FIG Working Week 2012 - Knowing to manage the territory, protect the environment, evaluate the cultural heritage

Biggest FIG Working Week with lot of professional and social highlights strengthens international co-operation and FIG's role

Rome, Italy, 6-10 May 2012

Click picture for bigger format.
Orchestra Roma Sinfonietta playing the FIG fanfare at the opening ceremony at the Parco della Musica.

The FIG Working Week Knowing to manage the territory, protect the environment, evaluate the cultural heritage and the XXXV General Assembly was held in Rome, Italy from 6 to 10 May 2012. The Working Week programme included also the meeting for the Presidents and members of the CNGeGL Provinces. Consiglio Nazionale Geometri e Geometri Laureati, CNGeGL, was at the same time the local host of this year's Working Week. The main partner of the Working Week was FAO including a full day workshop jointly organised by FIG and FAO and a visit to FAO headquarters. A full day programme was also organised together with the Global Land Tool Network, GLTN, in co-operation with UN-HABITAT and GLTN professional partners and introducing grass root organisations. CNGeGL organised a well received invited session on Professional Women in Surveying. To the Working Week were attached some special events: the 1st FIG Young Surveyors Conference; IAG/FIG Commission 5/ICG Workshop and History Workshop organised by the International Institution for History of Surveying and Measurement.

The FIG Working Week 2012 turned out to be the biggest FIG Working Week ever if counted by number of participants. More than 1,500 participants from 96 countries attended. The technical programme comprised of more than 100 technical sessions, workshops and special forums. Total number of presented papers was almost 500. In total 750 abstracts were submitted to the conference. The Working Week was held at the first class venue Rome Cavalieri hotel offering both excellent facilities and outstanding view over the eternal city.

The social events starting from the opening concert to the FIG Foundation Dinner and concert and the conference dinner at Villa Miani surpassed any former event.

Click picture for bigger format.
Geom. Fausto Savoldi, President of CNGeGL, making his welcome address at the opening ceremony.

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony and the following concert were held at the cultural centre of Rome Parco della Musica. This cultural complex includes three auditoriums, museums, restaurants etc. and is designed by architect Renzo Piano. FIG filled in the Giuseppe Sinopoli Hall where more than 1,100 participants listened to the opening speeches and the concert. At the opening in addition to presentations from FIG and CNGeGL Presidents welcome greetings were brought by the representatives of the Italian government and by the Mayor of Rome.

President CheeHai Teo in his opening address stated that the "Profession is now firmly in the continuum paradigm. We embraced the Continuum of Land Rights, we know we must adopt a continuum of approaches, a continuum of technologies and technological sophistication, a continuum of accuracies. We understand that we have to progress beyond securing tenure rights for all into land valuation and taxation, land development and construction and the land market." He also stressed that "We need to move into the next Paradigm where we are inclusive and innovative, where we will be required to embrace Open Standards; Interoperability (of systems, institutional and legislation); culture of collaboration and sharing; avoidance of duplication; incorporation of volunteered information; developing enabling platforms and delivering knowledge from information and data from different scales, purposes and origins."

He also stated the importance of "global initiatives on managing all information spatially, on voluntary guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forest, on spatially enabling governments and societies, towards greater transparency and good governance, towards whole-of-government effectiveness and efficiencies in citizen-centric delivery systems, the usefulness of surveying (its science, is technologies, its practices) in addressing the developmental and economical challenges of the times is recognized." This was especially timely when the Voluntary Guidelines were adopted in Rome by FAO the day after the Working Week was closed .

The opening ceremony included a concert performed the Orchestra Roma Sinfonietta  conducted by Massimiliano Carlini. The concert consisted of music from Astor Piazzolla and Nino Rota. The orchestra played also the national anthem and the FIG fanfare arranged for the sinfoniett. The well received concert was followed by a buffet dinner allowing people to mingle at the start of the conference.

Click picture for bigger format.
President CheeHai Teo making his opening address at the Opening Ceremony - Orchestra Roma Sinfonietta on the back preparing for FIG fanfare.

Click picture for bigger format.
Welcome reception buffet dinner at the foyer of Parco della Musica.

Plenary Sessions

The Working Week included three plenary sessions addressing the three different aspect of the conference theme on bridging cultural gaps: Knowledge to Manage; Knowledge to Protect; and Knowledge to Evaluate.

