The surveyor’s role in monitoring, mitigating, and adapting to climate change

FIG Task Force on Surveyors and Climate Change

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This publication is the result of extensive debates, discussions, and presentations by the FIG Task Force on Surveyors and Climate Change over the past three years. The Task Force was established at FIG’s Working Week in Marrakech, Morocco, in May 2011, to facilitate the work of the international surveying community in deliberating and better understanding how the surveying profession could contribute and assist the global community in measuring and monitoring climate change with its sciences, technologies, professional knowledge, and practices. The Task Force was chaired by Emeritus Professor John Hannah, New Zealand Institute of Surveyors and University of Otago. Its members, with their diverse backgrounds, experiences and expertise, were drawn from the global community of professional surveyors.

While individual surveyors have had a substantial involvement in climate change studies for almost three decades, it wasn’t until 2002 that climate change issues became a formal part of the deliberations within the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG). The initial emphasis was on climate change and sustainable development – an emphasis that lead to a number of FIG publications and declarations. These were then followed by a series of initiatives that were substantially focused on how the coastal and marine environment should be managed in the light of likely future climate change. In 2008, an FIG working group was formed to investigate spatial planning in coastal regions. This working group, in producing its report in 2010, noted that from a surveyor’s perspective climate change issues were not restricted to the coastal zone alone, but rather were diverse and cut across many other dimensions of the surveyors’ professional activities.

The FIG Task Force on Surveyors and Climate Change set out both to explore and report on where and how surveyors could assist the global community in measuring and monitoring climate change, and also to elaborate on the part that they could play in adapting to climate change and helping to mitigate its impacts. This publication provides a detailed summary of how the professional skills of the surveyor can be leveraged to help the global community as it grapples with the climate change issue. In reading the document it becomes clear that in many regards surveyors are not only the custodians of enabling technologies that are critically important to understanding climate change impacts, but that by virtue of their multi-disciplinary skills, they provide the bridge across the divide that can often exist between those who work in the natural sciences versus those working in the social sciences. It is thus a document that covers a broad spectrum of thoughts and practice, bringing about the convergence of the spatial and societal aspects of climate change.

The efforts of the Task Force are to be applauded and appreciated. We acknowledge the efforts and contributions of the authors in providing such a comprehensive document. It is our hope that it will not only spur surveyors on to a greater contribution to climate change studies, but that it will also alert global agencies as to the knowledge and resources that the surveying profession can bring to the table as climate change policy responses are developed.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCopenhagen
PublisherInternational Federation of Surveyors (FIG)
Number of pages72
ISBN (Electronic)9788792853271
ISBN (Print)9788792853264
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014

Publication series

NameFIG Report
ISSN (Print)1018-6530
ISSN (Electronic)2311-8423


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