News in 2013

FIG Working Week 2015  - preparation meeting

Sofia, Bulgaria 26-28 February 2013


At the General Assembly of FIG in Rome 6-10 May 2012, Bulgaria was chosen to be the host of the Working week 2015, and the preparation for it already started in June 2012.The local organizing committee has been established and is already far into the preparations. They met with FIG President CheeHai Teo and Manager Louise Friis-Hansen in Sofia, Bulgaria to work on the further progress.

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The Local Organising Committee meeting in the office of the Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Agency

FIG met with the President of the Chamber of Graduated Surveyors in Bulgaria (CGS), Angel Yanakiev, and Conference Director Zlatan Zlatanov. Both are known faces from many earlier FIG Conferences. Bulgaria has always been actively involved in FIG, and is the only former Eastern European country who has organized a FIG Congress in 1983 in one of the former East European socialist countries initiated and led by Professor Georgi Milev, Union of Surveyors and Land Managers in Bulgaria. Prof. Milev is a very know person within FIG since he has been actively involved in FIG for more than 40 years. Also the 31st meeting of the FIG Permanent Committee (now General Assembly) was held in 1964 in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is therefore a pleasure that the Working Week is now again going to take place in Bulgaria.

During the meetings there was also time to a visit at Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Agency, meeting Executive Director Alexander Lazarov. He highlighted some of the challenges the Bulgarians are working with right now.

He pointed out that it is important for surveyors to understand the new role of surveyors in the country, going from a focus on measurement to act in a much broader perspective and to have to find customers in stead of only relying on the public sector. The Universities are working intensely on the surveying education for young graduates to meet the new demands. A different way of thinking is needed and this is one of the reasons why the Bulgarians wanted to host a FIG Working Week. FIG Working Week can maybe also open the eyes of the politicians and government to understand the role of the surveyors in the country. There have been some European initiatives, but it demands that the government has an interest as well.

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Meeting at Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Agency, from left, Conference Director Zlatan Zlatanov, Executive Director Alexander Lazarov, FIG President CheeHai Teo, dipl. eng. and conference secretary Tatyana Arshinkova, and President of CGS Angel Yanakiev.

This also gave an opportunity to meet the Local Organising Committee using the meeting facilities of the Agency. Both the Agency and the Local Organising Committee hope that the Working Week can give an International perspective to the Bulgarian surveyors and can also be useful in their further cooperation with the government and public sector. The Local Organising Committee is very engaged and are already deeply involved in the preparations.

Working Week 2015 preparations

The Working Week will take place 17-21 May 2015 at the National Palace of Culture – Congress Centre Sofia, which is the largest multifunctional complex in South-Eastern Europe. It is located in the city centre and is surrounded by a number of 4 and 5 star hotels just minutes away. Only 15 minute drive from Sofia International Airport, the Congress Centre is easily accessible via public transportation.

The overall theme of the Working Week is “From the wisdom of the ages to the challenges of modern world”In Ancient Greek, Sofia means "wisdom". Today a Statue of Saint Sofia stands on a column in the middle of a busy crossroad. The statue is a symbol of the city because St. Sofia is the city’s patron. Since Sofia means “wisdom” she holds a an owl in her left hand, and in her right hand she holds a laurel wreath – a powerful symbol for Greeks and Romans meaning peace, success, reputation etc. Today, the Bulgarian surveyors struggle with many challenges of the modern world – some are unique for Bulgaria, e.g. as a former socialist country, but many of their challenges are universal and can be recognized throughout the world. Click picture for bigger format

Last but not least, FIG Working Week will be the first Working Week held by the Council that will be elected at the FIG Congress 2014´in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Currently, the partners of the Chamber of Graduated Surveyors for FIG Working Week 2015 are:

  • University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy;
  • Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Agency;
  • Union of Surveyors and Land Managers in Bulgaria;
  • Metropolitan Municipality;
  • Association of Topographical Companies;

Organising committee:

