FIG Task Force on Spatially Enabled Societies


The Council has decided in February 2009 to establish a new short term Task Force with the aim to explore the issue of Spatially Enabled Societies (SES) from a cadastral and surveyor’s point of view. Dr. Daniel Steudler from Switzerland has been appointed to chair this task force. The results of the Task Force will be published in a report that will be launched at the FIG Congress 2010.

Project Idea

It is proposed to establish a short term Task Force (TF) with the aim to explore the issue of Spatially Enabled Societies (SES) from a cadastral and surveyor’s point of view. The purpose is to identify the role of the profession, how it can provide for a spatially enabled society and to make recommendations. The TF should attempt to take different regional perceptions on board and to reflect them. The context would have to take different economic and social situations into account, developed as well as developing countries.

The expected result of this task force is to develop a comprehensive FIG position paper on SES (about 20 pages), and 4-5 regional reflections of 2-4 pages each. This will be launched as a FIG publication at the Congress in Sydney 2010.


The 13th PCGIAP meeting in 2007 concluded with the statement that “A spatially enabled government is one that has ready access to the spatial or geographic or location based information and associated technologies that it requires and is applying these productively to government decision making, including developing policy and supporting its own business processes”. In analogy, societies can be considered as spatially enabled “where location and spatial information are regarded as common goods made available to citizens and businesses to encourage creativity and product development” and so informed can participate in the decision-making and governance process.

The Bathurst Declaration established the dependency between sustainable development and land administration and made the clear statement that "sustainable development needs sound land administration". Often the term "Land Management" is being used in this context as illustrated in the following figure.

The Land Management Paradigm

EuroGeographics, in their vision document “Cadastre and Land Registration in Europe in 2012”, identify the trends and developments in two complementing directions. Accordingly, the field of C&LR is to provide security of ownership – through an established and reliable cadastral system – and based on the same information to provide geodata and services to the market. The contribution and role of the cadastre in this structure is to collect, maintain and update authentic and official data in reliable registers. This concerns mainly private- and public-law rights and restrictions, as well as official and basic geodata serving multiple public purposes, such as geo-referenced addresses. In doing so, the cadastre can contribute to sustainable development through multiple services based on reliable information.

It is important for the surveying profession and for the cadastral institutions to recognize their roles in this context. Only with this awareness, the profession can develop itself, foresee opportunities and prepare for the future.

Proposed Time Schedule

March 2009 Informal discussion of next steps to be taken and to agree on potential TF members (at the FIG/WB conference in Washington DC)
May 2009 Meeting of TF, preparation of position paper and how to get regional input (at FIG Working Week in Eilat, Israel)
June-August 2009 Regional input (through regional contributors)
July-September 2009 Feedback of regional contributors to be circulated among TF members
October 2009 Position paper finalized by TF members
December 2009  Final text by regional contributors
January 2010 Editing and finalizing of extended paper
April 2010 Launching of publication at the FIG Congress in Sydney


The Task Force was chaired by Daniel Steudler and supported by several key persons including Stig Enemark, CheeHai Teo, Ian Williamson and Abbas Rajabifard. The cooperation with Abbas Rajabifard as President of GSDI was very fruitful in terms of cooperation with sister organizations of the FIG. The following experts contributed to the final publication:

Daniel Steudler

Abbas Rajabifard
Serene Ho

Jude Wallace

Jürg Kaufmann
Matt Higgins

Paul van der Molen
(The Netherlands)

Robin McLaren
(Scotland, UK)

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