IAG Sub-Commission 4.2 - Positioning and Applications

Welcome to IAG Sub-Commission 4.2 - Positioning and Applications (2015-2019)

Geodesy provides foundations for geospatial mapping and engineering. Modern geospatial mapping as a massive point positioning process has been evolving towards automatic operations, and at the same time, various engineering areas are increasingly relying on highly developed geospatial technologies to deliver improved productivities and safety with minimised negative environment impact. This Sub-Commission (SC) 4.2 will therefore endeavour to coordinate research and other activities that address the broad areas of the theory and applications of geodesy tools in geospatial mapping and engineering, ranging from construction work, geotechnical and structural monitoring, precision farming, mining, to natural phenomena such as landslides and ground subsidence. The SC4.2 will carry out its work in close cooperation with other IAG Entities, as well as via linkages with relevant scientific and professional organizations such as ISPRS, FIG, IEEE, ION, ISM. The objectives of this Sub Commission can be found here. You are welcome to browse around this website for other information. Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.

Steering Committee

 Chair: Jinling Wang (Univ. of New South Wales, Australia)  
 Vice-Chair: Michael Olsen (Oregon State University, USA)  
 Secretary: Hsiu-Wen Chang (National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan) 
 Member at Large: Guenther Retscher (Vienna Univ. of Tech., Austria)


  • To develop and promote the use of new geospatial mobile mapping technologies for various applications.
  • To develop and report the modelling and quality control framework for geo-referencing procedures
  • To monitor research and development into new technologies that are applicable to the general field of engineering geodesy, including hardware, software and analysis techniques.
  • Applications of Geodesy in Mining Engineering,monitoring and alert systems for local geodynamic processes, such as landslides, ground subsidence, etc.
  • To study advances in Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) systems and geospatial mapping applications in SHM.
  • To study advances in Building Information Modelling (BIM) and geospatial mapping applications in BIM
  • To document the body of knowledge in the field of geospatial mapping and engineering geodesy, and to present such knowledge in a consistent frame work at symposia and workshops.

These objectives will be achieved by:

  • Promoting research into several new technology areas or applications through all the five Working Groups.
  • Setting up both sub-Commission and working group websites providing a focus for geodesy in geospatial mapping and engineering applications with the relevant links.
  • Developing a comprehensive reference list for the relevant topcis.

Working Groups

WG 4.2.1 Mobile Mapping Technologies and Applications
Chair: J. Skaloud (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland)
Vice-Chair: K.-W. Chiang (National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan)

Mobile mapping technologies have been widely used to collect geospatial data for a variety of applications, for example, navigation and online geospatial information services. As mobile mapping sensors are becoming cheaper and easier to access, modeling and quality control procedures for major steps of mobile mapping should be further developed to ensure the reliability of geospatial data from mobile mapping systems. This working group will conduct its work through coordinated activities among the members of the group as well as in collaborations with other professional organizations, such as ISPRS/FIG. Major objectives of this WG are:

  • To monitor new trends in mobile mapping technologies, such as UAV/UAS mapping.
  • To evaluate the performance of geo-referencing and mapping sensors, such as IMU, GNSS, 3D cameras, optical vision sensors.
  • To develop realistic mathematical and functional models for geo-referencing procedures.
  • To develop a framework to evaluate the quality of geo-referencing and mapping results.
  • To promote the use of geospatial mapping systems for various applications.

WG 4.2.2: Applications of Geodesy in Mining Engineering
Chair: Jian Wang (China University of Mining and Technology, China)
Vice-Chair: Frederick Cawood (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)

Geodesy has been playing an important role in mining operations from geospatial mapping, modern navigation and guidance technologies used in automation at various mine sites to special orientation and location procedures used in underground operations. This working group will conduct its activities in close collaborations with other relevant international professional organizations, such as the International Society of Mining Surveying (ISM) and FIG. Major objectives of this WG are to study, and report the use of:

  • Modern geodesy in various mining sites.
  • 3D mapping for mining.
  • Navigation and guidance of mining machinery.
  • Miner location technologies in underground mining operations.
  • Mine CORS and its synergized hazard monitoring (e.g. deformation, landslides and ground subsidence).

WG 4.2.3: Mobile Structural Health Monitoring Systems
Chair: Christian Eschmann (RWTH Aachen University, Germany)
Vice-Chair: Johnson Shen (UNSW Australia)

Structural health monitoring (SHM) is an issue of increasing importance when looking at more and more aging and critical infrastructure around the world. In order to perform safety-related infrastructure inspections, robotic solutions are required to allow an automatic and reliable geospatial data acquisition for a comprehensive building database suitable for SHM analysis. Here the investigation of new mapping and navigation methods as well as non-destructive testing (NDT) sensors forms the basis for these mobile SHM systems. To develop such reliable autonomous systems, this working group will focus on current challenges such as the reproducibility and traceability of mobile NDT sensor data as well as the precise localization and navigation operations inside and/or in the areas close to infrastructures. Major objectives of this WG are to study, and report the use of geodetic tools in precision farming, in particular:

  • To monitor new approaches in terms of mobile structural health monitoring.
  • To promote the use of unmanned mobile platforms, such as RPAs, UGVs and ROVs, for remote inspection and monitoring applications.
  • To develop new methods for autonomous precise geospatial data acquisition and inspection tasks.
  • To evaluate the applicability of miniaturised navigation and non-destructive testing sensors, such as LiDAR, radar or ultrasound, in mobile SHM systems.

WG 4.2.4: Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Chair: Mohsen Lalantari (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Vice-Chair: Michael J. Olsen (Oregon State University, USA)

Developed and promoted by Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry, Building Information Models (BIM) provides the most detailed 3D spatial and semantic information about every building element during the lifecycle of a building. BIM is a 3D digital data space for sharing building information to enable multi-disciplinary collaboration among different actors involved in the development process of buildings. Recent surveys indicate that the BIM-based paradigm brings more productivity gains and long-term benefits. Therefore, this working group aims to promote BIM in IAG and encourage and report innovation in integrating BIM with geospatial engineering. This working group will conduct its activities in close collaborations with other relevant international professional organizations, such as GSDI, ISPRS and FIG. Major objectives of this WG are to:

  • Promote BIM and raise awareness in geospatial engineering applications.
  • Integrate 3D mapping technologies and BIM.
  • Investigate interoperability between and other geospatial formats.
  • Use BIM in indoor navigation, indoor positioning, 3D cadastres


International Association of Geodesy (IAG), http://www.iag-aig.org/ (new website)

IAG Commission 4 (2011-2015): Positioning and Applications


Center For Mapping, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA

Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy, University of Nottingham, U.K.

Geospatial Mapping and Navigation Group at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia