23rd FIG General Assembly, Prague 2000


Report for the 23rd General Assembly

FIG Working Week in Prague, 22-26 May 2000

Commission 3: Spatial Information Management


It is now two years since we changed the name of our commission to Spatial Information Management. Today this term has been adopted by more and more of the traditional GIS businesses. We are still dealing with both land and geographic information systems, but now we have much more focus on the management of information.


About 50 of the 76 FIG member countries have appointed national delegates to Commission 3. The support from the member associations does not seem so bad, but in actuality less than half of these 50 delegates make any contribution to the commission at all.


North America

South and Latin America




All delegates







Active delegates





In addition we have other contributors listed as correspondents. This list is a bit harder to keep updated, but it consists mainly of people who have attended our commission meetings, contributed with papers in our sessions or who has asked to be put on our mailing list. There are 38 people on this list and the distribution is as follows.


North America

South and Latin America










The main challenge of the commission is to get better representation outside Europe. It is important to utilise the local support we get through Working Weeks, like the one in South Africa. The commission is aiming at having an annual meeting in Africa in 2001.

Annual meeting 1999 in Budapest

The commission had its annual meeting and seminar in Budapest in October last year with 83 participants of which 31 came from outside Hungary. The seminar was opened with key-notes given by Jaime Vazquez-Caro from The World Bank and Fritz Rembold from FAO.

The Hungarian Society of Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing had put in quite an effort to make this meeting a memorable event. It was a success as well on the technical side with 35 papers as on the social side with sightseeing and get together activities.

We had a commission meeting on Saturday which 18 participants attended.

Working Week 2000 in Prague

The Working Week in Prague in May is the next milestone for the commission. We are involved in three sessions with 7 papers.

Economic Commission of Africa.

In late June the Commission Chair represented FIG at the first meeting of the Committee on Development Information (CODI) in Addis Ababa.

The sub-committee on geo-information expressed interest in co-operation with FIG, ISPRS and ICA. At the end of the meeting the sub-committee came up with five resolutions among them one on capacity building. This resolution recommended FIG, ICA, ISPRS and ECA in co-operation to hold two seminars/workshops in 2000-2001, one in Anglophone and one in Francophone Africa.


In October Robin McLaren (chair of WG 3.3) represented FIG at a Regional workshop on "Land Survey & Large-Scale Mapping in Support of Settlement Planning, Land Development and Management" at the United Nations Offices in Nairobi, hosted by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlement (Habitat) and the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD). The workshop was aimed at enhancing and strengthening the basic tools and instruments for the effective functioning and sustained socio-economic and environmental management of cities and towns in Africa.

2. Work plan (up-dates)

There is one change to the commission work plan. In Sun City the Commission decided to follow the request from the Bureau on co-operation with UNCHS(Habitat). Because of this the name and the objectives of WG 3.3 has been adjusted.

3. Annual Meeting

As mentioned above there will be a annual meeting in Athens, Greece in October this year including a workshop on - Spatial Data Infrastructure.

4. Other commission meetings and events

The Tenth Conference of the Polish Association for Spatial Information (June 2000) is an Commission 3 co-sponsored event.

5. Working Groups

In Brighton three working groups where established. The following status is the reports made up by the WG chairs.

WG 3.1: Spatial information management: technical approaches (Chryssi Potsiou)

Working group 3.1 is responsible for the Athens 2000 Workshop "Spatial Information Management-Experiences and Visions for the 21st Century" to be held 4-7 October.The Workshop will last three days, 4-6 October 2000. During the Workshop, there will be: the Commission 3 annual meeting, a technical tour, technical exhibition and social events.

It will be hosted by KTIMATOLOGIO S.A., the Technical Chamber of Greece, the Department of Rural and Surveying Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), the Hellenic Association of Rural and Surveying Engineers, and the Department of Rural and Surveying Engineering of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Special attention will be paid to all issues that Commission 3 deals with: Spatial Information Management-technical approaches, Spatial Data Infrastructure, Facilitating Spatial Information and Knowledge Management for Decision Support through appropriate organizational, political and business structure.

WG 3.2: Spatial data infrastructure (Bernd Theichert)

The WG 3.2 is still working on discussion papers about "National Spatial Data Infrastructure" (NSDI) challenges and on one comparative paper/framework. In Budapest the Commission decided to create some guidelines respectively a questionnaire about NSDI which than will be send to all the delegates and correspondents of Commission 3. In cooperation with Harlan Onsrud (Maine/USA) we will combine the GSDI activities with our objectives. Therefore I am working on a new questionnaire based on Harlan's "NSDI-On-Line-Questionnaire" by adding some more specific questions, mainly technical ones. This new questionnaire shall be send to all delegates and correspondents of FIG Commission 3 in spring this year. Out of the possible answers we will choose some cases for further investigations.

WG 3.3: Facilitating spatial information and knowledge management for decision support in Urban Management in Countries in Transition and Developing Countries (Robin McLaren & Rob Mahoney).

Objective of Working Group: To create Best Practice Guidelines for 'Spatial information and knowledge management for decision support in Urban Management' based on a set of 6 case studies that would be included in the Habitat's 'Best Practices in Improving the Living Environment' database. This activity has been agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding recently agreed between UNCHS(Habitat) and FIG.

Proposed Approach

The initial planning stage will identify an initial maximum of 6 Case Studies for investigation. These will be limited to the African continent and will cover best practice in a wide number of Urban Management areas where spatial information and knowledge would be supportive.
The adopted Case Studies will be analysed to identify and classify the lessons learned.
A joint Habitat / FIG Best Practice workshop will then be run to analyse the Case Studies and generate consensus on the derived Best Practice.
The results of the workshop will be published as a set of Best Practice Guidelines; as hardcopy and also as entries in Habitat's 'Best Practices in Improving the Living Environment' database.

  • Co-ordination Habitat/FIG meeting June 2000
  • Initiate Case Study analyses July 2000
  • Joint Habitat/FIG workshop February 2001
  • Publish Best Practice October 2001


  • Joint FIG / Habitat workshop on spatial information & knowledge management in Urban Management in Developing Countries and Countries in Transition.
  • Associated set of Case Studies and Best Practice Guidelines; as hardcopy and also as entries in Habitat's 'Best Practices in Improving the Living Environment' database

Current Status

The Working Group is waiting for the Memorandum of Agreement between UN Habitat and FIG to be signed and the project activated by UNCHS(Habitat). The original schedule has slipped by 6 months.

6. Forthcoming events

Annual meetings in 2000 in Athens and in 2001 in Africa or in Austria. The venue for the 2001 event is depending on funds and possible co-operation with UN or a national aid agency.

7. Information (website)

The Commission 3 and 7 Newsletter was published in August 1999 and in March 2000. It is distributed to more than 500 addresses worldwide and it is also available on the Internet.

The Commission 3 homepage is available on: http://fig3.boku.ac.at.

Jes Ryttersgaard
Chair, FIG Commission 3, Spatial Information Management

29 February 2000

This page is maintained by the FIG Office. Last revised on 15-01-08.