News in 2024

FIG Working Week 2024 report

Accra, Ghana, 19-23 May 2024

Ghanaian warmth and hospitality

In an unusual warm Accra where the aircons worked on overspeed, around 900 surveyors, geospatial experts, valuers and other professions within and related to surveying, from a total of 83 countries, met in the wonderful city of Accra. The Working Week took place at La Palm Hotel and Conference Centre which is located directly at the sea side close to the city centre of Accra. Sessons were held in the conference centre and in a special "plenary tent" that was built for the occasion located next to the Exhibition tent.

The Working Week consisted of three conference days, pre- and post-events, technical tours, FIG General Assembly (read the General Assembly report) and a number of networking, technical and social events. Under the overall theme of "Your World, Our World: Resilient Environment and Sustainable Resource Management for All" around 80 sessions, plenary, technical and other sessions were helds.

Especially remarkable was the opening which was attended by the esteemed President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, showing how central the agendas and topics of the surveying profession as well as of FIG and the national associations are for Ghana. His opening address was remarkable and is used as the Article of the Month in June 2024 with a foreword by FIG President Diane Dumashie. Another remarkable and unique highlight was the plenary session with a focus on land related issues from the view of Traditional Leaders of Africa with a remarkable attendance by Traditional Leaders from Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia, which was followed by a special session.

Worth noting was a unique legacy project planned by the FIG Task Force on "The Surveyor's Profession: Evolutionary Diversity and Inclusion", chaired by Stephen Djaba, who had arranged for a "Globe of Tomorrow" Commissioned at Services Primary school at Burns Camp, Accra. This will mark a lasting remembrance of the FIG Working Week in Accra and will hopefully inspire students to the profession in the future. This project was planned to be the first of more similar projects to come. Read more in this report.
See broadcast video from this special event: FIG Legacy School project

Another highlight was the special focus on the SDGs, led by the Task Force on FIG and the SDGs which included the identification of SDG goals involved in each session. The plenary tent was decorated with posters, sponsored by LE34, showcasing the SDG goals that are especially relevant to each FIG Commission.

Creative solutions were found where needed. The shuttle buses that were transporting attendees to and from hotels, technical tours etc were suddenly useful on-site when a fierce thunderstorm rolled over the area, transporting attendees between the plenary and exhibition tents and the main building. La Palm conference had to move the outside parts of the lunch inside in last minute changing session rooms to lunch areas - giving some further challenges to the following sessions... But all worked.

A special thanks goes to the sponsors and special partners (see the list of sponsors) as well as the exhibitors. Without them this event would not be possible.

Akwaaba to Ghana - Opening ceremony

A festive opening was organised to greet all the attendees coming from a total of 83 countries. The opening took place in the "Plenary tent" which was filled with expectant and excited participants. A Ghanaian dancing group entertained the audience until the actual opening ceremony started. Among the photos in the photo album there are many pictures with arriving attendees and from the plenary tent. The dancing group managed to activate several international participants and to teach them some good Ghanaian moves.

The waiting time was over when the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo arrived and the dancers concentrated on accompanying him to his seat in front of the scene. Master of Ceremony and Co-Conference Director, Steven Djaba, welcomed everyone to Ghana - Akwaaba. He competently and smoothly led the audience through the opening ceremony starting with the two presidents of the national associations and hosts of the Working Week, Dr. Anthony Arko Adjei, Ghanaian Institution of Surveyors, GhIS, and Surv. Ing. Samuel Larbi Darko Licenced Surveyors of Ghana, LISAG.

Africa Union was represented by Ms. Nsama Nsemiwe Chikolwa who talked about good land governance in Africa and the importance of inviting the world to Ghana. FIG President Diane Dumashie was pleased that this particular Working Week took place in Ghana, her fatherland, and said "Hosting the conference in Ghana is special, spotlighting Africa’s abundant resources and the special role the continent has to play in tackling climate change; yet ensuring All African people are fairly recognised on the global stage".

