FIG Young Surveyors Network: Geospatial Agents of Change

FIG Young Surveyors Network: Geospatial Agents of Change

Reclaiming the Future by Mapping the New World

With geospatial information being more important now than ever, location-based data is the key to solving the societal challenges of our time. Young geospatial and surveying professionals especially sit in the driving seat towards the goal of meeting the most urgent global and local challenges with location-based information and analysis. But we cannot do it alone. Resilience, collaboration and global networks are the key to unlocking our sustainable common future. The FIG Young Surveyors Network provides a platform for young geospatial professionals from all over the globe to share, learn, network and take action.

The FIG Young Surveyors Network (YSN)

TheFIG Young Surveyors Network (YSN) is a vibrant network of students and young professionals from all around the world who study and work within the global surveying community. A young surveyor is defined as a person 35 years old or younger, who is a student of surveying/related studies or graduated with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in surveying/related studies less than ten years ago.

The FIG YSN was established at the FIG Congress in Munich in 2006. The network contributes to the work of FIG and its 10 commissions and ensures that young surveyors are well represented and active in the FIG commissions. The network has organized various events all over the world, with some of these being recognized by –and others organized in cooperation with –leading bodies such as UN-Habitat, the World Bank, FAO, CLGE, etc. These collaborations and partnerships are key in highlighting our generation’s place as ambassadors and agents of change. Cooperating with world-leading businesses and sponsors enables us to inform about and show future and up-to-date technology. Our media presence through publishing various articles, statements and comments in magazines, social media and forums creates worldwide recognition.

5th FIG Young Surveyors Conference: Social Distancing Edition.

The YSN Purpose, Vision and Workplan

The FIG YSNaddresses the need to represent young surveyors within FIG and to ensure FIG activities are meeting the needs of students and young professionals. To keep up with the changing times, each FIG term has a vision. The vision of the current FIG term is to inspire the next generation of surveyors. To reach this goal, our workplan builds on five initiatives: Partnerships, Communication, Events, Development, and Outreach. Each of these initiatives has a purpose and an outcome to be achieved through one or more projects, all aimed at achieving our vision for 2019 to 2020. Key among these are the scaling up of the Volunteer Community Surveyor Programme (VCSP) geared towards increasing volunteerism among young surveyors, and the Mapping the Plastic initiative undertaken in partnership with FIG Commission 4.

5th Young Surveyors Conference, Amsterdam

In advancement of our goal to bring young surveyors all over the world closer together, the FIG YSN organizes meetings in the various regions, as well as a Young Surveyors’ Conference biennially. In 2019, the third Young Surveyors’ Asia and the Pacific Meeting (3YSAPM) was held together with the 2019 FIG Working Week in Hanoi, and the second Young Surveyors’ African Meeting (2YSAM) took place in Dakar plus, significantly, the first meeting of the Young Surveyors Latin American Network was held. This year, the 5thYoung Surveyors Conference (5YSC) was set to take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 9-10 May. The two-day event was planned to provide an environment for young surveyors from all over the world to meet, share, re-orient and discuss the issues facing their future, including their crucial role in protecting our countries against the impact of urbanization and climate change and the resulting sea-level rise. Various keynotes, presentations, demonstrations and workshops related to smart surveying techniques and our contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were planned. Being young surveyors, we must contribute to challenges such as these in line with our mission: reclaim the future by mapping the new world!

Indeed, young surveyors from all over the globe would have experienced first-hand how the Dutch fought the sea and managed to build a densely populated coastal country which has nearly half the total land area below sea level. However, COVID-19 happened...

4th Young Surveyors’ Conference (4YSC), Istanbul 2018.

