FIG Commission 5

Report from Brighton

By Jean-Marie Becker

General Assembly

Two General Assembly (GA) meetings were held. During these meetings, the GA accepted the proposed nomination for the Commission 5 chair (Jean-Marie Becker). Our new vice chair (Matt Higgins) was the result of a vote between two excellent candidates who where proposed by there National Association (Australia and France).

Matt Higgins, Jean-Marie Becker and Mikael Lilje

The work plan for C5 was adopted at this occasion.


ACCO meetings

The Advisory Committee of Commission Officers (ACCO) had three meetings during the Congress under the leadership of Bob Foster, incoming FIG President. The first meeting (the day before the congress start) was dedicated to all questions discussed in Annapolis (January 1998) and on the General Assembly agenda. These questions concerned the commissions work plans, chair, vice-chair and the different task forces. The last ACCO meeting concerned mostly the future activities and the preparation of the incoming FIG working week in Sun City (South Africa) and especially the involvement of the Commissions. The ACCO meetings are very important and useful for the efficiency of the FIG-work. ACCO has succeeded to reorganise and co-ordinate the technical work of the Commissions which is fundamental for the future existence of FIG. It was also decided that the commission secretary could participate to its meetings in the future.

Technical sessions

Commission 5 organised 10 own technical sessions and some joint sessions, in total 47 papers were presented by C5 and between 40 and 300 people followed the presentations. The presentations were in general of good quality and had interesting subjects.

Commission 5 working meetings

Brighton was a kind of transition, overlapping and bridge between the outgoing chairs (1994-98) and the incoming chairs for 1998-2002 and also between the working group members. It was the first opportunity for many of our members to meet each other and make personal contacts in a way to stimulate our future collaboration.

We had the possibility to inform and discuss the proposed working plans concerning the specific activities/missions of each WG through three meetings (about 1 hour each). A majority of our chair and vice-chair as well as many interested people contributed to the discussions on updating of the proposed work plans and working group organisation.

In Brighton, we had also the possibility to make personal contacts with other FIG and commission members, manufacturers, exhibitors, etc and discuss with them subjects of common interest.

A common reflection was that we had not enough time for these meetings. We should have had them within the official agenda. We need also larger rooms with technical facilities so that all interested can participate to the commission debates. All leaders (Chair and Vice-Chair) should participate to these meetings. They are very important for the good work and spirit of our team and to have a good contact with our supporters.

Special session with the manufacturers

By tradition, Commission 5 invites all manufacturers to a common meeting for discussion of questions of common interest. These meeting allows informing each partner about problems, suggestions, news and requests. FIG C5 is the link between FIG Surveyors and the manufacturers.

Due to various things, the participation was limited to about seven manufacturers mostly representing GPS producers. In total about 30 participated to the meeting. Nevertheless the discussion and debate focused on some specific questions from the manufacturers side (e.g. too high registration fees for the exhibitors, few visitors) and from the C5 surveyors side (e.g. concerning open access to raw data and formulas used in the instruments, better information about the technical specifications including the limitations).

We also made a common agreement to have common meeting at each FIG working week, or at least once per year. Furthermore, C5 will in the future inform about technical news in its Newsletter.

Technical excursions

Commission 5 and 6 arranged three technical tours:

  • Ordnance Survey in Southampton.
  • Greenwich Meridian, Historical Observatory Museum and the Thames Flood Barrier.
  • Bluebell Railway from Sheffield Park to Kinscote.

The most appreciated was the second one, which allowed each participant to stand over and visualise the reference meridian taking a photograph in situ!

Visit to the Thames Flood Barrier

Other events where C5 members were involved during the Brighton Congress

As mentioned earlier some C5 members participated to the special ISO TC211 meeting concerning the debate on the "geomaticians" proposal from Canada and the other projects included inside TC211 work.

The CLGE (European Council of Geodetic Surveyors) had three meetings concerning its activities. Several European FIG members (Vaclav Slaboch, Jean-Marie Becker, etc) are also CLGE-members and participated to all meetings.

A French-speaking group (Groupe Francophone de la FIG) was created and had also its first meeting in Brighton concerning the questions related to the use of one FIG language (English). About 32 delegates from 13 countries participated to the debate trying to found a solution to the actual language problems. The debates were very animated and sometimes hot. Different proposals for actions were presented; the future has to show what this Groupe Francophone is able to do! This is a growing problem for FIG and we must find a acceptable solution.

Michel Kasser and Jean-Marie proposed to contribute with some summaries in French within the Newsletter. The same proposal is valuable for other languages (Spanish, etc) but we need the help from some translators. Voluntaries are welcome.