FIG Standards Network

"A simple inspection of still-existing Roman roads, aqueducts and canals shows that the Romans were exceptionally skilled engineers. Shoe sizes provide a person’s shoe fitting size. There are many different shoe-size systems used in the world today. Wi-Fi is a family of wireless networking technologies, commonly used for local area networking of devices and Internet access.
But what do Roman roads, shoe sizes and Wi-Fi have to do with surveying and indeed FIG? Surprisingly they have a lot in common…"

Standards have existed for thousands of years. For example, the first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The ruts created by the Roman chariots were then used by all other wagons. These ruts later became a gauge for laying the first railway lines.

Modern standards started with the obvious things like weights and measures. However, they have since evolved to permeate virtually all aspects of our lives. Today there are standards that cover everything from the shoes sizes and screw threads, to the Wi-Fi networks that connect us to each other. These international standards ensure that customers and consumers can have confidence that the products and services they use are safe, reliable and of good quality.

What are the economic benefits of standards?From a macroeconomic standpoint, standardisation directly contributes to the growth in the French economy. Standardisation contributes an average of 0.81% per year, or almost 25% of GDP growth. This is in line with figures for other technological leading countries, such as Germany and the United Kingdom.” (The Economic Impact of Standardisation – Technological Change, Standards Growth in France, AFNOR June 2009)

Organisations and businesses fulfil a societal need. They succeed when they satisfy the needs, requirements and expectations of their stakeholders. Stakeholders are the people and groups that have a special interest or concern in the enterprise. They include government, suppliers, society, employees, customers, etc ... The customer is a special stakeholder. The customer is the person, or organisation that gets a product or service - the one who pays. Only the customer can decide if products or services are satisfactory. Customers require quality products and services delivered on time and at a cost that provides value for money. Standards provide quality.

What are characteristics of quality? Quality products and services are reliable, functional, durable, secure, available, and traceable.  Quality services reflect competence, responsiveness, integrity, reliability, credibility. Quality is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfils a set of requirements: a requirement being a need or expectation that is stated, generally implied or obligatory.  Read more in the GeoConnexion article

Welcome to FIG Standards Network

The Network sees itself as at the hub of FIG standardisation activity, making the necessary linkages and providing the necessary advice to commissions and others. The terms of reference of the Network set out in the FIG Guide on Standardisation are:

  • Building and maintaining relations with the secretariats of standardisation bodies,
  • Proposing priorities on FIG’s standardisation activities, including advising the Council on priorities for spending,
  • Setting up necessary Liaison relationships with standardisation bodies,
  • Ensuring that lead contacts to Technical Committees etc. are in place,
  • Maintaining an information flow on standardisation to FIG members, including through the FIG website, and more directly to relevant Commission Officers,
  • Maintaining the Standards Guide, and related material on the FIG website,
  • Working with other NGOs, within the framework of the MOUs signed by the Council,
  • Advising FIG’s officers and members on standardisation activities as necessary.


What standards are FIG involved in?

ISO/TC211 Geographic information/Geomatics

ISO/TC211 is involved with Standardization in the field of digital geographic information. It aims to establish a structured set of standards for information concerning objects or phenomena that are directly or indirectly associated with a location relative to the Earth. These standards may specify, for geographic information, methods, tools and services for data management (including definition and description), acquiring, processing, analyzing, accessing, presenting and transferring such data in digital/electronic form between different users, systems and locations. The work links to appropriate standards for information technology and data where possible, and provides a framework for the development of sector-specific applications using geographic data. More

ISO 19152:2012 Land Administration Domain Model (LADM)

The standard provides a formal language for describing traditional land administration methods, spot the similarities and differences. This Standard grew out of the Commission 7 work on the Core Cadastral Domain Model. It was accepted into the ISO/TC 211 work programme in 2008. It facilitates the efficient set-up of land administration and can function as the core of any land administration system. LADM is flexible, widely applicable and functions as a central source of state-of-the-art international knowledge on this topic. LADM is of one of the first spatial domain standards. More


ISO/TC 172 SC6 Survey Instrument Standards

ISO/TC 172 SC6 provides a comprehensive coverage of standards related to surveying instruments and their accessories including: handheld laser distance meters, levels, theodolites, EDM measurements to reflectors, total stations, GNSS field measurement systems in real-time kinematic (RTK), terrestrial laser scanners etc. More

  • ISO 12858 Series Ancillary Devices for Geodetic Instruments
  • ISO 16331 Series Laboratory  Procedures for Testing Surveying and Construction Instruments 
  • ISO 17123 Field Procedures for Testing Geodetic and Surveying Instruments
  • ISO 9849 Series Geodetic and Surveying Instruments

International Property Measurement Standards Coalition (IPMS)

At present, the way property assets – such as homes, offices or shopping centres – are measured varies dramatically. For example, in some parts of the world it is established practice to include common space (lift shafts; communal hallways etc) in floor area measurements; in others off-site parking might be included or even swimming pools.

