FIG Commission 1 - Professional Standards and Practice

Work Plan 2023-2026

PDF: Original work plan in .pdf-format
VIDEO: Chair of the commission Tim Burch takes you through the work plan

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, in particular on gender issues;

Mission Statement

The mission of Commission 1 is to:

  • Establish a set of ethics principals that fits the surveying profession
  • 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 carried forward from the last term on international boundaries, implement the International Ethics Standards in the international context and to set up Women in Surveying as a standalone Network.

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

Working Groups

Working Group 1.1 – International Ethics Standards


This Working Group was formed in 2015, subsequent updates of the progress of the work had been reported at the FIG Working Weeks / Congress since 2016. A publication of International Ethics Standards (IES) by International Ethics Standards Coalition (IESC), which was established in the United Nations in 2014, was published in Dec 2016. More than 120 professional institutes, including FIG, have joined the IESC as members.

Policy issues

  •  To study ethics within the surveying profession and prepare proposals how to respond to the competition to market the profession as ethical for current and 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; and
  • 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.

Specific Project(s):

  • Establish new Chair for WG
  • To promote the current and future role of ethics in surveying
  • To develop implement action plan for the International Ethics Standards (IES) published by the International Ethics Standards Coalition (IESC) in Dec 2016, and to review the results after the implementation by individual member associations
  • To participate on behalf of FIG as a member of the IESC and to gather results and identify the best practice examples of the implementation of IES for specific surveying cases from the members of the IESC up on the implementation of the IES
  • To review, based on the results of the best practice, if the Ethical Principles in the ‘Statement of Ethical Principles and Model Code of Professional Conduct published in 1998’ (FIG Publication No. 17) should be revised and replaced by the IES


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


  • International Ethics Standards by IESC in 2016, FIG and many member associations accredited
  • Revise FIG Ethical Principles in 2024


  • Working Group discussion on the implementation of latest IES by teleconference by end of 2023
  • Report on review of the FIG Ethical Principles of the ‘Statement of Ethical Principles and Model Code of Professional Conduct Principles and Model Code of Professional Conduct’’ published in 1998 FIG published in 1998 (FIG Publication No. 17) in FIG Working Week 2024 in Accra, Ghana
  • Plenary session for IES, once the best practice examples are identified with practical applications to the surveying profession, in FIG Working Week 2025 in Brisbane, Australia

Working Group 1.2 - Women in Surveying


During the period from 2015-2018, the WG asked the question: Are women still underrepresented in the surveying industry? The results of our research have indicated that this is still the case.

The outcome from the study showed that there has been little change in the participation of women in the surveying profession and that there is some resistance to changing the ratio of male to female representation in certain areas of the profession, for example, in the makeup of panels of keynote speakers at conferences and seminars.

The Working Group confirmed in the 2018 Working Week in Istanbul that there is a need and/or demand for a Women in Surveying Network and the Working Group on Women in Surveying will look into how to implement this.

Continuing in 2019 under the new Congress and Commission 1 chair, this WG continued to review how Women in Surveying will evolve and grow into a network like Young Surveyors and Standards. However, the COVID-19 pandemic paused the work of the WG and many other functions of FIG.

Policy Issues

Therefore we have concluded that a policy is required to ensure that there is equal representation of females and males in all FIG arenas. The WG proposal is to present a policy statement to the FIG council to ensure a series of recommendations that came out of the previous WG are applied in FIG.


The proposed action is to continue to build the Women in Surveying network using the tools available, online social media, meetings at FIG events, online seminars, and education. We propose to collaborate with the other commissions, especially the Young Surveyors.


To change the attitudes of the profession to having women participate, to make the profession more attractive and approachable to all women, not only young women, but women looking for a long-term career choice.

An action plan for getting more women into surveying must include making women more visible in the industry/profession, for raising respect for women in surveying and for taking the tokenism out of women in surveying.

The list of actions is:

  • Establish new Chair for WG,
  • actively promote women in the industry,
  • address the hidden bias towards women,
  • address the lack of gender diversity

How to do this? By ensuring that we have:

  • equal numbers of women on boards,
  • equal numbers of women on keynote panels during conferences and seminars,
  • continued support for Women in Survey network in FIG,
  • recognition of women in the industry


The success of the policy will be measured in improved visibility and participation by women in future FIG gatherings as well as increased numbers in professional and technical roles within surveying around the globe.


  • Setting up the network as soon as possible using the social media tools
  • Collaboration with other Women in Surveying Networks
  • Creating the policy recommendation to present to the FIG council by 2024
  • In subsequent years, reporting on the success of the proposed policy

Working Group 1.3 - International Boundary Settlement and Demarcation


The Working Group will continue the work of Haim Srebro and team to go beyond their FIG Publication 59: “International Boundary Making” produced in 2013 and subsequent efforts to publish a supplementary work, FIG Publication 76 “International Boundary on Unstable Ground” in 2020. This publication was created to promote ideologies established in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SGD) No. 16 on Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

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, delineation, demarcation, documentation, maintenance, recovery and stability of international land and maritime boundaries;
  • To liaise with FIG Commissions 4 and 7 on matters of common interest


Workshop in a dedicated technical session at the 2024 FIG Working Week in Accra, Ghana


  • Maritime Boundaries


  • Maritime Boundaries in 2025
  • Final report at the FIG Congress 2026

Cooperation with Other Commissions and organisations

Collaboration with other Commissions related to education, training, women rights, cadastre and marine boundaries, FIG Standards Network and Young Surveyors Network.

 Co-operation with United Nation Organisations, Sister Associations, and other Partners

In addition to supporting FIG participation in various international standards coalitions such as:

  • International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS) – through Commission 9
  • International Ethics Standards Coalition (IES) – through Commission 1
  • International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) – through Commission 10
  • International Land Measurement Standards (ILMS) – through Commission 7
  • New for 2018/19, co-operation and engagement in International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) supported by the UN & World Bank through Commission 1

Commission Officers

Commission Chair
Timothy W. Burch, USA
NSPS Executive Director
tim.burch (at)
figcommission1 (at)
Vice Chair (Administration & Communication)
Chair of Working Group 1.1
Chair of Working Group 1.2
Chair of Working Group 7.3
Dr. Haim Srebro, Israel
Director Mapping & Boundaries
Co-Chair JTE, Israel-Jordan Joint Boundary Commission



Chair of the Commission
Timothy Burch