FIG Commission 2

The Latin American Surveyor Before the Third Milennium: Education and Profesionalism

Rosario (Argentina) : 18. 19, 20 October 2000

One of the objectives of the FIG USA Bureau has been to expand the Federation in Latin American countries, where at present there are only two members.

In 1998 it was suggested Commission 2 organize an educational event in Latin America. As Argentina was at that time the only member it was decided to organize the meeting in that country. Offers were received from the Schools of Agrimensura of Rosario and Santiago del Estero National Universities. Both offers were very welcome and the decision was taken to organize a Symposium on University Education of Surveying in Latin America in Rosario. Economic and organizational support was received from the professional associations of Santa Fé and Entrerríos provinces, which was of great help during the planning. Following meetings with the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering , Mathematics and Surveying of N.U.of Rosario, the Director of the School of Surveying and the Presidents of both professional associations in Santa Fé and Entrerríos, dates were finalized for the Symposium. Keeping in mind that the most important aim of the Symposium was to increase awareness of FIG on the continent, but not forgetting the economic situation of the region.

There were many problems along the way from the first decision to hold the Symposium until the opening ceremony, but they were solved thanks to an enormous effort made by our colleagues in the University and in the Professional Associations; without such spirit, such excellent understanding and continuous colaboration this meeting would not have been a reality. This kind of cooperation could be an example for many other countries wishing to organize international meetings.

The sessions were held in the Rivadavia Center, in down town Rosario, where a small exhibition was organized as well.

There were 128 participants from 10 different countries (from Canada to Australia, as well as Malaysia, Denmark, Spain, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and of course, Argentina.), which significantly exceeded the most optimistic expectations.

The opening ceremony was chaired by the Dean of the Faculty, representing the Rector of the University, who was on a trip abroad , and included speeches from Presidents of both provincial Associations and President of the National Association and the Vicechairman of FIG Commission 2, who read messages from Mr.Foster, President of FIG, and Prof.Virrantaus, Chair of Commission 2. A light lunch was provided by the Associations.

In the afternoon the presentation of papers commenced, which the majority of participants attended and included worthwhile discussion after each presentation. All sessions and papers presented followed this format.

There were 18 papers, of high educational and professional quality, presented by people coming from all over the world (including Australia, Canada, Spain, Denmark, Uruguay, Paraguay and Puerto Rico); most of them were related to Education and the profession. The ones coming, mainly, from our Argentinian colleagues, showed our profession is going through very interesting times. There were three round tables held covering the following subjects:

-The University Education of Surveying in Argentina
-The University Education of Surveying around the world
-The profession in Argentina

In the first one, a presentation of a document, prepared by the Director of Schools of Agrimensura and Dean of Faculties of Engineering, on the harmonization of the curricula in the nine Universities where Surveying is taught in Argentina generated a long discussion which did finish until about 2100 hours.

In the second round table Profs. Parker, Enemark and Cavero made a presention about FIG, including its links with organizations such as the UN, World Bank, etc., the structure and the workings of the Federation, where national associations could benefit from belonging to an international body and providing encouragement to apply for membership. At the same round table representatives of Chile, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Spain and Uruguay gave an overview of the educational and professional situation in their country.

The third round table placed the biggest emphasis on the professional problems in Argentina, where at present, our colleagues are awaiting a new national law, which will only allow Surveyors to undertake cadastral surveys and not Civil Engineers, Architects and other professionals as currently occurs.

The last paper given was a presentation of the Work Plan for FIG Commission 2 for the period 2002-2006, emphasizing the special attention to be paid to Latin American countries, from Rio Grande, in the North, to Tierra de Fuego, in the South.

It must be emphasized that the interest of many papers was such that very often the sessions were finished after 2100 hours.

The last day, after the closing ceremony, there were a lunch offered by the Associations in the Paraná river and a visit, by ship, to the new bridge between Rosario en Victoria (57 Kms long); this is, probably, at this moment, the biggest public work in Argentina.

During discussion between sessions contacts were established with representatives of different Latin American countries who are very interested in becoming, as soon as possible, members of FIG. Puerto Rico will present their application before 15 November and Uruguay will try to do the same. Paraguay has to wait until the end of the year, when they expect to have a new national Law which will allow them to apply for membership.

In the same way several Universities have shown a lot of interest in becoming Academic members of FIG. The University of Concepción, south of Sanigo de Chile, gave their US$150 membership fee to Prof. Enemark to pass onto FIG Director, Mr. Villikka.

The Argentinian organizers, in conjunction with FIG representatives at the Symposium, prepared the following


1. -To commence as soon as possible in Latin American countries a process of harmonization of curricula in Surveying studies (courses), having regard to:

a) the professional profile provided by FIG must be the common core adapted to the needs and background of each country.
b) achieving such aims, the present curricula must be analyzed to determine the underlying values and any defects.
c) the harmonization being undertaken with the aim to reach the highest present level and establishing mechanisms for accreditation and control that will guarantee quality results.
d) seeking support from professional organizations such as FLA (Federación Latinoamericana de Agrimensores), APPA (Asociación Panamericana de Profesionales de la Agrimensura) and FIG.

2. -To consider that it is important to ensure CPD exists which guarantees that continuous professional updating will occur, and

a) To ask for a permanent University policy that determines different ways of education following graduation.
b) To ask the Professional Associations to support the establishment of a CPD policy.

3. -To seek, from national and international institutions , human and technological resources for the development and permanent updating of Surveying studies in Latin America.

4. -To strongly recommend to Universities, Professional Associations and FIG to continue organizing events in Latin America which have a wide scope and are relative to the development and improvement of the profession in Latin America.

5. -To support the FIG Commission 2 Work Plan, particularly that part relating to Latin America.

6. -The conference recognizes the importance of enhancing surveying courses at University level as a basis for developing and maintaining adequate land administration systems in support of sustainable development in the Latin American countries.

7. -The conference also recognizes the role of FIG as a facilitator by providing institutional support for course development and professional interaction in the Latin American countries.

8. -Recognising the international role of FIG and its efforts to enhance the surveying profession in Latin America, this conference encourages the associations and academeic institutions, not yet being members, to join the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG).


  • This has been the first time that FIG has organized an international Commission meeting in Latin America.
  • The work and effort undertaken by the organizers has been enormous and therefore must be recognized by the FIG authorities, bearing in mind that all the credit belongs to our Argentinian colleagues.
  • The numbers attending from Latin American countries (including, of course, Argentina) has been much better than could have been dreamed of before it started, and the remarkable presence of 8 Malaysian colleagues, should encourage FIG to continue this policy in this continent.
  • This has been the FIRST STEP in a long journey of understanding and collaboration between FIG and Latin America.
  • In this regard it is important to state that Puerto Rico has offered to organize the next meeting in 2002.
  • Prior to 2006 there must be organized at least three more meetings (Puerto Rico, Brasil and Mexico).
  • It would be desirable, and many participants have suggested, that future meetings be arranged in conjunction with other Commissions with topics that would be of interest to the continent.
  • The presence of FIG in this type of event is absolutely necessary if the Bureau wants to ensure the addition of Latin American countries to our Federation.

Madrid, 2nd November 2000

Prof.Pedro J. Cavero
Vicechairman Commission 2