The director of FIG Congress in Istanbul in 2018 Prof. Ercan: There is no unemployed surveyours in Turkey

• You were a guest of the FIG Working Week 2015 in Sofia. How do you assess the meeting?

FIG is the premier international organization representing the interests of surveyors worldwide. It is a federation of the national member associations and covers the whole range of professional fields within the global surveying community. Being an UN-recognized non-government organization (NGO), it has been represented in more than 120 countries throughout the world.
FIG supports the role of a prosperous and sustainable profession of surveyors to provide solution functionality, reliably, affordably for a complex and rapidly changing world that cannot wait, and to translate a sustainable development agenda into action. While supporting the international collaboration among its members for the progress of surveying in all its fields and applications, FIG has also forms a close cooperation with United Nations relevant bodies, World Bank, and its sister associations and has been globally recognized as the leading international non-governmental organization on geospatial information and the management of “land”, the “sea” and the “built” environment. It is within the surveyors’ task to determine the size and shape of the earth, to map its surface and to manage it in a sustainable way.
FIG organizes Working Weeks each year and Congresses every four years. In this context, FIG 2015 Working Week was held in Sofia between May 17th and 21st, 2015 and hosted by the Chamber of Graduated Surveyors of Bulgaria. It was the second Working Week organized in Sofia after 32 years. I believe FIG Working Week 2015 was a fruitful event in general context.

• Are you satisfied with the organization? Did you like the presentations? What impressed you most?

FIG 2015 event was a good one in general. As you know, there is no such thing as a perfect event and it is quite natural that even at the minor meetings there would be some shortcomings and difficulties. In this respect, having hosted the event in Sofia, Chamber of Graduated Surveyors, Bulgaria was very professional, and successfully handled the preparation and use of the technical infrastructure. I truly believe that the papers presented throughout the Working Week were of very high quality. Since a major portion of these presentations were satisfying and involved practical information, they sparked great interest among the participants.
In my opinion, the most impressive aspect of the Working Week was that delegates from each continent of the world were behaving as if they were knowing each others for many years, had professional consultations and had fun altogether. I can easily say that as a social event, the GALA dinner was magnificent.
• What is FIG vision?

As President Chrssy Potsiou said, it is urgent that the surveying profession will think ahead, predict future changes, foresee the requirements of the next generation of the public and structure the way ahead

 It is the purpose of FIG to lead “global” surveyors capable to contribute to an ambitious Post-2015 global sustainable development agenda
 During the 2015-2018 time period FIG, its council and commissions, member associations, academic members, YSs, CDN, affiliate and corporate members will strive to achieve the FIG Vision to contribute to the post 2015 global sustainable development agenda

• You met the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Lilyana Pavlova. What did you talk?

First, we introduced FIG to the esteemed Minister. We expressed our appreciation for hosting FIG in Sofia. In addition, we shared our experiences in the field of Cadastre. We had the chance to explain FIG`s Cadastre approach and convey our experiences. We drew Ms. Minister’s attention to the importance of Cadastre. We underlined the importance of carrying out the processes of Cadastre and land registry concurrently and the need for these processes to be under the same administrative structure. In addition to their geometry, and we discussed that establishing the rights, responsibilities and restrictions over the real estate’s these data would constitute the basis of the property system to be designed under the guarantee of the state; we explained the advantages of defining the value of the real estate and land use simultaneously during the course of Cadastre establishment, and told that this system would at the same time serve as the infrastructure of the e-government. We drew attention that Cadastre is not just about defining a property, that it carries out key functions ranging from the country’s physical and strategic planning, to direct agricultural income support, from a well-functioning mortgage system in banking, supporting foreign investment, to storing geospatial data in electronic environments and sharing them to make them available for the use of governmental organizations and the citizens.

• What do you expect from the Bulgarian partners? What could Bulgarian and Turkish surveyors do together?

