Vice President Matt Higgins visits GEO-Siberia-2008

Novosibirsk, Russian Federation, 22-24 April 2008

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Vice President Matt Higgins ringing the bell to open Geo-Siberia 2008.

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Vice President Matt Higgins outside the Siberian State Academy of Geodesy SSGA.

The 4th International Exhibition and Scientific Congress “GEO-Siberia-2008” was organised by the Siberian State Academy of Geodesy (SSGA) and the International Exhibition Centre “Siberian Fair” in Novosibirsk 22-24 April 2008. This year’s event was also devoted to the 75th anniversary of SSGA. The event is modelled on INTERGEO in Germany with a large exhibition and an associated technical conference. There were some 3,000 participants overall with approximately 100 companies in the exhibition. In the conference there were 18 technical sessions with 450 presentations.

The SSGA and Siberian Fair produced a press release, which gives a detailed description of all of the activities, the various participants etc. This report will focus on key issues and recommendations of importance to FIG.

Regional Event

Siberia has significant activity in oil and gas exploration and in mining, which means the local economy is quite strong. This is reflected in the high quality of the surveying activities and the work of the SSGA. It also means that the Geo-Siberia event seems to be on a strong financial basis.

The event has excellent participation from within Russia and surrounding countries and is representative of the whole of the Central Asian region. For example the following were represented: within Russia: Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation; The Federal Service of Geodesy and Cartography of Russia; Federal Real Estate Cadastre Agency; Administration of the Siberian Federal District; and Association of Siberian and Far Eastern Cities. From the surrounding Region, I personally spoke to representatives from Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Ukraine.

International organisations were also well represented at President or Vice President level, including: ICA, ISPRS and FIG. The representatives of those international organisations were also invited as VIPs to the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the SSGA, which included a concert and reception at the Novosibirsk Opera House.

German DVW has been a strong supporter of Geo-Siberia for several years now and the DVW President attended. Two German professors (Lothar Gruendig and Reiner Jaeger) were made honorary professors of the SSGA in recognition of their ongoing contribution to Geo-Siberia; it should be noted that both Prof. Gruendig and Prof. Jaeger are involved in FIG Commissions 5 and 6.

Conference Program

At the end of Geo-Siberia, several of the international participants met with the Rector of the SSGA and I took the opportunity to outline a number of issues where I think FIG could assist in future, particularly in relation to the Technical Program.

The program included FIG Working Group 6.3 Workshop on “Current Challenges of Engineering Surveys”. The session was organised by the Chair of FIG WG 6.3 Prof. Gruendig from Berlin. Unfortunately the FIG Workshop was parallel to some relevant sessions in the Russian speaking part of the program, which drew some participation away from our Workshop. Even so, the Workshop was very well received and the organisers would like to see similar or expanded participation from FIG in the future.

Language is an issue for any events in Russia but the quality of the translation at Geo-Siberia-2008 was high and that issue can be managed. The SSGA is responsible for the technical program at Geo-Siberia so there is strong scientific content in the program.

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Matt Higgins in Red Square in Moscow in his Sydney 2010 polo shirt "Red Shirt in Red Square".

Matt Higgins
FIG Vice President