment planning; development finance, land use feasibility planning; management of property, as a single asset or by management companies; management of property systems to ensure efficient use of public and private resources; management of public sector property.

Construction technology and information technology; construction economics and measurement; construction management and environmental management; construction law and contract administration.

Commission activity

The commissions prepare and conduct the programme for FIG’s international congresses, held every four years, and annual working weeks, held in the intervening years.

Congresses attract several thousand participants from all over the world and are the most important events in the FIG calendar. The technical programme, which marks the culmination of each commission’s four-year programme of work, is complemented by a major international exhibition.

Working weeks combine meetings of FIG’s administrative bodies with technical conferences organised by the commissions and the host member associations and as such provide the opportunity for commissions to implement and develop their work programmes and for FIG to network at a more regional level.

To increase regional activities FIG organises regional conferences on bi-annual basis.

In addition to their involvement with FIG congresses and working weeks, commissions and their working groups organise or co-sponsor a wide range of seminars and workshops, usually in collaboration with member associations or other international professional bodies.

Member associations, affiliates, corporate members and academic members are all entitled to appoint delegates to the commissions; and commission chairs often co-opt additional experts to assist with particular aspects of their work programmes.

How is FIG administered?

By its General Assembly – delegates of the member associations and, as non-voting members, the Council, commission chairs and representatives of affiliates, corporate members and academic members – which meets annually during the FIG working week or the FIG congress. The General Assembly debates and approves policies. Polices are implemented by the Council which meets several times a year.

The Council is elected by the General Assembly. The Council consist of the President (elected for four year term of office) and four Vice Presidents (term of office is also four years) so that two Vice Presidents are elected every second year. All Council members represent different countries. In addition commission chairs appoint their representative to the Council.

The work of the General Assembly and the Council is assisted by an Advisory Committee of Commission Officers (ACCO); ad hoc task forces appointed from time to time to review existing work plans and develop new strategies; and two permanent institutions: the Office International de Cadastre et du Régime Foncier (OICRF) and the International Institution for the History of Surveying and Measurement. The FIG Foundation is an independent body under the Federation giving grants and scholarships to support education and capacity building especially in developing countries.

The day-to-day management of FIG is undertaken by the permanent office. The FIG Office is located at:

International Federation of Surveyors
Kalvebod Brygge 31-33
DK-1780 Copenhagen V

Tel. + 45 3886 1081
Fax + 45 3886 0252
E-mail: FIG@FIG.net

How does FIG communicate?

  • Through the FIG home page ( http://www.FIG.net ) which includes e.g.
    • the work plan of the Council and the commissions
    • contact details of Council members, member associations, affiliates, corporate members, academic members, commission officers and commission delegates
    • forthcoming events
    • FIG publications and conference reports.
  • The FIG annual review – an overview of major activities and achievements and the main medium of external communication.
  • The FIG e-Newsletter – a monthly newsletter and the main medium of internal communication (available on the FIG home page).
  • The FIG publications series – formal policy statements and ethical, educational and technical guidelines (also available on the FIG home page).
  • Proceedings of FIG congresses and of selected technical seminars sponsored or co-sponsored by FIG’s commissions and member associations (also available on the FIG home page).
  • Commission newsletters – for the dissemination of information specifically concerned with the work of individual commissions (also available on individual commission home pages).

How is FIG financed?

Operating costs are largely financed by members’ annual membership fees. Rates of membership fees payable by member associations are approved annually by the General Assembly. The Council sets rates of membership fees payable by affiliates, corporate members and academic members.

Other activities, including congresses, technical seminars and administrative meetings, are mostly self-financing. In the case of meetings income is raised from registration fees which may be supplemented by income from an accompanying technical exhibition, by subventions from the host government or association, or by grants from aid agencies.

With whom does FIG co-operate internationally?

  • With UN agencies, notably the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UN OOSA). Joint workshops and other collaborative projects help to identify and develop practical solutions to problems associated with the ownership and management of land.
  • With international professional organisations in surveying disciplines like the International Association of Geodesy (IAG), the International Cartographic Association (ICA), the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), the International Society for Mine Surveying (ISM) and the International Federation of Hydrographic Societies (IFHS).
  • With international professional organisations whose activities complement those of surveyors. These include the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), the International Council for Building Research Studies and Documentation (CIB), the International Cost Engineering Council (ICEC) and the International Federation of Housing and Planning (IFHP).

FIG is an international scientific associate of the International Council for Science (ICSU). FIG is also a founding member of the Habitat Professionals Forum and a member of the Joint Board of Spatial Information Societies. FIG is also hosting the permanent addresses of the Habitat Professionals Forum and the Joint Board of the Geospatial Information Societies.

International Federation of Surveyors
Kalvebod Brygge 31-33
DK-1780 Copenhagen V

Tel. + 45 3886 1081
Fax + 45 3886 0252
E-mail: FIG@FIG.net