The International Property Measurement Standards Coalition (IPMSC) is an international group of professional and not-for-profit organisations working together to develop and embed a single property measurement standard. A Standard will ensure that property assets are measured in a consistent way, creating a more transparent marketplace, greater public trust, stronger investor confidence, and increased market stability. More


International Land Measurement Standard (ILMS)

The International Land Measurement Standard (ILMS) is an international principle-based standard for recording and reporting information and material relevant to land and property transfers.

ILMS is a due diligence framework and standard for land and real property surveying that supports a sustainable future both for people and legal entities. ILMS is both a standard and a due diligence framework to enable evidence-based assessment of land and property and is designed to address the current lack of transparency in land rights and land interests. ILMS recognises gender equality and pro-poor issues when gathering field information on legitimate land ownership and is also deeply connected and complimentary to other globally relevant standard and frameworks in the land acquisition and transaction space. More


International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) 

ICMS is a global standard for benchmarking and reporting of construction project cost and covers both capital and whole life costing while providing a way of presenting costs in a consistent format.

Research from the World Economic Forum has shown that improvements in the design and construction process can be achieved by using international standards like ICMS to gain comparable and consistent data. ICMS provides a high-level structure and format for classifying, defining, measuring, recording, analysing and presenting construction and other life-cycle costs.

This will promote consistency and transparency across international boundaries, which in turn will lead to more confidence to increase global investment in construction projects. More


Standards in Hydrography

FIG Commission 4’s involvement with the update of IHO Document S-44 Standards of Hydrography is now complete. We have reviewed and analysed initial user feedback, contributed technical expertise and advice to the S-44 Working Group and provided feedback on some of the new chapters. The Working Group has submitted the draft to the IHO and it is (or shortly will be) out for member state consultation

WG4.1 is also an advisory member of the S-100 WG. Through this work cycle, WG 4.1 will be focussing on hydrographic surveyor competency through the active promotion of certification and assessment as well as offering assistance, advice and guidance on hydrographic standards as requested/required by IHO and other bodies. More



Surveyors as professionals must fulfil certain legal, regulatory and/or accuracy requirements for their clients. Typically, they will strive to do this in an optimal cost effective way and with the most appropriate equipment for the job at hand. Naturally, this requires a good understanding and assurance in the instrumentation employed. Clients and customers want the most from what they pay for. Legislative authorities as well as private and public companies require confidence that the services rendered are in conformity with globally accepted best practice rules.

Using internationally recognized standards is a widely accepted way of fulfilling these requirements. FIG supports and promotes Standardisation through the Standards Network.



FIG Publication 28a:


How to enhance FIG’s role in the process of creating and maintaining official standards

Purpose of this Guide

This Guide was created by the FIG Task Force on Standards, and has been updated by the FIG Standards Network, to assist the FIG Council, Commissions and Member Associations in their efforts to make a difference in standardisation activities. Standardisation activities can often seem complex or even impenetrable, and the Task Force and Network have seen one of their prime roles as filtering important information about standardisation activities and explaining how surveyors can be actively engaged in the processes.

Read the publication



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If you would like further information, or are able to assist with the work of the Network, please contact David Martin, the Network Chair.

Information on the work of the International Organization for Standardization ISO can be found on their web site.

Mr. David Martin
E-mail: martin[at]


The FIG Standard Network started as an Task Force. The Task Force was established in 1998 in response to concerns from the Commissions, the Council and the General Assembly that standards were becoming increasingly important in the work of surveyors, and that the issue was not being addressed sufficiently by FIG. The Task Force's work plan continues to develop as priorities become clearer.

The the Working Week in Washington, DC., USA in 2002, the Council decided to disband the Task Force and  continue the work on standards in FIG by a Standardisation Network.