FIG Commission 1 - Professional Standards and Practice

Work Plan 2015-2018

Original work plan in .pdf-format

Terms of Reference

  • Professional practice, legal aspects and organisational structures;
  • Codes of ethics and applications;
  • Changes to society and ways of working and the corresponding impacts on professional practice;
  • Community perceptions and understanding about the surveying profession;
  • Participation in FIG Standards Network.

Mission Statement

The mission of Commission 1 is to:

  • build the capacity of professionals to adapt to changing circumstances. Changes are affecting the operation of surveying practices, their management and their professional structures under the challenges of widening professional activities and a changing world;
  • create a community of practice to share knowledge about professional standards and practice challenges and responses by surveying professions; build links to regional and world structures for surveying professionals that focus on issues around professional standards and practice;
  • support professional surveyors by providing tools and approaches to dealing with common practice issues;
  • develop individuals as professional surveyors and provide opportunities for them to continue to develop as part of the surveying community.


Commission 1 will continue the work begun in the previous quadrennial period as well as exploring new issues.  In particular, it will continue the work on international boundaries and take up the issue of the standardisation of ethical standards in the international context.  The Commission will further raise the question of gender issues in surveying and investigate whether there is a need and/or demand for a Women in Surveying Network, along similar lines to the Young Surveyors Network.  If it is proved to be so, then similarly, a new Network may be a “spin off” from the Commission. 

In order to ensure a sustained and appropriate balance in the attendance Working Weeks and Congresses at and contributions to the work of the International Federation, a forum will be established where professional surveyors in private practice can discuss matters particular to their roles in the societies to which they provide their professional services.  With the increasing mobility of professional practitioners and the continuing growth of the globalised community, a forum also will be established in which discussion can take place with respect to the mutual recognition of professional qualifications among the international surveying community.  This issue has been a topic previously, but the demands of a changing society suggests that it should be a topic of ongoing discussion.

The Commission will liaise with the Standards Network and the Young Surveyors Network as required in order to continue the work of those groups.

Working groups

Working Group 1.1 - International Ethics Standards

Policy issues

  • To review the current FIG Ethical standards in the light of FIG being a member of the worldwide coalition being formed to develop International Standards in Ethics;
  • To review the definitions of ethics in land, property and construction;
  • To study ethics within the surveying profession and prepare proposals how to respond to the competition to market the profession as ethical for current & future generations;
  • Surveying professionals practice in a variety of work environments increasingly internationally and are required to respond to constant changes ethically in how they deliver services. This creates challenges to them in how they practice and challenges on how to adapt to change. Identifying and sharing;
  • new ethical ways of working from around the world will provide practical examples of ways others have successfully adapted and will build a set of case studies of change.


Gary Strong (UK)

Specific project(s)

  • To consider the current and future role of ethics in surveying;
  • To review and revise the definition of ethics produced by FIG which will underpin and link to the International Standards being developed;
  • Prepare proposals how to respond to the competition to market the profession as ethical for current & future generations;
  • Participation on behalf of FIG as a Coalition member developing International Ethics Standards.


  • Participation in FIG Working Weeks and other major FIG events with dedicated technical sessions and/or workshops as appropriate.


  • International Ethics Standards by coalition – FIG accredited;
  • Revised FIG Ethics.


  • Final report at the FIG Working Week Sofia, Bulgaria 2016/17;
  • Publication of International Ethics Standards 2016/17;
  • Revised FIG Ethics 2018.

Working Group  1.2  - Women in Surveying


The WG plan for 2015 – 2018 is to continue the work of the Working group - Under represented groups in Surveying with a focus on gender issues. The proposal is to setup an international network of women in surveying to further investigate the issues and promote the participation of women in the surveying industry.    Using the power of social networking and Internet communications the WG will endeavour to analyse the status of women in the surveying workforce across the FIG community.  In Australia the SSSI Women in Spatial (WIS) group was created some years ago in an effort to raise the numbers of women in the spatial industry. This number was extremely low and remains low. Statistics have been gathered over the years to monitor the number of women in the Surveying and spatial industry in Australia and New Zealand. As we have heard during recent FIG working weeks presentations and workshops, the situation is similar across the international FIG community. The WG plans to apply the experiences gathered in the Australia and New Zealand studies to the international surveying community.


