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2017-11-29

Strengthening the role of geodesy: the new United Nations Subcommittee on Geodesy was inaugurated in Mexico City

By Anne J°rgensen

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Sz. Rˇzsa
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Alexey Trifonov (middle) is the newly elected co-chair from the Russian Federation. Australia's Gary Johnston (right) is continuing as co-chair for the next year, while Norway's Laila L°vh°iden (left) is stepping down.


"This is certainly a good day for geodesy", says Gary Johnston, one of the two co-chairs of the subcommittee.

"The new subcommittee is now established and this is an important step for improving global geodesy. We must work for the benefit of all member states," says Alexey Trifonov, who is the newly elected co-chair from the Russian Federation.

The inaugural meeting for the Subcommittee on Geodesy was convened on November 26th and 27th, and was hosted by INEGI in Mexico City in the margins of the 2017 UN-GGIM High Level Forum. 19 Member States and organisations participated in the meeting.

Australia's Gary Johnston is continuing as co-chair for the next year, while Norway's Laila L°vh°iden is stepping down.

"It is important that the co-chairing of the subcommittee is shared between the Member States as this will increase the involvement and spread the work load, L°vh°iden says. Norway has co-chaired the geodesy working group under UN-GGIM since 2013, and I am convinced that it will be very good for our work that the Russian Federation now has acceded this position".

The new co-chair is looking forward to start his new assignment for global geodesy.

"An appropriate governance mechanism is a keystone for future work . And now we must make efforts to make this new governance mechanism as sustainable and long-term as the existing geodetic organizations are," says Alexey Trifonov.

The creation of the subcommittee started last year, when United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) decided to elevate the Global Geodetic Reference Frame (GGRF) Working Group to a permanent Subcommittee on Geodesy. On the 4th August this year the UN-GGIM seventh session in New York endorsed the terms of reference and formally established the first permanent UN-GGIM Subcommittee on Geodesy.

The subcommittee will now focus on continuing the successful efforts of the GGRF Working Group.

"It is about ensuring that all countries in this world have access to precise positioning because we know it benefits their societies and the people that live within them. The geodetic reference frame makes this possible." says Gary Johnston.
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The work on developing an implementation plan for the GGRF Roadmap and a position paper for a governance structure is progressing and will be reported to the UN-GGIM Committee of Experts at its eighth session in August 2018.

"We are about strengthening the role of geodesy in society and providing a greater governmental mandate that will hopefully result in sustainable operations of geodetic infrastructure and capacity development programs as well", says Johnston.

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The inaugural meeting for the United Nations Subcommittee on Geodesy was convened on November 26th and 27th, and was hosted by INEGI in Mexico City.



(Photos: Anne J°rgensen and INEGI)