In the first session "Knowledge to manage" included presentations from Maurizio Gasparri, past Minister of Communications and Head of PDL political party, Senate of the Italian Parliament. The professional input from Italy was provided by Franco Maggio, Director, Agenzia del Territorio who spoke about the Italian Cadastre and the Real Estate Taxation. The third speaker was given by Prof. Orhan Altan, President  of ISPRS, who also represented the FIG sister organisations. He spoke about the Use of Geospatial Information at Present Day Disaster Management. This was also one of the main sub-themes of the conference programme including as special session about the recent earthquake in Japan and experiences from New Zealand, Italy and Turkey. 

The second plenary session "Knowledge to Protect" included a presentation from the main partner FAO. Alexander Mueller, Assistant Director General, Natural Resources Management and Environment Department, FAO spoke about the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. These guidelines were adopted by FAO immediately after the FIG Working Week 11 May 2012. Mr. Mueller thanked FIG for its contribution in preparing the guidelines - one regional consultation was incorporated to FIG conference in Vietnam - and challenged all professionals in the implementation process of the guidelines.

The other speakers at the second plenary were Norbert Lantschner, Past Director, Clima Haus who discussed the New Goal of Building Sustainable and Dr. Karl-Friedrich Thöne, President of DVW addressing the surveyors in his speech Meeting the Environmental Issues – A Challenge for Surveyors and Surveying Associations. He also started the series in which the presidents of major FIG member associations will be given platform to address the international audience.

The last plenary "Knowledge to Evaluate" included presentation from Mario Resca, General Manager, Evaluation of the Cultural Heritage who in his presentation Enhancement of Cultural Heritage through the Public Awareness spoke about projects to increase visitors and awareness of Italian cultural museums. Fabio Remondino from FBK, Italy made an excellent presentation on using technology in 3D Surveying and Modelling Technologies for the Digital Preservation of Cultural Heritage. The last speaker was President of RICS See Lian Ong (2011-2012) bringing an insight to BIM in his presentation Preserving the Built Environment: Importance of Building Information Modeling.

Click picture for bigger format.
Alexander Mueller. Assistant Director General of FAO making his keynote presentation on the newly approved voluntary guidelines.
Click picture for bigger format.
Prof. Karl-Friedrich Thöne, President of DVW started the presentations of member associations at the plenary sessions challenging the FIG members to implement the environmental agenda.
Technical programme

The technical programme included more than 100 technical sessions, forums and workshop. At the maximum there were 12 parallel sessions and during the three conference days there were nine slots for presentations. The technical sessions included normal papers, shorter flash presentations mainly on case studies and about 40 peer reviewed papers that passed the double blind peer review process.

The technical programme covered all FIG ten technical commissions. In addition there were sessions organised by three task forces: FIG Africa Task Force; Property and Housing; and Surveyors and the Climate Change. In addition there were special sessions on preserving cultural heritage, history of surveying and sessions for the FIG Young Surveyors Network. A special session was dedicated to the recent earthquake in Japan. Following the good feedback from Morocco a joint FIG/GIM Forum on Future of Land Administration was organised for those interested in future trends in land administration.

There were two special programmes within the Working Week programme. Monday was dedicated to co-operation with FAO. The programme included three sessions Implementing Land and Property Taxes (with Commission 9); Partnerships to Implement the FAO Voluntary Guidelines (with Council and Commission 7) and Academic Institutions and Opportunities to Implement the FAO Voluntary Guidelines (with Commission 2). The focus was in the FAO Voluntary Guidelines that now move to implementation phase. The programme continued on Tuesday with the keynote presentation given by Alexander Mueller and in the afternoon with a two session programme (technical visit) at the FAO headquarters.

The second special block on Tuesday was organised together with the Global Land Tool Network and UN-Habitat. The first session Role of Grassroots Organizations in Addressing Land Administration Challenges was organised in co-operation with grass root organisations including Slum Dwellers International  and Huairou Commission as well as International Land Coalition. The second session Achieving the GLTN Agenda and the Role of Land Professionals focussed on the GLTN agenda with keynote presentations by Clarissa Augustinus and Stig Enemark. The third session was on Land Tools: Emerging Innovations and Solutions. The last session was a  dialogue between Land Professionals Cluster and GLTN.

