News in 2013

National Society of Professional Surveyors 2013 Spring Meeting

Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States, 12 - 14 April 2013

The national leadership of the National Society of Professional Surveyors, NSPS (otherwise known to many within FIG as the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping, ACSM) in the United States met in the suburb of Gaithersburg, Maryland, outside Washington DC between 12th and 14th April, 2013. President CheeHai Teo was invited out to the NSPS 2013 Spring Meeting since he was in Washington DC during the week for the 2013 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, a conference where FIG again collaborated with the Bank.

CheeHai Teo was accompanied by the President of FIG Foundation, John Hohol and NSPS Executive Director Curt Sumner, who introduced the FIG President to many of the governors and members of the executive board including the outgoing President of NSPS, Robert Dann, the newly elected President of NSPS, Lamar Evers, newly elected President-elect Jon Warren, newly elected Vice President Patrick Smith and secretary/treasurer John Fenn. CheeHai Teo was also introduced to NSPS Office Manager, Membership Services, and Book Sales, Ms Trish Milburn.

Background row, right to left, Robert Dann, Curt Sumner, Lamar Evers, Patrick Smith

At the Board of Governors meeting on April 13th, it was remarked that the Spring Meeting is important as NSPS national leadership come together to dispense the work of the Society nationally and to bring back to their respective states the deliberations and decisions.

FIG President welcomed the opportunity to address the Board of Governors Meeting and to informed colleagues and fellow surveyors at the meeting on recent global initiatives as well as international activities that has an impact on the national and local practising scene. These included -

  • The landmark resolution at the 23rd Session of UN-Habitat Governing Council in April 2011 that affirmed the Continuum of Land Rights, which include rights that are documented as well as undocumented, from individuals and groups, from pastoralist and informal settlers, that are legal as well as extra-legal and informal. This range of rights generally cannot be described relative to a parcel, and therefore new forms of spatial units are now needed.
  • The United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, established in 2011 to bring together, for the first time at the global level, governmental experts from all member states to consult on the rapidly changing field of spatial or location information and to promote the use of geospatial information to address global challenges facing humanity today
  • FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forestry endorsed on 11th May 2012 by the United Nations Committee on World Food Security. The Voluntary Guidelines (VG) represents a historic breakthrough that countries have agreed to these first-ever-global tenure guidelines, particularly in the administration of tenure.
  • The joint World Bank/FIG Expert Group Meeting on Spatially Fit-for-Purpose on April 12th, initiated initially to address the over or under subscription of spatial technologies and accuracies. An initial outcome is the consensus that Surveyors must be fit for purposes in all their activities. World Bank and FIG are considering a statement of principles as a next step.

Later in the morning, the Board of Governors consider a series of initiatives to advance advocacy and further uplift the standing and image of the Profession in the United States. The Board also embarked on strategic planning, where the meeting considered the Profession’s strength, weakness, opportunities and treats. The exercise analysed and prioritises core issues to be addressed in the search for the more feasible path forward towards greater significance and relevance within the Profession’s practising jurisdiction.

It is worth noting that the NSPS Surveyor's Creed and Canons state that “As a Professional Surveyor, I dedicate my professional knowledge and skills to the advancement and betterment of human welfare”. The challenge before the global community of surveyors is its contribution towards the implementation and successes of these global initiatives, beginning at the local level. FIG President opined that local practices and initiatives that are aligned to national and international initiatives and understanding should contribute towards global efforts in addressing the many challenges face by humanity today.

CheeHai TEO
April 2013

21 May 2013