Important dates in the history of the Survey of Israel (Previously Survey Department and Survey Bureau 1993-2009)

Important dates in the history of the Survey of Israel (Previously Survey Department and Survey Bureau)

Translated from the original Hebrew version.

Part 3: 1993 and on

Zion Shitrug – Director General of Survey of Israel from January 1, 1993 until October 31, 1994

Aviel Ron - Director General of Survey of Israel from November 1, 1994 until March 31, 2002

Giora Golod – Acting Director General of Survey of Israel from April 1, 2002 until March 31, 2003

Dr. Haim Srebro - Director General of Survey of Israel since April 1, 2003

Summarized by: Hilik Horovitz

The chronological history of the Survey of Israel as it entered the digital age (GIS, survey equipment, permanent stations, new networks, coordinate-based cadastral development and three-dimensional cadastre); improved customer services (online sales, the new Atlas of Israel, the Israel Geospatial Information Portal, map exhibitions, accelerated registration); contributed to defining the state's borders (completing the Egyptian border and surveying and marking the Jordanian border).

January 1, 1993Zion Shitrug becomes the third Director General of the Survey of Israel. Beforehand, he had served as acting Director since 1992 while Dr. Alder travelled abroad.
June 17, 1993Government ruling no. 1418 on the the establishment of a national geographical database, is published in continuation to the Dec. 25, 1990 ruling. This ruling institutes a single common language for all geographic databases – from government and different organizational databases to the Survey of Israel's national GIS (Geographic Information System). Government offices must commit to using this common language and to raise government GIS activity to the levels and methods used in other developed countries, which will also promote cooperation with them.
December 1993The Toponomasticon – The Book of Geographical Names in Israel is published by Survey of Israel and Carta publishers. The book includes 6865 names of settlements, mountains, streams, rivers, ruins, parks and more. The book was edited by Prof. Naftali Kadmon, former Cartography Director at the Survey of Israel.
January 1994The first of new series of 1:25,000 maps is printed. The map is derived from the national GIS database. The first six maps, which will be published by 1997, cover part of the Judea area (plains, mountains and desert). These are topographic maps; hiking trails, nature reserves and additional information are not marked.
May 4, 1994The Agreement on the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area (the Cairo Agreement) between Israel and the Palestinians is signed. SOI employees are involved in technical preparation of the maps used to reach the agreement, which were printed by SOI publishing house.
October 26, 1994A peace treaty is signed between the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan at the new border terminal north of Eilat. The SOI works with the military unit during negotiations and is involved in marking the border between the two countries. SOI sends representatives to the Joint Team Experts (JTE) and surveying teams to perform field surveys and mark the border. The calculations department provides data to the surveyors. The SOI publishing house prints the orthophoto album with border indications, the world's first album to mark international borders in this manner.
1994The Israel 1:100,000 Atlas is published by the Survey of Israel and Carta. Each map is accompanied by a description of the sites in its range. The atlas contains an appendix listing geographical names – an abridged edition of the toponomasticon.
October 31, 1994Zion Shitrug steps down as Director General of the Survey of Israel on October 31, 1994, but does not sever ties with SOI. He becomes a member of the Director General's consulting committee and studies cartography at Tel Aviv University.
November 1, 1994Aviel Ron becomes Survey of Israel's fourth Director General.
November 1995A population and housing census is held in Israel. Since 1992, SOI and the Central Bureau of Statistics have been worked on a common database of Israel's 193 settlements with populations of over 2000 people. The survey information is stored using a geographic information system format which combines graphic and alpha-numeric data. A database is prepared for the census, containing information about buildings, lists and categorization of travel routes, street names and house numbers as well as the function and designation of buildings in 101 of these settlements; the database of the remaining settlements contains only partial information.
1995Director General Aviel Ron opens the Chief Scientist office and appoints Dr. Joseph Forrai as director. Formalizing scientific research and technological development will help accelerate the scientific activity in which SOI is involved. The Chief Scientist at SOI is responsible for promoting scientific publications based on research done at SOI or with its cooperation; sending articles to Israeli and international professional journals for publication and organizing scientific conferences.
February 1995The Survey of Israel and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem publish the New Atlas of Israel. This is the fourth edition of the atlas and the first designed especially for students, based on Israel's school curriculum. It contains advanced-technology satellite and aerial photographs and covers a vast variety of topics.