The special forums for Director Generals of national mapping and cadastre organisations and for FIG academic members and corporate members are already a standard part of the programme.

The plenary sessions were well attended and at each session there were 350-600 participants listening. There was simultaneous interpretation between English and Italian provided in the plenary sessions and at two technical session rooms which made it easier for the Italian participants to follow the presentations and discussion.

A set of technical visits were offered to allow participants to visit local surveying and other institutions. all these tours were fully booked.

All papers are available in the conference proceedings. Out of the almost 750 offered papers 500 were accepted to the programme.

Click picture for bigger format.
Special attention in the technical programme was given to the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure - here the session chaired by Babette Wehrman, FAO.
The other remarkable feature was the attendance of young surveyors - here the youngest participant at a a technical session.

Click picture for bigger format.

The three platinum sponsors of Working Week 2012 were Esri and Trimble that have been the major conference partners all all FIG conferences in the current period. The third platinum sponsor was CNGeGL that largely sponsored the opening ceremony and dinners as well as accommodation at the conference hotel. Esri and Trimble were also the main sponsors of the FIG Young Surveyors Conference and the IAG/FIG Commission 5/ICG Seminar that were also sponsored by Cassa Geometri and CNGeGL.

At the exhibition in FIG 2012 there were 20 exhibitors occupying 25 booths available. The exhibition filler the foyer area outside the technical session rooms allowing excellent flow of clients to the show over the three days that the exhibition continued. An interesting part of the exhibition was the display of the old instruments from the Cavaliere family - also described in a special book.

A set of technical visits were offered to allow participants to visit local surveying and other institutions. all these tours were fully booked.

Click picture for bigger format.
Exhibition was well attended - the big hit was Stig Enemark signing his book at the Esri booth, that was one of the two platinum sponsors of the Working Week.
Click picture for bigger format.
The second international Platinum sponsor was Trimble that also sponsored the FIG Foundation Dinner and together with Esri the Young Surveyors Conference.
Social events

The welcome reception was this time organised as part of the opening ceremony at Parco della Musica. The concert performed by Orchestra Roma Sinfonietta was followed by the dinner buffet at the foyers of the Giuseppe Sinopoli Hall.

The FIG Foundation Dinner at the Rome Cavalieri hotel was a grand dinner with two music groups. During the dinner the participants were entertained by Bandiera Gialla (Yellow Flag) that played Italian favourites from 1960s and 70s with great success inviting some participants to join the karaoke. The highlight of the evening was the concert by Albano Carrisi and his band. Al Bano performed both his own hits and international standards ending to a duet with Maria Scicolone.

The conference dinner was held at the Villa Miani a venue offering a panorama view over St. Peter's and Rome. The festive dinner concluded with a surprise - fireworks. A splendid way to conclude the week.

The additional events included traditional Commission dinners. The week ended with the farewell reception at the hotel being at the same time welcome reception for FIG 2013. The reception was hosted by the Nigerian delegation that will also be the host of FIG Working Week 2013 in Abuja 6-10 May 2013.

Click picture for bigger format.
The FIG Foundation Dinner was attended by more than 500 participants who were able to listen to Al Bano and his band,
Bandiera Gialla and more improvised presentations from the CNGeGL team.
Click picture for bigger format.
The conference dinner at Villa Miani offered an outstanding view over St. Peter's and excellent dinner in sophisticated environment.

The General Assembly and its decisions are described in a separate report.

The Working Week ended with a closing ceremony after the second General Assembly. In his summary presentation President Teo concluded that "there is no doubt that surveyors are critical to the future society of both developed and developing world".

At the closing ceremony President Teo acknowledged for the successful Working Week the local organising committee, especially President Fausto Savoldi, Chair of the LOC, Congress Director Enrico Rispoli, Secretary General of CNGeGL and Maria Scorza, Conference Coordinator of FIG 2012 who carried out a big part of the logistics with FIG. Special thanks were also recorded to the CNGeGL office, the group of Italian young professionals and the local management that all made the conference memorable.

The next FIG Working Week will be the FIG Working Week 2013 in Abuja, Nigeria, 6-10 May 2013 and the 8th FIG Regional Conference already 26-29 November 2012 in Montevideo, Uruguay.

More to Read:

Links to documents and reports of the FIG Working Week 2012 and the XXXV General Assembly in Rome, Italy:

Hit Counter