Robyn McCutcheon and Winnie Shiu

Policy issues

To reference the previous work focusing on women in surveying by the FIG underrepresented groups in surveying.

  • To build an international group focusing on women’s involvement in Surveying;
  • To use social networking to build the WG and create effective communications amongst the group;
  • To gather statistics on an international scale to illustrate women’s involvement in surveying.


  • To publish and present annual reports on the activities and findings of the WG during each FIG WW.

Working Group 1.3 - International Boundary Settlement and Demarcation


Working Group 1.3 will continue the work of Working Group 1.4 in the 2011-14 Work Plan, led by Haim Srebo and Bill Robertson, which led to the comprehensive FIG Publication 59: "International Boundary Making". 

Policy issues

  • To deal with theoretical, methodological, legal aspects and analysis of practical cases in international and national boundaries;
  • To investigate and report on the long-term definition, demarcation, maintenance, recovery & stability of international land and maritime boundaries;
  • To liaise with FIG Commissions 4, 5 and 7 on matters of common interest.

Don Grant


Workshop in a dedicated technical session at the 2016 FIG Working Week in Christchurch, New Zealand.


An FIG publication on the long-term definition, demarcation, maintenance, recovery & stability of international land and maritime boundaries.


Final report at the FIG Congress 2018

Working Group 1.4 - Forum on Engagement of Private Practitioners

Policy Issues

Anecdotally there appears to be a decreasing number of private practitioners engaging with FIG.  The emergence of large user group conferences (ESRI, Hexagon, Trimble, etc.) may affect attendance at FIG Working Weeks and Congresses, by private practitioners in particular, which in turn may make FIG less attractive to sponsors and exhibitors.  FIG needs to attract a broad spectrum of professional surveyors as well as exhibitors and sponsors to be sustainable into the future.

Commission 1, being the Professional Standards and Practice commission, will address the needs of the private practitioner – what are the hot issues, what do they want from FIG, what is missing in FIG from a private practice point of view?


Malcolm McCoy


  • To test the hypothesis by collecting data on conference delegates - government, academic, private;
  • To monitor numbers and percentage numbers over a number of conferences / working weeks – to ascertain if the private sector is under-represented in first world counties rather than emerging nations;
  • To promote an active FIG private sector program attractive to practitioners;
  • To review the mission of Commission 1 to ensure it is relevant to professional surveyors –  particularly in the private sector.


  • To increase private sector involvement and make FIG an important part of professional surveyors life
  • To constantly monitor Commission’s Mission Statement and keep up to date and relevant in an ever changing world.

Working Group 1.5 - Forum on Mutual Recognition

Policy Issues

A Task Force on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications was hosted by the FIG from 1998 – 2002 and resulted in FIG Publication No. 27 Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications. Since then there has been little formal reflection on the progress made, in light of the European Community and other agreements, and there are further developments to be reviewed and supported, such as the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Framework Agreement on Surveying Services. Many barriers to the mutual recognition of surveying professionals remain, and new barriers are emerging.

This WG has the particular aim to review and revise the existing FIG Publication. Additional activities will include a review of the existing mutual recognition frameworks and agreements in place and the updating and promotion of the FIG Mutual Recognition webpage.  


Kate Fairlie


  • Workshop to coincide with the 2016 Working Week in Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Update to FIG Mutual Recognition webpage


The former FIG Task Force on Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications published FIG Publication No. 27 Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications in 2002. This Working Group will look to revise and update this publication for 2018 with particular reference to new developments, new needs and current barriers to implementation.