1996Survey of Israel purchases a 152mm focal length RC 30 aerial camera with a higher resolution lens then any of the earlier models.
January 16, 1996An agreement is signed which defines the sea border between Israel and Jordan in the Gulf of Eilat. This is the only border within sovereign waters defined by any two countries in the region. The border is defined using a new sea-border marking method which combines methods of marking borders between connected beaches and between two beaches opposite each other.
March 26, 1996An agreement is reached in a meeting held in Rafah to use GPS equipment to document the border created by Israeli and Egyptian surveying teams in September 1992. Joint border  documentation will enable precise marking in all databases and on maps on any scale. The survey also guarantees that any post or border segment may be repositioned if necessary.
September 1996The first edition of the Israel Road Map Atlas is published by SOI and Cordinta Ltd. The atlas contains 1:175,000 road maps and city maps (mostly 1:12,500). An additional six editions of the atlas will be published by 2003.
December 1996As preparations are made to migrate from the old Israel network to the new one, Survey of Israel publishes a book on Israel network conversion. The book will assist surveyors assigned to migrating from the old Israel network to the new one and vice versa. The book includes inversion charts for transferring from one network to the other and defines its limited degree of accuracy. Although the new network will not be activated until 1998, SOI has been using it since the early 1990s for GIS databases; and has been using it to prepare plans for registry and land parcel maps since 1994.
December 23, 1997Aviel Ron, Director General of SOI, recommends that certified surveyors begin using the new leveling values of Israel's vertical control points as of February 1, 1998. After a six-month trial period, SOI will begin using the new values exclusively. The new values of 3425 vertical control points are more accurate and are the result of leveling network coordination and control point surveys conducted over the last decade.
March 1998The inter-agency commission for land rights registration directed by Eli Deliski (the Deliski Commission) publishes a report summary on the status of housing unit registration in Israel. Approximately 783,000 apartments, 47% of the apartments that can be registered do not appear in the land registry. Dr. Gershon Steinberg of the SOI is a member of the commission. Following the report and in an attempt to hasten registry, Chief Surveyor offices are opened within the Ministry of Construction and Housing and the Israel Land Administration who will work with surveyors to prepare plans for registry and land parcel maps. SOI is longer the exclusive authority for cadastral surveys but remains responsible for registration plan control and approval, for professional supervision and land parcel supervision and approval. These activities will reduce the number of unregistered apartments to approx. 400,000 in early 2004, to approx. 300,000 in April 2007, and the numbers continue to decline over the years.
May 7, 19985758-1998 Surveyor Regulations (surveys and mapping) are published. They regulate the vertical and horizontal control networks, topographic mapping, survey equipment calibration and intactness and surveying and editing registry plans. These regulations replace those published in 1987.
July 8, 1998Government ruling no. 3982 announces the establishment of the national archives of maps and aerial photographs at the SOI. A joint staff is formed which is comprised of members of the National Archives, representatives of the Ministry of Construction and Housing, the Ministry of Defense, and the Budgeting Department of the Ministry of Finance and is directed by the Director General of SOI. The team will submit plans for the SOI archives within 3 months.
July 23, 1998The new Israel network is officially activated after the 5758-1998 Surveyor Regulations are published. A new ITM (Israel Transverse Mercator) is selected for the new network. It is more accurate than the old network (Israel Cassini Soldner projection) which becomes less accurate as it approaches Eilat.
1998Surveys and calculations for the new geodesic-geodynamic network are completed. The new network includes 160 top control points (G1) and its main purpose is to establish the national geodesic infrastructure. The accuracy and uniformity of the network will improve, providing an infrastructure to define spatial datum in Israel and to define geometric (ellipsoid) datum for heights.
1998-1999SOI and the private sector begin generating serial orthophoto for Israel's civilian use. The orthophoto is digital and provides nation-wide coverage. It is generated from analog aerial photos taken with standard photogrammetric cameras. The photos are scanned with a precise photogrammetric scanner and digitally processed in accordance with the national topographic GIS control. The orthophoto is updated once per year. The digital orthophoto echelon becomes one of the basic echelons of the national topographic GIS and is available for public use.