“Change” and “timing” are two magic words. The world is rapidly changing and developing; in the face of such a change, professions are also getting re-defined and re-structured. In this framework, our colleagues in Bulgaria and Turkey -two neighbor countries- could get together in terms of institutions, inter-universities cooperation and project development as well as private sector and exchange their experiences.

• What is your impression of Bulgarian geodesy, after visiting Bulgaria?

I was pleased to hear from the presentation given at the Bulgarian Session of the Working Week that orthophoto production, use of Photogrammetry in cadastre, as emerging technologies use of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and LIDAR successfully; and during our meeting with the distinguished Minister, I was informed that there were a number of major advancements in the field of Cadastre and that the Bulgarian geodetic infrastructure was highly competent. On the other hand, we need to always keep in mind that we still have a long way ahead.

• You have an idea to develop a strategy for the land market in the region. What exactly is your point? Will you work with Greece also? Which countries do you want to include in this cooperation?

Yes, we have an idea to study on the real property markets in the UNECE region concerning mainly countries in a transition process in its different phases as FIG. There are several countries in the region struggling to improve their property markets. The outcome of the study will be a report on the current situation in the real property market in the region, its challenges, and main lines of development. Experts from the target countries in the region will be needed to form a network to assist the task force in its work.


• Turkey hosted the World Congress on Cadastre this year and Minister Lilyana Pavlova also participated. What provoked this increased interest in the cadastre in your country these days?

In our country, 19 universities offer surveying education under the names “surveying engineering/ geodesy and photogrammetry engineering/geomatics engineering”. Increased number of departments opened in our universities and larger workforce potential linked with that, growing numbers of scientific research projects and articles in our country, smooth exchange of information among scientists of our country, the willingness for improving the practices, development and implementation of major projects in public organizations and agencies, structuring of the private sector and new understanding within the private sector and the desire for reaching for foreign markets have ensured greater interest in our profession and therefore in cadastre.

• Can you tell us briefly about some of the projects that are being built in Istanbul and in Turkey in general in recent years? There is a boom in construction. What is the role of surveyors in the process? Do you have more work? Is there a demand for more experts? Is it easier to be a surveyor in Turkey today? Does Turkey have a special politicy about cadastre?

I would like to answer this question in two parts. First of all, let me tell you about what has been going on in our profession for the past few years. In 2000, the project on establishing a Land Registry and Cadastre Information System was launched and in a couple of years, land registry information was digitized and all transactions started to be carried out in the electronic environment by software. Over the past few years, all geometric cadastral data were digitized and integrated with land registration data made available through a geoportal. Now inquiries on real estates can be undertaken through the e-government website. In 2004, a project was launched to complete the initial Cadastre; cadastral work of around 13,000,000 parcel out of 56,000,000 which were lack of cadastre then was completed in 2009. The greatest achievement here was the development and implementation of the Public – Private – Partnership model. By virtue of the private sector’s competency and expertize, cadastral work of around 13,000,000 parcels were measured and registered in 5 years. The Cadastre renovation project was initiated for improving the Cadastral parcels dating back to the 1950`s which were not compatible with the ground. In this framework, the renovation of 8,000,000 parcels is currently under way. Title deed records from the Ottoman Empire which started keeping land registry data in the 15th century were all digitized and tabulated into the information system. Between 2005 and 2007, a GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) network named as CORS-TR (TUSAGA-Aktif in Turkish) with 147 stations for 3-D high-precision (2-4 cm) and real-time positioning was established and in this context, Turkey’s datum was redefined in the ITRF (International Terrestrial Reference Frame) system using GNSS technologies. Using the CORS-TR infrastructure in question, many earthquake prediction projects were launched on national and international platforms. The land consolidation projects undertaken over the past few years cover around 1,000,000 hectares per year. The work on the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) have been launched and expected to be finalized in 3 years. Agricultural Land Use Planning project is currently in development. In our country, the Directorate General for Geographic Information Systems in charge of National Spatial Data Infrastructure has been established under the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. Illicit fields within the forests were identified; the relevant cadastral work was undertaken and these lands were sold to the users within reasonable prices. The studies for developing a Forest Information System have been initiated. Municipalities carry out numerous planning and digitizing tenders. The role of survey engineers in town management is rapidly growing.

