FIG Commission 1 - Professional Standards and Practice

Working Group 1.1
International Ethics Standards


This Working Group was formed in 2015, subsequent updates of the progress of the work had been reported at the FIG Working Weeks / Congress since 2016. A publication of International Ethics Standards (IES) by International Ethics Standards Coalition (IESC), which was established in the United Nations in 2014, was published in Dec 2016. More than 120 professional institutes, including FIG, have joined the IESC as members.

Policy Issues

To study ethics within the surveying profession and prepare proposals how to respond to the competition to market the profession as ethical for current and future generations;

Surveying professionals practice in a variety of work environments increasingly internationally and are required to respond to constant changes ethically in how they deliver services. This creates challenges to them in how they practice and challenges on how to adapt to change; and

Identifying and sharing new ethical ways of working from around the world will provide practical examples of ways others have successfully adapted and will build a set of case studies of change.


Timothy Burch, United States
tim.burch [at]

Specific projects

  • To promote the current and future role of ethics in surveying;

  • To develop implementation plan for the International Ethics Standards (IES) published by the International Ethics Standards Coalition (IESC) in Dec 2016, and to review the results after the implementation by individual member associations;

  • To participate on behalf of FIG as a member of the IESC and to gather results and identify the best practice examples of the implementation of IES for specific surveying cases from the members of the IESC upon the implementation of the IES;

  • To review, based on the results of the best practice examples, if the Ethical Principles in the ‘Statement of Ethical Principles and Model Code of Professional Conduct published in 1998’ (FIG Publication No. 17) should be revised and replaced by the IES.


What we are working on -

  • Revised FIG Ethical Principles in 2022

What's New


An open meeting had been planned at the FIG Working Week 2020. International Ethics Standards (IES) has been published and consists of high level principles which will provide greater consistency to users of professional services. FIG Council supports IES and the ethical code. As the IES is a general Code of Ethics, FIG council has asked the Working Group 1.1 to look for best practice examples of the IES-Code in our professional environment (surveying, geospatial, land management, valuation, construction surveying, cadastre, ….). At the meeting FIG members and participants should have presented and discussed best practice examples. Once these best practice examples are identified and discussed FIG Council will check whether the current FIG Ethics Code should be updated or adapted to the IES-Code. This can finally lead to a discussion about a harmonisation or replacement of the existing Ethical Code of FIG.

Gary Strong (United Kingdom):
International Ethics Standards (IES)

Nigel Sellars (United Kingdom):
Challenges for Surveying Professionals in the 21st Century – Ethics and the Importance of Stakeholder Engagement


The round table discussion held in the FIG Working Week 2019 in Hanoi has successfully shared with the delegates the update on ethics in the working group, gained their opinions, information on uptake and implementation of IES, and discussed individual challenges within each country represented. It also went through the 10 International Ethical Standards principles and agreed they remained fit for purpose, though additional consideration should be given to 'Social Responsibility', 'Environmental considerations', 'Impact of Tech on Ethics'. A number of ethical scenarios were posed and worked through, with input from participants reflecting the breadth of the profession and geographical reach. Whilst cultural differences were discussed and considered, there was unanimous agreement primarily on the principles of transparency, integrity, honesty and conflicts of interest - which are universal regardless of the specialism or location. There was commitment from a number of participants to provide case studies as to the success and implementation of IES in their respective member associations and jurisdictions.

Gary Strong and Nigel Sellars (United Kingdom):
Raising the Importance of Ethics for the Surveying Profession (9759)
[abstract] [paper] [handouts]

Alexey Bukharov (Russia):
The Development of Standards and Ethical Challenges of Surveyors Associations in Russia (10031)
[abstract] [paper] [handouts]

Torben Juulsager (Denmark):
Danish Surveyors 250 Years in the Service of Society to Be a Profession – That´s the Answer (10085)
[abstract] [paper] [handouts]

Nigel Sellars (United Kingdom):
Challenges for Surveying Professionals in the 21st Century – Ethics and the Importance of Stakeholder Engagement. (9911)
[abstract] [paper] [handouts]

Tchad Sharon Jatau, Ruya Fadason and Christiana Paul (Nigeria):
Professional Ethics in the Built Environment and its Impact on Client Behavior (9851)
[abstract] [paper] [handouts]

Leonie Newnham (Australia):
Ways to Build Workplace Innovation in a Victorian Land Management Organization by Understanding Its Relationship to Organization Culture. (10115)
[abstract] [paper] [handouts]

Gary Strong and Alan Muse (United Kingdom):
The Need for International Fire Safety Standards and why the UN is Supporting this (9766)
[abstract] [paper] [handouts]