FIG Council

Volunteering for the Future

Work Plan

The Council has prepared the FIG Council Work Plan for 2019-2022. Together with the Commission Work Plans the Council Work Plan will form the FIG Work Plan for the next four years. The proposal for the Council Work Plan 2019-2022 is based on preparations made in one Council seminar in September 2018, ACCO meeting and Council meeting in January 2019. The Council Work Plan has been coordinated with the Commissions', Networks', Task Forces’ and Permanent Institutions’ Work Plans.
President Staiger presented the Work Plan at the General Assembly 22 April 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam.


Surveying is a modern profession acting worldwide for a better infrastructure for our society and planet earth. The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) wants to keep, and even improve, its role as the premier non-governmental organisation that represents the interests of surveyors worldwide.


Over the last 30 years, our profession has gone through a series of significant changes and innovations. The main technical advancements are the introduction of GNSS, laser scanning, and digital photogrammetry in conjunction with the use of UAVs. The global localisation of the place where we “are” has become child’s play, thanks to the technology of communica-tion and GNSS.

Decades ago, a surveyor’s typical service (mainly maps) was only partly accessible and gener-ally reserved for military and state administration purposes. This has changed radically. To-day, geo-information and related products are seen as a public good and beneficial for the well-being and betterment of society. Additionally, we can observe that the modern geo-data products are increasing in quality and are becoming increasingly available, free of charge, to the user.

In our daily lives, we have also encountered changes introduced not only by technical pro-gress but also through political and social transformations. For example, long-distance trav-elling is much easier today than it was before 1990. There are almost no insurmountable walls left between different countries. Access to other countries has become much easier in general. At the same time, the cost of travel has gone down significantly. Statistically speak-ing, in the year 2000 every citizen would use an airplane once every 43 months. Today, every citizen uses an airplane once every 22 months. Flying has never been more accessible and affordable.

Sociologists say that we are living in one global world. In other words, our daily lives are more similar than they were in the past. We wear similar clothes, listen to the same music, and watch the same series on TV or Netflix. Although our societies are becoming more and more aligned with each other, we can still observe a trend of increased individualism. During the last decade, it has become increasingly difficult to convince people to do volunteer work for organisations like the local football club, the choir, or a professional organisation.

Our professional and private lives have become computerized. With the modern communi-cation technologies like the internet, smartphones, email, and social media, most of us are and want to be present everywhere, 24 hours a day.

We are also encountering an overall acceleration in the technical world. Digitalisation is one of the buzzwords we encounter nearly everywhere. Innovations are appearing faster and the life cycles of products and entire product groups are becoming significantly shorter. This trend of accelerated changes will not stop in the future. We will continue to adapt our pro-fessional and personal lives to these changes.

Over the last 30 years, FIG has become an organisation, which now acts on a global scale. If we want to keep our position as the premier international representation of surveyors, we cannot ignore the dramatic changes in technology and society that have occurred in the last decades in order to stay relevant for our profession and society.

The motto of the term 2019 to 2022

The motto of the term of office 2019 to 2022 is “volunteering for the future”. This slogan is on the one hand short and catchy but on the other hand, it can and should be interpreted in several ways.

Two questions arise at this time.

  • Why is volunteering so important today?
  • What should people volunteer for?

The willingness to volunteer has significantly declined across the board over the last dec-ades. Finding volunteers for the local choir, football team, or other initiatives is becoming in-creasingly difficult. The same trend has occurred for professional organisations on a local, regional, national, or even international level, like FIG. This is a mass phenomenon, which is noticeable on all the continents. The increasing individualism of our globalised society has been identified as a reason for the declining interest in volunteering.

The second question “what should people volunteer for“ can be answered in two related levels. The most important object (first level) of interest is our Federation itself.

Volunteering for the future of FIG

FIG is a global organisation representing and promoting the interests of our profession and of all surveyors worldwide. The brand “FIG” is currently well known but this will not auto-matically continue. If we want to maintain our leading position as a professional organisa-tion, we need volunteers and ongoing support on all levels. These commitments and per-sonal involvement are achievable in many different ways.

The most common possibilities are as follows:

  • To promote FIG in our personal professional environment
  • To encourage and motivate our colleagues to participate in future FIG events and activities.
  • To participate in FIG Working Weeks and Congresses.
  • To contribute actively to our events, by giving presentations, writing publications and participating actively in the work of our Commissions, Working Groups, Networks, and Task Forces.
  • To assume responsibility as the Officer of a Commission, Network or Task Force.
  • To support the next generation of FIG members.

The second level of interest is an interesting side effect of the first one.

Today, our profession is regarded as a necessary and important part of the infrastructure for a better and more sustainable life. This has led to some interesting and motivational side ef-fects. Being active for FIG is also beneficial for our profession, society, and planet Earth. This is the second-level answer to the question “what should people volunteer for”. In summary, the motto can be refined as follows: Volunteering for FIG means volunteering for our profession, society and Earth at the same time.

FIG-Council has identified two major targets for the next few years.

The major Targets of the Council 2019 – 2022

The Work Plan of the FIG Council will focus on two major targets:

  • Making FIG “Fit for the Future”
  • Promoting the relevance of our profession together with our partners.

The first target looks inside FIG and tries to improve and adapt our structure, strategies and activities to future needs.

The second target is not a new goal. It is a continuation of previous targets from former Councils. This is normal and even expected for the pursuit of a sustainable long-term strat-egy.