The commissions, under the guidance of their chairs, are responsible for pursuing FIG’s professional and technical objectives, through the implementation of work plans that are adopted by the General Assembly following the FIG Congress and culminate with the delivery of technical programmes at the following congress.

Between them, they cover all the activities listed in the FIG definition of a surveyor. Most appoint working groups to progress specific aspects of their work.

Each commission chair works with the assistance of a Chair Elect and Vice Chairs and a Vice Chair of Administration. Commission Chair and Vice Chairs (working group chairs) serve for a four-year term (Chair Elect for two years), which starts at the beginning of the year that follows the congress and concludes at the end of year of the next congress. Member associations may each appoint one delegate to each commission. Affiliates, academic members and corporate members are encouraged to appoint a correspondent to all commissions of their interest.

In addition to delivering the technical programmes at congresses and Working Weeks, commissions and their working groups organise other seminars and conferences on technical and professional topics, either individually or jointly (usually in collaboration with an FIG member association or an allied international professional society). Commissions also seek opportunities for participating in events sponsored by United Nations or other funding agency, with a view to assisting professional development in developing countries and those in economic transition.