Survey and Geospatial professionals bear a unique responsibility to steer the world toward greater climate resilience and sustainable growth. She stressed that the profession understands land and planetary resources, as well as the importance of digital connectivity and geo-partnerships. This expertise in land governance is crucial in shaping sustainable development and ensured that Inspired by Agenda 2030 and Africa’s Agenda 2060, FIG is committed to safeguarding our planet from degradation.

This was followed up by the Esteemed President of Ghana, saying "Let us remain mindful of the urgency of our collective endeavours. The decisions we make today will have far-reaching implications for future generations, and it is incumbent upon us to act decisively and responsibly". He urged all participants to use the days that lay ahead to discuss and consult with one another working on sustainable solutions, such as the consequences of rapid urbanization, and the importance of resource management. 

The entire address by the President of Ghana was remarkable and outstanding and we are pleased to announce that the entire speech has been used as the FIG Article of the Month for June 2024 - Please read the full speech with introduction by FIG President Diane Dumashie.


After the opening ceremony, all attendees went to the pool area of La Palm for a festive Welcome Reception with further entertainment and the opportunity to meet and greet new and old colleagues and friends.

Plenary sessions

The overall theme of the conference "Your World, Our World: Resilient Environment and Sustainable Resource Management for All" was reflected in the three plenary sessions which each day set the scene and elaborated over the theme.

Surveying and geospatial professionals from the land, built, and natural environments sector have a key role to lead and contribute to make the sustainable development agenda happen. The two first speakers Hon Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ernest Acheampong, Group on Earth Observation GEO, with a focus on SDG goal 13 talked about how essential accurate geospatial data is in forming decisions related to climate resilience and sustainable development, and they stressed the importance of integrating Earth observations (EO) and geospatial information with traditional data sources. 

The first plenary session was divided into two sections and after the first part, two Paramount Chiefs from Ghana, one from Nigeria and one from Zambia were called to the stage to talk about land rights for all from the point of view of the traditional leaders. They asked for local customs and traditional views to be taken seriously and informed about how they worked on securing land rights.

Whereas the plenary sessions on day 1 had concentrated on "People and Place", the second plenary session built on resources and the importance of a sustainable and resilient management. First speaker was Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Ghana Cocoa Board who informed about the production of cocoa, its importance to Ghana and contrary to the view that cocoa production harms the environment, Mr Aidoo presented evidence that cocoa cultivation in Ghana enhances forest cover and biodiversity through effective climate mitigation measures, and importantly, the healthy and nutritional benefits of cocoa... "To mine or note to mine" was the title of the presentation by Prof. Daniel Mireku-Gyimah taking the audience into the world of mining and how to elaborate on the advantages and eliminate the disadvantages. Nick Brown, UN-GGIM Global Geodetic Centre of Excellence, stressed how important it is to strengthen the geodetic foundations and to address weaknesses for reliable satellite operations and the sustainability of land tenure and resource management industries. Finally the FIG Young Surveyors Volunteer Community Surveyor Programme (VCSP) was presented showcasing how young surveyors are making a real difference by mapping the world a better place.

The overall topic for the plenary session of day three was Your World - Our World - with a special focus on urban geospatial infrastructure hereunder the view of a mayor, Adama Sarr, from Senegal, on how new technologies, used in a responsible and rational way can foster sustainable and inclusive development. Oumar Sylla, UN-Habitat talked about the importance of strengthening land government system in Africa to ensure sustainable urbanization, and he talked over several remarkable projects around Africa. Bryn Fosburgh, President of FIG Foundation and Senior Vice President of Trimble, talked about digital transformation and how to connect the digital and physical world. Generative AI enables the creation of new unstructured content, is trained on a broad set of data and is better at interpreting/labelling unstructured data than traditional AI. Digital Twins, BIM and AI are the backbone of the digital transformation, however one risk is that the industry is crushing under the amount of data that is being generated. The last speaker was Robert Kaden on the challenges and perspective for surveyors with the use of Digital twins of the built environment. He highlighted the potential for the profession to play a central role in BIM processes and appealed that BIM would become a more integral part of surveying training in the future.