When we look at the country as a whole, we see major developments in the construction sector. Turkish construction industry is the second largest one in the world right after China.

Urban Regeneration Projects is one of the greatest projects in a professional sense. Istanbul’s third airport will be one of Europe’s largest airports. The construction of the third bridge over the Bosporus is almost over. The tube tunnel connecting Europe to Asia has been completed. There are major advancements is highway and fast train construction works.

Having been established to satisfy the need for housing, the Mass Housing Administration (TOKI) built 500,000 residences between 2003 and 2011. The goal for 2011-2023 is constructing 500,000 more residences.

To sum up, many projects in the fields of geodesy, engineering measurements, digital map production, GIS, digitalization and expropriation are carried out in cooperation with our colleagues. These projects use all modern technologies such as GNSS, UAV, Mobile Lidar and InSAR in an integrated manner.


In Turkey, the Chamber of Surveying Engineers has 15,000 registered members. 2/3`s of these members work in the private sector. There are 3,000 surveying offices/companies in our country. In Turkey, one needs to graduate from a 4-year program in the relevant department of universities to become a Surveying Engineer.

Cadastre forms the infrastructure for all kinds of geospatial business. Turkey attached great importance to completing initial Cadastral works and reforming the existing cadastre structure. These projects have introduced further employment opportunities for Survey Engineers. There is no unemployed survey engineer in our county.

• You are the director of the Congress of FIG in 2018 in Istanbul. What are the objectives of the forum, which will be held in your country in 2018?

FIG has 10 technical commissions and the modelling of the sessions is undertaken by these technical commissions. The top three commissions in terms of paper presentation in the respective order would be: Commission 7 – Cadastre and Land Management, Commission 3 – Spatial Information Management and Commission 5 – Positioning and Measurement. In addition to the technical sessions, there is going to be a massive technology exhibition. Thanks to this exhibition, the companies will have the chance to showcase their latest products. We are planning to organize a 2-day workshop on “property issues” for Turkish-speaking countries. The congress will also involve pre-post congress tours and social activities.

We believe that FIG 2018 will serve as a global convention platform for land professionals.


• What you think is the future of geodesy?

Ours is a profession about modelling the relation between land and men. No land investment can be carried through without us. We operate in an extensive field of work including geodetic studies, bathymetry, positioning, property, engineering measurements, GIS – e-government, land valuation, rural development, and master plan applications as well as building inspection.

We have to have the competence for modelling change. We have to be competent in introducing new fields of application in our industry in the course of this change. We have to have the ability to produce and implement new projects to ensure rapid development in our countries. We have to work in close cooperation -to the highest extent possible- with the politicians. We need to speak two languages: first one being the technical language. We need to be truly competent in what we do in the technical sense. The second language would be the political language; we need to have the ability to convey our tens of volumes of knowledge to the politicians in a couple of minutes.

As long as we have the competence to model the change and add value to our industry, the future of our profession will remain bright. Moreover, as a group of professionals, we need to have instant response for the following matters:

 As competition increases surveyors must maintain high technical In the urbanization and globalization era, a globalization of science is taking place
 education & in-depth technical research, & should be prepared to cope with large amounts of spatial information
 Cooperation with other professionals; solution functionality, reliability, affordability
 The relationship between quality and cost

• What is your personal motto?

To work; for myself, for my profession and for the humanity.


• Thank you!

Thank you, too… I would like to extend my best regards to my Bulgarian colleagues…I wish all the success to the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works in their endeavors…I extend my sincere compliments to the distinguished Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Dr. Ms. Lilyana Pavlova.


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