Chair of the Conference: dipl. eng. Angel Krumov Yanakiev – President of the CGS
Conference Director: dipl. eng. Zlatan Georgiev Zlatanov – a member of the Executive board of the CGS
Vice – President of the Conference: dipl. eng. Rumen Zhelev Georgiev - a member of the Executive board of the CGS
Secretaries of the Conference: dipl. eng. Kremena Boyanova – secretary of the CGS and dipl. eng. Tatyana Arshinkova – secretary of the CGS

Members of the Local Organizing Committee:

  • prof. Borislav Marinov – Dean of Faculty of Geodesy
  • prof. Slaveyko Gospodinov - University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy
  • prof. Penyo Penev - University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy
  • phd. Ivan Klalchev Ivanov vice president of the Union of Surveyors and Land Managers in Bulgaria
  • dipl. eng. Boris Grozdanov Krastev – member of Union of Surveyors and Land Managers in Bulgaria
  • dipl. eng. Svetla Zaharieva - member of the Executive board of the CGS
The logo of the Working Week 2015 shows the national theatre Ivan Vazov. This is the first theatre in Bulgaria and the national culture institute. The building is one of the main symbols of the city and the country and it's more than 100 years old. The name comes from the famous Bulgarian writer, Ivan Vazov who iss the patriarch of Bulgarian literature. With his creations he has kept the Bulgarian spirit alive through the ages. This is a building that influences every Bulgarian citizen.

Bulgaria and Sofia

Bulgaria is an interesting country with an impressive history. The history of Bulgaria has been determined by its strategic location between Asia and Europe and this location has influenced the Bulgarians ever since. Before the Christian era, Greece and Rome conquered the region and left substantial imprints on the culture of the people they found there. In 632 the Bulgars, originally from Central Asia, formed an independent state north of the Black sea that became known as Great Bulgaria. After converting to Christianity and adopting a Slavic language in the ninth century, the Bulgarians consolidated a distinct Slavic culture that subsequently passed through periods of both expansionist independence and subordination to outside political systems.

 Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is located at a strategic crossroads. The route from Western Europe to Istanbul passes through Sofia via Beograd and Skopje, then through Plovdiv to Turkey. Sofia also connects The Near East and The Middle East, lying between the banks of The Danube and the shores of The White Sea on the one hand, and between The Black Sea and The Adriatic on the other. Sofia, has a population of around 1.2 million people and is is one of Europe’s most compact and walkable capital cities, although it’s still one of the least known by foreign travelers. Although no grand metropolis, Sofia is nevertheless an attractive and cultured city with plenty of attractions.

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The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Museums, art galleries, theatres, fine restaurants, can be found in Sofia. Sofia is also a surprisingly green city, with huge swaths of parkland within the city boundaries and the ski slopes and hiking trails of mighty Mt Vitosha right on the doorstep. The city has developed quickly over recent years and a new affluence is apparent in the trendy international boutiques, upmarket hotels and flashy cars with blacked-out windows, but there are also great inequalities. Although life is not easy in Sofia, most Sofians have hope for the future of their city as one of the EU’s newest capitals. Among the highlights is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, one of the symbols of Bulgaria, constructed in the late 19th century. It occupies an area of 3,170 square metres (34,100 sq ft) and can hold 10,000 people. The city is also known for the Boyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The SS. Cyril and Methodius National Library houses the largest national collection of books and documents (1,714,211 books and some 6 million other documents) and is Bulgaria's oldest cultural institute.

Louise Friis-Hansen
April 2013

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National Palace of Culture – Congress Centre Sofia

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The Hilton Hotel which is right next to the congress Centre

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A market in Sofia
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A market in Sofia
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Finding old measurement instruments at the market that need to be tried out. From left Conference Director Zlatan Zlatanov, President of CGS Angel Yanakiev, and FIG President CheeHai Teo
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Many old buildings have been found in the ground of Sofia
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Old buildings being dug out with the statue of St. Sofia in the background
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The view from the Conference Center




15 April 2013