Technical programme

Pre- and post events

Several pre-events and one post event were offered as part of the Working Week. The week started with a Reference in Practice seminar, Bim for surveyors workshop, a hands-on ESRI workshop on Sustainable Land Administration Modernization and the Young Surveyors Conference.

Young surveyors conference

This conference brought together over 80 young professionals, seasoned experts and industry leaders to engage in meaningful discussions, share insights and explore the evolving landscape of surveying. Over two days the attendees went through a diverse programme with speeches, sessions, interactive workshop and networking opportunities. An evening event brought the participants closer to each other and gave all a life-time experience. The FIG YSN Chairty Event took place at the scenic La Palm Royal Beach Hotel's beach with beach volleyball competitions and engaging board games on the hotels lawn. Read the full report from the conference:

A special thanks to Leica and Trimble for their sponsorships for the Young Surveyors conference.

Technical sessions

A range of technical sessions were offered during the three conference days. Technical sessions organised by the ten FIG Commissions, Task Force sessions, regional network sessions, sessions with partners and sessions with specific Ghanaian topics - a long long list of current and relevant topics were offered in the eight parallel session tracks. Some session rooms were located in the conference building, and some in the plenary tent. As a new feature one session track took place in the exhibition area. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances the exhibition tent was smaller than originally planned which challenged the entire exhibition on space incl this special session track, formed in a circle. Had there been more space in the exhibition area, this experiment could have been a more exciting addition to the exhibition. Headphones were available for the participants which could keep out the noise from the exhibition and focus on the presentation by the speakers.

Many sessions included an aspect of climate actions and the importance of land tenure security and access. The partner sessions included a session organised by World Bank on land tenure security, GLTN sessions on valuation of unregistered land, Land Use Planning for Tenure Security and Urban-Rural Land Experience and Practices, to sessions on Gender Equality in the land sector. One day programme was prepared in French organised by FGF and the French associations with good representation by especially the French speaking countries in Africa. Various FIG fora were held, for member associations, regional bodies, Director Generals/Affiliate member and Academic members.

Three prizes were handed out during the sessions - two by Survey Review and one by NavXperience.

Go to the full proceedings to see all sessions, topics, abstracts, papers and handouts:

Legacy project- Globe of Tomorrow

The Chair of the FIG Task Force on The Surveyor's Profession: Evolutionary Diversity and Inclusion, Stephen Djaba had arranged a Globe of Tomorrow project Commissioned at Services Primary school at Burns Camp, Accra during the conference. FIG representatives, local participants and others incl FIG President Diane Dumashie, Honorary President Stig Enemark and chair of the Task Force on FIG and the SDGs Paula Dijkstra went to the local school where expectant students were waiting for them. A large and impressive globe was unveiled in the school yard - a lasting memory of the FIG Working Week 2024 and a reminder to young students how important geography and cooperation around the world is.


The exhibition was planned to take place in a large tent next to the plenary tent and with servings of tea and coffee in the breaks. This plan had to be changed in last minute, unfortunately, switching to two smaller different sized tents which challenged the planned floorplan and activities in the exhibition area. But "the show must go on". The exhibitors took the changes nicely and with good spirit, the coffee and tea had to be moved to the plenary tent but still the exhibition was vibrant and lively with creative stands and exhibitors showcasing exciting new features.

The opening of the exhibition took place right after the plenary session on Monday 20 May where FIG and the Presidents of the national associations officially opened the exhibition tent. A varied exhibition awaited the participants; an exhibition area that included a "market place" area that was used for one session track with colourful chairs, and headsets for the participants to hear the presentations and keep out the noise from the exhibition.