First of its kind: YSN Social Distancing Edition

Being resilient and looking ahead to new possibilities and global partnerships without borders, the YSN saw a new opportunity to host the ‘5thYoung Surveyors’ Conference (5YSC) Social Distancing Edition’ on 9 May 2020. In the true spirit of global partnerships, young surveyors around the globe gathered digitally and took up the challenge to organize the ‘5YSC Social Distancing Edition’ in four different time zones: Asia and the Pacific zone at 9.00 a.m. (UTC+8), African and European zone at 9.00 a.m. (UTC+1), Latin American zone at 9.00 a.m. (UTC-3), and the North American zone at 9.00 a.m. (UTC-6). The two common themes that will run through all four zones are ‘Integrated and Smart Land and Water Management’ and ‘The Professional Development of Young Surveyors’. Young surveyors and indeed all surveyors from around the globe are invited to join any or all of these sessions!

The Asia and the Pacific zone (9.00 a.m. UTC+8)

The keynotes in the Asia and the Pacific zone will feature a talk about the Humla, Karnali: Trails & Infrastructure Mapping for Emergency Preparedness and Response, a project that uses OpenStreetMap and GPS mapper tools to collect local trails and infrastructure information to aid with the provision of services. This is very much linked to the FIG vision of volunteering for the future. The second keynote in this zone with feature a talk on the Mapping the Plastic initiative run jointly by YSN and FIG Commission 4. On the aspect of the professional development of young surveyors, there will be three presentations: the management of disruption with soft skills, innovation to adapt to the changing world to become relevant, as well as the education and learning styles in surveying, with the latter being a product of a partnership with FIG Commission 2.

The African and European zone (9.00 a.m. UTC+1)

The African and European zone will also place focus on smart land and water management and the professional development of young surveyors. A keynote on Mapping the Plastic and a presentation on ocean mapping and the SDGs will provide the link between the SDGs and water management. These, together with a presentation on the advances in the Land Administration Domain Model (LADM) and the Drowned Land project, will tie together the two aspects of land and water management. The second keynote on ‘The Future of the Ever-evolving Surveying and Mapping Profession’ sheds light on the professional development of young surveyors. The conference in this time zone will end with a panel discussion, which will feature the presenters as well as other invited panellists under the title ‘Smart Land and Water Management’.

The African and European zone will also place focus on smart land and water management and the professional development of young surveyors.

The Latin American zone (9.00 a.m. UTC-3)

The Latin American zone will focus on the role of surveyors in disasters, volunteering and professional development. On disasters, there will be presentations on the comprehensive survey for emergency care as a result of hurricane impact on the electrical systems, the adoption of 3D scanners for the inspection of tanks and electrical generators after an earthquake, as well as the impact of the Maule earthquake on the activities of farmers. Further talks will deal with the new opportunities provided for volunteering in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic through virtual geo-volunteering as well as a young surveyor’s wonderful experience as a recipient of the FIG Foundation Grant.

The North American zone (9.00 a.m. UTC-6)

The North American zone will also focus on the general areas of integrated land and water management and professional development for young surveyors. Two keynotes at the meeting will cover smart surveyors and the road to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals with 10 years left to go. Other presentations will cover implementation of the LADM, a demonstration of software by Esri, and the relevance of spatial information to environmental sciences. The last session will look at the surveyor’s role in the world. In commemoration of Earth Day, which fell on 22 April, there will be a further talk on the surveyor and the Earth. A presentation on volunteering for the future, highlighting the network’s volunteering activities and how young surveyors can give back, will wrap up the conference in the zone and indeed the conference across the globe.

Sessions for four different time zones

    • Session 1: Asia Pacific (UTC+8) Friday May 8 - 7pm MDT

    • Session 2: Europe/Africa (UTC +1) Saturday May 9 - 2am MDT

    • Session 3: Latin America (UTC -3) Saturday May 9 - 6am MDT

    • Session 4: North America (UTC -6) Saturday May 9 - 9am MDT  

Continuing the Professional Development of Young Surveyors

Based on the success of the 5YSC Social Distancing Edition, we will be looking into other digital platforms for sharing information to continue the education and professional development of young surveyors around the world! So why don’t you join us for this? Would you like to share your knowledge and ideas through our webinars? Contact us on

Join us to contribute to our common future! Broaden your knowledge, network and impact.Let us connect and learn the importance of geospatial information and its ability to serve the world.

Further Reading

FIG YSN 2019-2021 Workplan


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