FIG Commission 3 Workshop on “Spatial Information Management Toward Environmental Management of Mega Cities”

Valencia, Spain, 18-21 February 2008

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Prof. Pedro Cavero and Dr. Chryssy Potsiou together with President Stig Enemark at reception at the Valencia City Hall.

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Santiago Calatrava's architecture in new Valencia.

The 2008 Workshop and Annual Meeting of FIG Commission 3 on “Spatial Information Management Toward Environmental Management of Mega Cities” took place in Valencia, Spain, from 18th to 21st February 2008. This Workshop was supported by ISPRS, EARSeL, INSPIRE, EuroSDR, UN/ECE Committee on Housing and Land Management and the Working Party on Land Administration, and FIG Commission 2.

The year 2007 was a turning point in human history as 50% of the world’s population became urbanized. Rapid urbanization is a phenomenon of our times. The speed and scale of current urban population growth generate important challenges for surveyors, planners and governments.

This FIG Commission 3 Workshop focused on how surveyors can, through SDIs and good land administration, provide reliable spatial data and the means for monitoring, planning and providing good management of the rapidly increasing urban areas.


Local Organizers were the Spanish Association of Surveyors - the Colegio Oficial de Ingenieros Tecnicos en Topografia, the Technical University of Valencia - Universitat Politecnica de Valencia, and the Royal Academy of Culture - Royal Academia de Cultura Valenciana. It was also supported by the General Direction of Cadastre of the Spanish Ministry of Finance. The FIG Commission 3 Workshop was integrated into the Spanish IX National Congress of Surveying Engineers TOP-CART 2008. In parallel, a modern technical exhibition was organized at the conference venue.

This was an ambitious and impressive event, which consisted of five joint sessions (opening session, 3 plenary sessions and closing session) and 26 parallel sessions with 124 papers in total, while all participants (Spanish and international) were distributed through all parallel sessions. In total, more than 450 Spanish and 85 international delegates participated in this event. The first plenary session was held on “Cadastre, electronic administration and land management to support sustainable development” and the keynote speakers were Mr Jesus Miranda, General Director of the Spanish Cadastre, Prof Stig Enemark, President of FIG and Prof Ian Williamson. The second session was on the technical aspects of  “Cartography, Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing for the benefit of society”; the keynote speakers were Mr Alberto Sereno, General Director of the National Cartographic Institute of Spain, Prof Agustin Pichel, and Prof Ian Dowman, President of ISPRS. The third session was on “Urban Panning aspects and the impacts of rapid urbanization”; the keynote speakers were Mr Juan Antonio Altes Marti, Head of the Urban Planning Department in the Valencia City Hall and Dr Chryssy A Potsiou, chair of FIG Commission 3.

According to the words of Prof Pedro Cavero, head of the Organizing Committee, the objectives of this congress were “ emphasize before the Authorities and the Society the role of our profession at national and international level, to give to our colleagues the opportunity of rejoining, knowing new technologies and professional realities inside and outside Spain, to show our present engineering profile and the incoming future, to enhance the need of making the property unit, in its widest meaning, the main future of our profession as a core unit of national and regional SDIs, to show the future of surveying education and Spanish Universities in terms of the Bologna declaration, to promote the important role of our international associations FIG and ISPRS and the collaboration with sister associations like UN and World Bank for the welfare and development of the developing countries and the countries in transition, and through the FIG Commission 3 Workshop to know an essential field, not only for our profession but for the society, environment and quality of life as well, to show the enormous humanitarian component of our profession and to increase if possible our love and dedication to surveying and to everything surveying represents to us and to the society which we serve.

More than 78 international delegates registered for the Commission 3 Workshop, coming from 28 countries: Albania 2, Australia 1, Azerbaijan 2, Bulgaria 2, Belgium 5, Canada 1, China 2, Denmark 1, Finland 1, Germany 7, Greece 13, Hungary 3, Israel 3, Italy 1, Kenya 1, Latvia 1, Lithuania 1, Lebanon 1, Netherlands 1, Norway 2, Poland 2, Romania 2, Russia 3, Spain 7, Sweden 3, Turkey 4, UK 5, USA 1.

Commission 3 delegates were welcomed by Prof Pedro Cavero, head of the organizing committee, Jeronimo Miron, UN/ECE WPLA Spanish delegate, FIG President Prof Stig Enemark, and Dr Chryssy A Potsiou, chair of FIG Commission 3. Invited Commission 3 keynote speakers were Prof Stig Enemark, President of FIG, who spoke on the subject “Promoting Problem Solving Skills”, Prof Ian Dowman, President of ISPRS, who spoke on “3D City Models”, Michael Gould who addressed “the INSPIRE initiative and its Implications”, Kevin Mooney who addressed the “EuroSDR’s research activities in urban spatial data collection, management and delivery”, Dr Ana Maria Cruz who presented the “Results of the 2008 Natech Workshop: Assessing and Managing Natech Risks”, and distinguished delegates representing European Cadastral and Mapping Agencies whose presentations included the latest achievements in the field of multipurpose cadastre and SDI research and best practice in city environmental management. Once again, Commission 3 has attracted a large number of distinguished FIG academics and researchers who have coordinated their academic research on the Commission 3 selected topics. The optional double blind peer review of submitted papers was applied for a second year in a Commission 3 Workshop. Nine papers received successful peer review for this Workshop.

Besides the five joint sessions, this Commission 3 Workshop had eight more technical sessions with 44 presentations in all, focused on the Workshop’s topic. Technical sessions addressed “SIM and Urban Development”, “City Management Case Studies”, “SDIs for Management of Mega Cities and Increasing Urban Areas”, “SIM and Spatial Planning”, “SIM in Risk Management and Cultural Heritage Aspects Related to Urban Areas”, “Environmental Monitoring”, “Technical Aspects for Urban Management”, and “Educational Issues Related to Problem-based Learning”. The Workshop’s resolutions will be available soon. All papers and resolutions will be published in the Workshop’s proceedings and on the FIG website. An additional specific publication of peer-reviewed papers will be published soon.

The Workshop’s activities were augmented by a series of social events including the opening cocktail party provided by the exhibitors, lunches at the university restaurant, the Commission 3 dinner partially sponsored by Commission 3, an impressive reception provided by the local authorities at the Valencia City Hall, a visit to the art gallery where an exhibition of old maps was on view, a sight-seeing event for the accompanying persons program, and a glamorous gala dinner at Astoria hotel offered by the organizers. Nice gifts were offered to all delegates by the local organizers at the gala dinner.


This was the second FIG Commission 3 annual Workshop and meeting of the 2007-2010 period. The next Workshop (follow-up) will be held in Germany, in February 2009 with the topic “Spatial Information for Sustainable Management of Urban Areas”. More detailed information regarding local organizers and the specific topics will be published soon.

Chryssy A Potsiou
Chair FIG Commission 3 - Spatial Information Management

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Opening ceremony of TOP-CART 2008.

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Commission 3 delegates at the opening ceremony.

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Dr. Chryssy Potsiou chairing a plenary session.
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Commission 3 Workshop in Valencia in February 2008.
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Prof. Pedro Cavero and President Stig Enemark at the reception in the Valencia City Hall.