Anne Jørgensen | 2016-08-31

Milestone for global geodesy

The UN calls for enhanced cooperation on global geodesy. At the UN-GGIM sixth session in New York in August, the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management endorsed the GGRF Roadmap and decided to establish a permanent Sub-Committee on Geodesy.

"This is a significant milestone for global geodesy. It sends a very clear message to member states, and other global geodetic entities, that the focus on enhancement of geodetic reference frames should be a long term strategic priority for governments," says Gary Johnston, co-chair of the UN-GGIM Working Group on the Global Geodetic Reference Frame (GGRF).

The suggestion to elevate the Working Group's mandate through the establishment of a UN-GGIM Sub-Committee on Geodesy was put forward by New Zealand at the UN-GGIM sixth session. The proposal was supported by the Member States. 

The UN-GGIM Working Group on the GGRF consists today of 32 Member States and two organisations; the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Association of Geodesy (IAG). 

IAG welcomes the Sub-Committee

"The International Association of Geodesy (IAG) welcomes and unreservedly appreciates the establishment of a United Nations Sub-Committee on Geodesy. This advancement will augment the impacts of geodesy on the political level as well as its visibility in society. IAG and its Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS) as promoting geodetic science and coordinating the international geodetic services will strongly support the new Sub-Committee whenever necessary and wherever possible," says prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Harald Schuh, president of the IAG.

At the UN-GGIM sixth session in New York, the member states did also endorse the Roadmap for the Global Geodetic Reference Frame as a principle based briefing document for national governments. The Roadmap aims to enhance the GGRF and make it more sustainable. 

Geodesy has top priority

The global geodetic reference frame was among the highlights at the UN-GGIM session where 260 delegates from 86 Member States participated.

The Fijian Minister for Land and Mineral Resources, Mereseini Vuniwaqa, was key note speaker at a UN-GGIM Side Event on the Global Geodetic Reference Frame. Fiji led the adoption on the UN resolution on GGRF at the General Assembly, 26 February 2015. 

"This resolution calls for more cooperation, and we are pleased to see that the Working Group has come up with the Roadmap on GGRF so quickly. The implementation of the Roadmap has top priority", said the Minister. 

Close cooperation

The engagement from the Fijian minister was welcomed by co-chair Gary Johnston:

"The development of the implementation plan will require close cooperation between National Mapping Agencies, Space Agencies, IAG, FIG and other interested research institutions. Collectively we have an opportunity to utilise the momentum that has been created within UN-GGIM to establish a better future for the global geodetic community, and for our society which relies on our products and services," said Johnston.

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