The past four years of IUSM activities, just like those of the previous four years, could be summarized as "search for identity, functions and modus operandi". First, the structure of IUSM as set up originally, consisting of a Council (representing the Member Organizations or MOs), Executive Board, Secretariat, and Working Groups, proved to be too top heavy, inflexible and cumbersome to be effective. Second, IUSM has been torn between those who wanted to use the Union to impose a particular technological culture on the MO-s and those who simply wanted the Union try to coordinate action by the MO-s to over-come perceived problems. Third, the difficulty has been identifying those common problems that need coordination of action, and in which the parties involved have been interested in collaboration. To resolve these issues and to decide on the future of the Union and its structure the Executive Board organized a 2-day strategic-planning workshop, followed by meetings of the Board and the Council in Boulder, Colorado, in 1995. At this time the membership consisted of the three 1984 founding members; ISPRS, FIG, ICA, and those who joined later; IAG (1989), IHO, and SORSA. IUSM officers were President Earl B.W. James (FIG) of Australia, Vice President Ivan I. Mueller (IAG) of the USA, and Executive Secretary J.Hugh O'Donnell of Canada. It is at this juncture of IUSM history when this report begins; highlighting the most important IUSM related events in chronological order.
June 30-July 2, 1995 Boulder, Colorado, XXI IUGG General Assembly
Probably the most important consensus among the MO-s at this, the 12th, meeting of the Executive Board was that, despite its problems, IUSM should continue. In addition,
- a new Vision Statement was drafted: "The IUSM is to be an alliance of international organizations dedicated to ensuring that science and technology related to geospatial information meet the needs of society".
- A new set of Goals were developed:
1. Cooperatively develop interdisciplinary strategies for the profession to serve societal needs.
2. Facilitate cooperation between members organizations in areas of common interest,
3. Represent the common interests of the MO-s, as a union, to international governmental and non-governmental organizations.
4. Develop opportunities for, and facilitate the promotion of scientific and technical developments in areas of common interest.
5. Foster communications and encourage the flow of information within both the profession and the user community.
6. Promote the availability and appropriate use of high quality geospatial information and related technologies.
- Two Task Forces (TF-s) were appointed:
No.1. To make recommendations for the future role and structure of the Union at the next meeting of the Board in Vienna at the XVIII ISPRS Congress, July 1996 (chaired by Christian Andreasen, IHO President).
No.2. To develop a Vision Statement for the geospatial information professions (chaired by Peter Dale, FIG President).
- The earlier appointed Working Groups on Education and on GPS were terminated.
- The Working Groups on LIS/GIS (Chair: Gottfried Konecny) and on Automated Control Measurements - ACM (Chair: Heribert Kahmen) were continued.
The meeting ended on a high note, assuming that the Executive Board and the Secretariat will start making the Goals a reality, and that the continuing Task Forces will be successful.
September 29, 1995
Hugh O'Donnell resigns as Executive Secretary, due to the elimination of his position within National Resources Canada. Hugh being a driving force of IUSM, this is considered a great blow to the organization. Cyril Penton, and later Doug Selley, both of NRC, were appointed in acting capacities until a new Executive Secretary is found.
July 16, 1996, Vienna, Austria, ISPRS XVIII Congress
The 13th meeting of Executive Board was occupied mainly with the Task Force reports:
- TF1 noted that the focus for realistic actions is Goal 2 above; that actions on Goals 1, 4, and 5 are encompassed within Goal 2; Goal 3 was viewed as a future item for IUSM to address; and actions within Goal 6 were viewed as "dead". The TF suggested that the IUSM statutes be left unchanged. In addition, recommendations were made to set up an IUSM data base (Andreasen agreed to do so), to sponsor "special sessions" at Congresses, to sponsor "short courses" where needs are of interest to multiple MO-s, to develop a web page, to add a sub-name to the name of the Union (see the above title of this report), and to modify the IUSM Vision Statement adopted in Boulder to read:
"IUSM is an alliance of international organizations which facilitates scientific and technological developments in the field of geospatiial information", i.e., no more "societal needs"! The Executive Board accepted the recommendations and disbanded TF 1.
- Tom Kennie, FIG Vice President (substituting for Peter Dale) reported for TF2 without specific recommendations. The discussion focused on issues that impact on the visions of MO-s, including common areas, standards, the marketplace and the changing nature of the discipline. This Task Force was also disbanded.
- TF3 was formed to develop a strategy on restructuring the IUSM, including the orderly rotation of officers. Michael Wood ICA President undertook the task of leading the group and to report back at the next Board meeting.
It was also noted that the Working Groups are having difficulties meeting their goals. The Working Group on ACM was disbanded due to lack of interest.
April 21, 1997, Monaco, XV IHO Conference
The four-year terms of the Officers expired at this 14th meeting of the Board, and a new executive was elected. There were two candidates for the presidency, Gottfried Konecny (ISPRS), Germany and Ivan I.Mueller (IAG), USA. Mueller was elected to the position. The other offices went to Vice President Christian Andreasen (IHO), USA, and Executive Secretary Pascal Willis (IAG), France, without opposing candidates. The TF3 report generated a lengthy discussion, including a number of alternate proposals for reorganization and a number of straw votes were taken to get a sense of the group. Much time was spent on the controversial issue of the Council, its role, its responsiveness to MO's needs for the Union, it's post-activeness, etc. Based on this input Michael Wood agreed to extend the charter of TF3, which from now on becomes TF4, amend the TF3 report as per the discussion and circulate it. The last Working Group on LIS/GIS, after completing its task, was disbanded.
