From Bulb to Flower, the Road towards FIG2020(+1)

From Bulb to Flower, the Road towards FIG2020(+1)

From the Perspective of the Local Organising Committee

The tulips have been our signature symbol for the FIG Working Week in Amsterdam in 2020. We included this symbol wherever possible: in the logo of FIG2020, in our images and of course with the orange stickers on the badges. The timing of the Working Week would have allowed you to visit the flower fields, or to buy tulip bulbs in any colour you desired and to plant them for the years to come as a reminder of FIG2020.

Our Local Organising Committee (LOC) was looking forward to welcoming you with a specially designed ‘Tulip Entrance’. Hosting the event would have given us the opportunity to see our dreams and creativity come to fruition after several years of preparation and teamwork. We were looking forward to seeing our tulip-themed FIG2020 bloom.

In 2015 our ‘tulip bulb’ was planted. That was the year that we started our preparation to host the FIG Working Week in the Netherlands. The national association GIN, Kadaster, ITC faculty of University of Enschede and Geomares joined forces to express their interest to welcome the FIG community to the Netherlands. The General Assembly favoured the proposal from the Netherlands and the journey towards 2020 officially started.

LOC of the FIG Working Week Amsterdam at the handover in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Support from GIN, Kadaster and ITC (University of Twente)

Each year the preparations progressed and started to take shape. The ideas were plentiful, and the team grew with colleagues from different backgrounds and various organisations. GIN, Kadaster and ITC provided the foundation for the LOC to prepare the event. All three have been FIG members for many years. One of the goals of organizing the event in the Netherlands was to strengthen our geo-sector internationally. Through GIN, we can talk to the right organizations and people in the Netherlands. Kadaster is presenting the latest innovations in geo-related services, which are highly regarded abroad. ITC is part of a Dutch university (Twente), but completely focused on teaching foreign students. Using their expertise, the ITC colleagues take care of building the interactive congress programme and knowledge sessions. Rijkswaterstaat, HAS Den Bosch, Esri, ministries, VGI and others also supported their staff to help with the preparations.

Smart Surveyors for Land and Water Management

By bringing the Working Week to the Netherlands, we wanted to highlight the role of the surveyor in land and water management: a topic close to both our history and our future. How to build and manage a densely populated coastal country with a land area of which nearly half is below sea level? We have done so for centuries. And it is even more crucial today when we have to protect our country against the impact of climate change causing sea-level rise. Therefore the theme ‘Smart Surveyors for Land & Water Management’ was chosen.

This theme is relevant for both the Netherlands and internationally in a world where drinking water is a scarce resource, where waste water needs to be recycled rather than seen as waste, where the sea needs to be better mapped and managed, where land resources need to be protected against sea-level rise, and where land-based freshwater habitats are threatened.

The theme was divided into the following three subthemes allowing dedicated plenary sessions and focused sessions in the technical programme to contribute to the further development of the profession.

Smart Surveyors

Rapid urban growth, smart energy, cleaner mobility and ‘land rights for all’ are some of the challenges demanding innovative surveying approaches and technologies. Sensing technologies, spatial data processing technologies and related approaches are already available. Use and improve them to become future-proof, smart surveyors!

Integrated Land and Water Management

Without integrated land and water management, the Netherlands - as well as other coastal countries - cannot sustain its agricultural and urban development. Climate change, though, increases the risks of sea and riverine floods and extended drought periods and complicates this management task. Unorthodox measures are called for. Get familiar with these measures and discuss them from your critical surveyor perspective.

Ten years to go to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

The countdown begins: only one decade to go to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all and surveying professionals have a key role to play. How did we, as surveyors, contribute to ending poverty, improving health and education, reducing inequality, and spurring economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests? In addition, what will be our role for the coming 10 years?

We will see our tulip bloom in the spring of 2021, and in memory of its history we will brand this tulip FIG2020+1.

A very special gesture from Ghana

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to change our plans. Instead of continuing with the preparations, we needed to adjust quickly and take our responsibility with FIG to guide this process, including the cancellation, in the best way possible. Meanwhile the LOC members tried to keep their heads up high, trying to focus on the energy it had already sparked in the geo-community in the Netherlands. The plan was to save all plans for any future FIG or national event in the Netherlands.

When we received the generous proposal from Ghana, we could not believe it. We know that their decision to offer us the opportunity to host the FIG Working Week in 2021 was not easy and not taken lightly. Like us, they have already dedicated quite some time to hosting that event and serious effort has been put into the preparations and promotion.

In times like these, it is extra special to see and feel the connection and support of the FIG family to face the challenges jointly and to come up with unusual solutions, like your generous and heartfelt proposal.

One year to go until our FIG tulip blooms

We embraced this unexpected opportunity and put everything in motion to explore the options. Together with our partners GIN, Kadaster and ITC, we confirmed our willingness to continue with the preparations. Our LOC members are very pleased that they can continue their efforts and that their ideas and plans can still be carried out.

We will see our tulip bloom in the spring of 2021, and in memory of its history we will brand this tulip FIG2020+1.

Next week you will get a glimpse of what was in store for you at the FIG Working Week. We hope that, despite the fact that this Working Week cannot take place, you will all be and remain in good health and we hope you will enjoy this front-row seat.

Local Organising Team of FIG2020

Dutch tulip fields in bloom, captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 . (Source: ESA)
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