FIG Foundation - Building a Sustainable Future

Report from Biplov Bhandari

FIG Foundation Young Surveyor Grant Recipient to attend the FIG Working Week 2017 in Helsinki, Finland


“My belief is that we should never stop dreaming, and dreams do come true if we have courage to pursue them, has increased more than ever. I look forward to contributing more back to Nepal utilizing various technologies that I learnt at the FIG Working Week.”

For me personally, FIG Working Week 2017 was the result of desire and continuous effort to attend and present my work to the larger audience. I started writing application for Working Week from 2014 during my undergraduate at Nepal and only got accepted in 2017. To all the applicants, I request you to follow your passion and desire and success will come to you. Don’t get sad if you are not accepted the first time. Remember Rome was not built in a day. If you really want it, it shall come to you.

FIG Working Week 2017 was the biggest conference I have attended till date. So many industry experts, scholars, practitioners and academician to network with, and so limited time, I think I was little overwhelmed. Nevertheless, I was able to meet different personality and get to know about their work more closely.

I attended different sessions during the working week. Working week started with 5th FIG Young Surveyors European Meeting. As the theme of the Working Week 2017 was “Surveying the World of Tomorrow - From Digitalisation to Augmented Reality”, the role of Young Surveyors is very crucial in determining the direction in which the industry should be moving forward, especially given that we are at a unique time in history where we have more information, more computational power to generate knowledge from such information and integrated disciplines.

It was interesting to know opinion of different personality in this regard. The presentation from Liisa Kemppainen on Building Information Model (BIM) for the new Helsinki Airport was a very useful one. The preliminary concept history of BIM dates back to around 1960’s. At times it was quite a challenge to prepare the 2D information of the building using CAD models. There is a major shift in paradigm on how this information are handled. The modern technology enables us to represent both the physical and intrinsic properties of a building as an object-oriented model tied to a relational database. This has changed how surveyors work and think about BIM. I also got an opportunity to present about the lessons that were learnt from Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) implementation in Myanmar, Philippines and Maldives.


I am always fascinated by how we can use technology to bring social impact in the daily lives of people. Keynote speaker Ed Parsons provided a sneak peek into the future of geospatial technology. He emphasized on how the world is moving from global to regional to indoor level because 80% of time we spend indoor. A real time point cloud, a real time classification for indoor mapping. Now you can imagine the computing power here. He provided various insights on how future will not see many cars, but people who will walk, cycle and use public transport. That's very optimistic.

About 1400 participants from more than 90 countries were present at the Working Week to get closer to what the future brings for surveyors. 10 commissions in FIG got more than 400 papers presented in 57 sessions. So, it was quite hard to attend all the sessions that interested me. I learnt about prioritizing the topics according to area of interest and attend them. I was also author of a paper on the CAP project on alerting and warnings for the Government of Myanmar, Maldives and Philippines, where I focused on what technologies we developed to provide information on such a delicate issue and talked about different challenges working with Bureaucratic procedure of the country, and various techniques that were implemented to address some of them.

Also, at FIG Working Week, I got opportunity to take training on UN-Habitat/GLTN STDM tool. Through this training, Eva Maria Unger and team provided me opportunity to contribute back to Nepal through Volunteer Community Surveyor Program (VCSP). GLTN/Kadaster has a STDM project in Nepal for which I was able to volunteer and contribute back my knowledge to the team. That is a great feeling. I also helped in the knowledge transfer and share the coordinate transformation idea of the WGS to local coordinate system in Nepal. This helped me earned co-author in a paper for FIG Working Week 2018 as well.

Besides work, the Working Week was a lot of fun and networking. This was my first time in Europe. The welcome reception was held at the beautiful Helsinki City Hall, which provided taste of local food at Finland. During the Gala Dinner John Hohol and the FIG Foundation team provided me some insights on how simple and welcoming great personalities are. John was kind enough to share some of his experiences with us. Participating in FIG Charity Run / Walk was another proud moment to contribute something back to FIG and OSM community. Luckily, I had some relatives in Finland. I had chance to meet and experience their lifestyle from very close.

In a nutshell, FIG Working Week has become a milestone for my personal and professional development. I am very grateful to FIG Foundation for providing me with the travel grant, for my relatives at Helsinki for making me feel at home. I have, through this Working Week, realized how small the Earth is, and how significant it is to network and collaborate. My belief is that we should never stop dreaming, and dreams do come true if we have courage to pursue them, has increased more than ever. I look forward to contributing more back to Nepal utilizing various technologies that I learnt at the FIG Working Week.

/Biplov Bhandari