October 7, 1997
ISPRS withdraws from IUSM. The following are quotes from the letter: "Unfortunately, the Union has not addressed the expectations or scientific and techno-logic needs of its Members, but rather has devoted its efforts to structural bureaucracy. Although, ISPRS has strived to make the Union successful for the common good of all our disciplines, we find that the Union has ceased most activities envisioned originally and also as re-visioned at the Boulder Strategic Workshop. To demonstrate its commitment to the future of IUSM, ISPRS sent three officers to the three day Boulder Strategic Workshop in July 1995. Our expectations and message at the meeting was for a strong unified body to be established which would be able to represent all professionals in the fields of surveying and mapping. However, despite the agreement of all parties to the goals that were set at the Boulder meeting, they were watered down to such an extent by July 1996 in Vienna, that they were largely discarded. That is, the goals that took the many leaders of our professions to establish over three days were simply discarded as too difficult to achieve. In Monaco the last of the four IUSM Working Groups were terminated and several members of the Executive Board proposed that the IUSM Council should also be abolished. These are grave disappointments considering the high ideals that were espoused in Boulder, and particularly in light of the considerable efforts that were made by former and present ISPRS Council members to ensure that IUSM function effectively."
It was difficult not to agree with the above sentiments (except for the perceived need for the Council and the Working Groups).
December 10, 1997, San Francisco
The President called a special Executive Board Meeting (No.16th) to facilitate the final recommendations of TF3/4 and to try to move IUSM from the existing impasse. After lengthy discussion on whether or not IUSM should continue to function with both an Executive Board and a Council, there was general consensus that the current IUSM structure must be streamlined and reflect more closely the Goals established at the Boulder strategic meeting in 1995. A number of proposed revisions to the Statutes, from now on called the "IUSM Terms of Reference", have been accepted and forwarded for a Council vote by mail-balloting. Specifically, the new Terms of Reference:
dissolved the Council, replaced the Objectives of the organization with the Goals developed in Boulder, reduced the terms of office for the Officers and changed the mode of their election, and removed unneeded restrictive aspects of the original Statutes.
It was also noted that the IUSM web site has been initiated by the Secretariat at IGN, France.
March 1, 1998
The Terms of Reference was adopted by the Council which, in effect, voted itself out of existence, and gave the Executive Board greater flexibility to act faster without the need for Council's approval on many issues. The "restructuring" was followed on by the distribution of a Questionnaire addressed to the MO-s, and requesting guidance as to what they expect from the "new" IUSM. The Executive Board was looking for "action items"!
July 17, 1998, Brighton, UK, XIX FIG Congress
The 16th meeting of the Board was mainly concerned with looking for the "action items" resulting from the Questionnaires. The questions asked were as follows:
1. Do you want IUSM to provide a unified voice on behalf of the
profession(s)? If so, can this be by consensus or is unanimity considered essential for
IUSM to act?
2. IUSM abolished its Working Groups but might play a useful role in the inter disciplinary exchange of information. Should IUSM act to facilitate inter disciplinary exchange of information? If so, by organization of meetings or symposia?
3. Should IUSM focus on the identification of common fields of Member Organization activities? Where common fields are identified, should IUSM seek organizational efficiencies and foster coordination between the various MO commissions, working groups, etc?
4. Face to face meetings are generally an effective means for accomplishment of activities. Should IUSM maintain (annual or other) face to face meetings? If so, should these meetings be held alongside Member Organization meetings as has been done and should this continue on a rotational basis?
5. Do you feel that IUSM should expand its membership? If so, what organizations would you suggest as candidate organizations to be approached?
6. What role should IUSM play in fostering higher education in the
geospatial sciences/engineering? How should such a role be accomplished?
The responses indicated a definite "no" to Questions 1 and 2, a definite "yes" to 3, 4, and 5, and a "maybe in the future" on 6. Based on these it was decided
- to continue with the development of the data base,
- the MO Presidents will supply the IUSM President, for synthesis, a list of topics/working groups/commissions where collaboration with other IUSM MO-s could be beneficial,
- the MO Presidents will continue to have face to face meetings with each other at regular intervals, preferably, not during the MO Congresses,
- the IUSM President will contact other potential MO-s (e.g., IMS, URISA).
February 11, 1999
FIG withdraws from IUSM. In an e-mail message they congratulated the IUSM President for his "patient leadership these past few months" and "argue that the failure of the IUSM members to respond is not a failure of leadership - it has been merely a symptom of the weakness of the whole concept of IUSM. In coming months and years FIG will all satisfy the more important purpose of IUSM, a cooperative communication among our individual members, through more efficient and effective bi-lateral liaison agreements."
February 12, 1999
The IUSM President offers his resignation, and in view of the small number of MO-s remaining (IAG, IHO, ICA and SORSA) suggests to disband IUSM via a mail ballot. After lengthy correspondence, neither of these was accepted and another meeting of the Board was recommended to take place on August 14, 1999 in Ottawa at ICA1999. The main purpose of the meeting is to draw to its conclusion the future of IUSM as per the IUSM President's letter in which he stated the following:
"After volumes (bytes) of correspondence finally here is the (faint) light at the end of the tunnel: Most colleagues agree that we, either should sustain IUSM as an adjunct to the Member Organizations with limited roles that offset future expenditures, or scrap it and ignore the residual potential from all the effort and goodwill (at least by several of us) that has been expended. Most colleagues also agree that in the first case we should meet and discuss what is tenable (from the old sister-society concept, through web building, to higher order tasks (?)), and confirm the specific and limited tasks for the future IUSM. In the second case, disbanding be made in a constitutionally correct fashion."
By the time this report is published the reader should know what has transpired in Ottawa.
The IUSM was abolished in Ottawa on August 14, 1999.