A very big thanks to our main sponsors:


  •  GEOSA - General Authority for Survey and Geospatial Information, Saudi Arabia,
  • Esri and
  • Trimble

Gold sponsors: SinoGNSS, Leica, SuperMap, SOUTH and GeoQode,
Bronze sponsors: CHCNAV, EPA, Ghana Water, GIZ, Mena3D, OFEK Aerial Photography and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD),
Local sponsors: MultiGeomatics, SGL, Topcon, Ardent and NKGCL

Social programme

Each year our post-surveys show that the most important reason for participating in the FIG Working Week is networking. Hereafter the technical programme comes in second place. This year is no exception. For that reason the networking activities and possibility to get acquainted with others is weighing high in the programme. For now many years a morning session on the first morning is held for newcomers to the conference. Even though a main purpose is to get acquainted with FIG and the overwhelming programme of the Working Week, getting to know other newcomers already on the first morning is essential. It can be nice to find some other newcomers to group up with and e.g. arrange to meet at a certain time each day for a debrief.

Other social events are both technical and social tours. The technical tours were well visited and showcased other aspects of Ghana than what could be seen at the venue itself. The technical tours included a Map the Plastic tour, visit to the Land Commission Office, a special tour to the Akosombo Dam which provides electricity to both Ghana and its neighbouring countries and finally a tour to experience and explore the Tema Port in Ghana, who has just completed a third terminal.

Several social tours were offered, too, and it was possible to buy extra tours on-site which many made use of during the three conference days. A full day post tour took participants out of Accra to the Kakum National Park where it was possible to take a walk on the canopy walkway 30-40 metres above the ground, and finally to the Cape Coast Castle.

The Ghanaian evening took place at the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, a wonderful outdoor area right in the city centre. Attendees were met by the Ghanaian hospitality and rhythmic dancers and music, and a spectacular performance was provided.

The Gala Dinner was another festive feature showing how the Ghanaian hospitality and rhythms made all, no matter from where in the world they came, feel welcome and irresistible to the Ghanaian rhythms. Seldom have so many danced so much of an evening... only slowed down by the delicious food that was served. The bands that played were amazing at engaging everyone and teaching how to dance Ghanaian style.

Thank you for a wonderful evening.

Thank you!

In her closing speech FIG President Diane Dumashie thanked all for coming to Accra, Ghana to join both the General Assembly and the Working Week. It had been a busy, vibrant - and hot - week with many activities.

At the closing FIG was honoured by the presence of the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Ghana, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, who gave a special address to the General Assembly.

In her closing speech President Diane Dumashie commented the busy and successful Working Week. She thanked all the participants, exhibitors and sponsor and other partners for coming to Accra, Ghana for this Working Week. Much has been achieved during the week, at a professional and also personal level of the attendees.

After the closing speech, President Diane invited the local organisers from the two national associations to the stage to thank them for their immense and successful work on the organisation of the Working Week. Those who were present of the 63 volunteers, who had helped throughout the conference where needed, in the registration, in session rooms, at the speakers preparation desk, and all around, were called up for a special thanks from the President.

A special thanks goes to the two Co-Conference Directors Daud Sulemana Mahama and Stephen Djaba as well as the presidents Anthony Arko Adjei and Samuel Larbi Darko with their large team of local organisers.


At the very end the FIG flag was handed over by the current organisers to the next from Brisbane, Australia who could welcome all to the FIG Working Week 2025 that will take place 6-10 April 2025 in Brisbane Australia.


Welcome "Down Under" in Brisbane, Australia - 6-10 April 2024. More information:

Further reading:


The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation – GBC Ghana is a state-owned news agency that provides news and information to the people of Ghana and beyond. During the week they broadcast several news items on the national news from the FIG Working Week.

Here is a sample of various broadcast news items:

Thanks to all sponsors:



Louise Friis-Hansen
June 2024