FIG Standards Network

Progress Report to December 2000

In the first two years of its life, the Task Force on Standards has made some notable progress on a number of fronts, in an area where FIG has traditionally not been represented. In general terms, the very existence of the Task Force has raised the profile of standards and standardisation in the minds of FIG's active members. This element of the Task Force's work has included writing articles for the FIG Bulletin and other publications, and presenting papers to FIG gatherings.

To help move the process along from education into action, the Task Force is currently finalising a draft Guide on Standardisation, with the aim of providing FIG officials and member associations with a greater degree of information on the processes of standardisation, and how professionals can influence them. Within the Guide is a proposed statement of FIG's policy with regards to standardisation. In summary, this states that FIG's aim is to assist in the process of developing workable and timely official and legal standards, seeking to ensure that de facto standards are converted into official standards as technology matures. There are, in essence, two elements:

  • Proposing material which can be transformed into international standards (rather than relying on work done by others) and participating in the process of developing standards; and
  • Disseminating information and creating explanatory material and guidance notes to ensure that all members of FIG are aware of the more recent standardisation activities, standards and regulations, and their implications for surveyors.

Under the first heading, the Task Force, with the assistance of Commission 7 (particularly in the person of Dr Winfried Hawerk), has proposed the FIG Statement on the Cadastre for fast tracking to become an international standard. This has been a tortuous learning process to date, with the protocols of ISO taking a good deal of understanding. It appears that we have not been successful with this particular document, but we have learned a good deal about the process and need now to consider what other documents might be appropriate for fast tracking

We continue to work closely with the relevant ISO Technical Committees (in particular TC59/ TC172, where Professor Jean-Marie Becker is FIG's lead representative, and TC211 where I have this position). The work of TC211 on Geographic Information/ Geomatics will result in a significant number of international standards being published in 2001, and the Task Force is currently doing its best to ascertain how FIG can help in the communication and implementation process.

We have also been working with other bodies, including the International Valuation Standards Committee (where Professor Brian Waldy's work has been invaluable), and the International Cost Economics Council (ICEC), which has recently set up a Standards Working Group. The focus for ICEC is currently on spreading best practice throughout the industry.

The Task Force also coordinates within FIG, including with the Task Force on Mutual Recognition (there is a particular crossover with regard to ISO TC211's work on the qualification and certification of personnel) and with the Commissions and Permanent Institutions. Examples of this collaboration include reviewing, with the Multi-Lingual Dictionary team and ISO TC211, how the FIG Multi-Lingual Dictionary and ISO work on terminology can be interfaced to best effect. We have had less success to date with determining what work of the Commissions might be appropriate for fast tracking to become official standards, or can be coordinated with the publication of standards.

In the run-up to the 2002 Congress, the Task Force will concentrate on building on its current links, completing the Guide, raising the profile of standards within the survey community still further, ensuring that the 2002-2006 work plans of the Commissions take in the issue of standards and standardisation from their inception, and ensuring that the important issue of standardisation is suitably catered for in the new internal organisation of FIG.

In all of this work, I would like to recognise publicly the ongoing support of all members of the Task Force and of the FIG Office.

Iain Greenway
Task Force Chair

27 December 2000


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