As the excitement for the FIG Working Week, to be held from 22 – 26 April 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam, builds up, we are glad to share an exclusive interview with Dr Chryssy A. Potsiou, President, FIG.
What’s the focus of FIG conference 2019?
Every four years we have the FIG conference, where we present all our achievements over the last four years. With the theme, “Geospatial information for a smarter life and environmental resilience,” this time, the message is that to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it is not enough to develop geospatial information and have it available. We also need to enable the society to use this information, to improve the usability of this information and of our land tools.
So the major focus is that we see how to enable the society, all the people, to achieve this transformation because to be geospatial is a big transformation. So we need to enable the society to use the available data, to use the available information, to use available policies, to adopt available policies in order to achieve our goals.
How is FIG enabling the progress of surveying?
In the recent decade, the surveying profession has acquired a bigger and greater acknowledgment and both citizens and governments have realized the value of our profession and value of geospatial data. They are all talking at the moment about geospatial information and its value for the economy for the society and for the environment. So our profession has a big opportunity and we need to take this responsibility and try to change the whole world because everybody is expecting from us more and more.
Our role is to improve the profession at all places in the world. Our role is to contribute to the global Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. Our role is to work closely with governments, and the United Nations, so that we can transfer our experience and make things as viable as possible for the achievement of the SDGs because all the states have agreed that by 2030, we will eradicate extreme poverty.
So our role is to communicate this to our members and to the grass root surveyors. And also to those who work closely with them so that we all together coordinate ourselves and have the best results. So what we are trying to do is work very closely with the United Nations and World Bank and FAO to help them develop indicators, measure the progress, measure how governments are and improve the value of our products, geospatial information, and land tools.
Which new technologies the surveying industry is focusing on?
UAVs, 3D for smart cities, Internet of Things, this is all we are focusing on now. Everybody is using new technologies, new mobile phones, so we have to develop mobile services for the people, also we have to take advantage of the Internet of Things. We in FIG are talking about the very important Cadastre 4.0. So when you already have the geospatial infrastructure, then you can also take advantage of the information provided by sensors everywhere either by mobile phones that people use or by sensors that are adjusted on the ground or on tools and we can have valuable information that will allow us good governance.
How vital is ‘collaboration’ for effective outcomes?
Collaboration is very important because we need to exchange experience and knowledge. Every day technologies are improving, so we need to develop our skills as better as possible to take advantage of new low-cost technology to make our products reliable and affordable.
And of course, we also have to collaborate with other professions to develop a common language. It is also because at the moment everybody can use the technology, but surveyors have developed specific skills in the management of land and in the management of geospatial information.
So we have to stay together to make our skills very visible to others who are also involved in the management of land, real estate, and property markets so that we will be aware of their needs and know how we can contribute and support their needs.
Collaboration between academics and industry is also very important. At FIG, we are trying to bring together the professionals, practitioners, governments, and academics. We have all these as our members.
We have member associations in FIG who are professionals in various countries, the Cadastre & mapping agencies and people from the government. We also have corporate members from the industry and academic members from the Universities. We develop our policies together. We cooperate with FIG commission and commission chairs, and then we produce our tools, strategy, and then try to cooperate with UN, and promote our achievements there.
You are the first woman to head FIG, is that significant in a profession usually dominated by men?
Yes, I’m the first woman, it is important. I come from a country, where when I was a student, the ratio between men and women was 10:1. But now, at the university where I teach, we have more than 60% women than men. I think it is really important for gender issues. It is really the image I think is important for women all over the world to see that if I can do it, everybody can do it.
I’m confident that women all around the world have now developed this mentality, they feel equal, and nothing can stop women today 🙂