The Fédération Internationale des Géometres (FIG) - the international federation of surveyors - held its annual Working Week, 14-18 May, in Hong Kong. The activities included the FIG General Assembly, held on 13 May. Forty five national associations made the trip to Hong Kong. Roumania is the latest country to join the organisation. However, the Bahamas, Cuba, Columbia and Zambia have all been expelled for non-payment of dues.
In sum, the organisation ended its 30th General Assembly with fewer members, but in a better financial position.
The general assembly also appointed Holger Magel as an honorary president of the organisation. This is an ex-officio position given to ex-presidents for life.
The event was hosted by the Hong Kong Institution of Surveyors.
FIG and the Institute of Navigation in the US have entered into a co-operative agreement. The agreement recognises that FIG, and especially its commission 5, has many purposes in common with ION.
The objective is to provide a framework for continuing liaison between the two organisations, in particular, for increasing the opportunities for technical exchange. The agreement document says this will lead to 'mutual sharing of knowledge and expertise to the advantage of the membership of both organisations'.
FIG Commission 5 chair Matt Higgins said that the subject matter of his commission overlaps with that of ION. The main difference is that FIG is a multinational organisation. ION is mainly US-operated and controlled, although it does have a number of international members.
The Working Week was a particular focus for surveyors in this region.
The event was an opportunity to remind delegates that FIG's four yearly congress, FIG 2010, will be held in Sydney in April that year - the first time it has been held in the Asia Pacific region since 1994. Extensive planning has already begun for the event.
There can be little doubt it will be the most significant event on the calendar in 2010. The congress is likely to bring between 2000 and 3000 surveyors, and their partners, to Sydney. Both local government and vice-regal powers are already making plans, including a civic reception in the Town Hall and functions at the Sydney Opera House.
At the other end of the scale, individual surveyors are being invited to host 'home visits' for some delegates to the congress. This would give these visitors a chance to experience some 'home-grown' hospitality.