199950 Years of Mapping Israel, 1948-1998 is published by the Survey of Israel at Director General, Aviel Ron's initiative. The book was written by Dr. Ron Adler and Dr. Dov Gavish. It summarizes SOI's fields of expertise and how they evolved during the first 50 years of the State of Israel's existence.  The book describes mapping, control networks, land regulation, manpower, different types of maps and aerial photographs, transitioning to digital technologies, the national Geographic Information System (GIS), state borders and more.
19991:25,000 maps are printed once again. An emphasis is made on mapping the northern region, from the Carmel Mountains and northward. The maps indicate nature reserves, hiking trails, biking trails and more, unlike the 1:25,000 maps of the Judea region. Information about places and sites that appear on the maps can be found on the back of some of them. A decision is made to map only the more popular areas in the north and center of the country, due to time constraints and the monetary cost of mapping the entire country.
1999A hydrographic department opens in SOI to map Israel's coasts and ports. The department's first point of action is to update the British hydrographic map of Haifa, which maps the coastal area between Acre and Atlit.
1999-2000Government rulings 144/99 and 2216/2000 regarding more efficient use of land and three-dimensional and spatial cadastre are published. These rulings require formalizing the conditions for using a land parcel for multiple purposes, by multiple owners, both on the surface and below it. Government offices and authorized organizations, including Survey of Israel are asked to resolve problems that derive from these rulings.
2000The SOI Photogrammetry department migrates to digital photogrammetry based on scanned analog aerial photographs. A high-quality photogrammetric scanner is purchased for this purpose. Most of the work on these digital stations is based on ATLAS KLT-type applications and focuses on preparing material for the national GIS receiving stations, quality control and correcting material received from suppliers, coordinating material and feeding it into GIS libraries.
March 2000SOI publishes a pilgrimage map of the Sea of Galilee in honor of Pope John Paul II's visit to Israel. The 1:30,000 map is entitled Christian Sites Around the Sea of Galilee and includes a 1:10,000 map of the Tabgha- Capernaum region. SOI also prints English language tourist maps of Jerusalem, Nazareth and the Holy Land Map for pilgrims planning on visiting the holy land in 2000.
June 2000The Vinik Institute of the Mikveh Yisrael Agricultural School decides not to re-open the geodesy program in the coming school year due to insufficient registration. This marks the end of a 25 year era during which the institute trained 407 survey technicians. SOI prepared the curriculum and sent most of its lecturers to teach in that program. Haim Markovich, a senior SOI employee, directed the program for most of the years of its existence.
June 23, 2000Alex Bord, SOIs aerial photographer and his pilot, Meyer Haber, are killed when their Ofek aircraft crashes in the sea near the coast of Herzliya, during a photography flight. The RC30 camera is damaged in the crash and is no longer used.
Late 2000Amnon Lifshitz steps down as survey coordinator in the Administration of Coordination and Communications with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip region, located in the Erez industrial zone. Lifshitz had worked in the Erez industrial zone since completing his job as special staff administrator for surveying in Gaza in 1994, following the Oslo Agreement.
2001SOI, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and the Israel Trail Committee complete a series of 1:50,000 hiking trail maps as they publish the final map in the series: The Jordan Valley and Eastern Samaria (map number 5-6).
May 2001The first map of the sea prepared by SOI is launched in a ceremony at the Herzliya Marina. The Map of the Herzliya Harbor is on a scale of 1:10,000, with a small 1:5000 map of the harbor itself. Aviel Ron, Director General of SOI, and Yael German, Mayor of Herzliya, take part in the ceremony.
September 6, 2001SOI dedicates the National Archives of Maps and Aerial Photos, per government decision no. 3982. SOI employees, guests and representatives of institutions that work with SOI participate in the ceremony. The guest of honor, who also cut the ribbon, was Minister of Construction and Housing, Natan Sharansky.
January 2002An exhibition entitled Maps of the Holy Land is displayed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, exhibiting ancient and modern maps of Israel. Some of the maps were contributed by the national archives at SOI.
March 26, 2002Aviel Ron, Director General of SOI addresses SOI employees before the Passover holiday. This turns out to be his final address. Aviel and his two children, Anat and Ofer, are murdered in a terrorist attack at the Matza restaurant in Haifa, during the Passover holiday.
April 1, 2002Giora Golod, Vice President of Information and Mapping, is appointed acting Director General of SOI. His appointment will be extended every three months until the end of March, 2003.
September 1, 2002SOI hires a team to run a research and development project on three-dimensional and multi-layer cadastre in Israel. The team will study the different aspects of preparing and approving plans according to the Planning and Construction Law. Geodesy engineer, Uri Shoshani, manages the project. Other members of the team are geodesy engineer, Moshe Benhamu (currently an SOI employee); SOI Chief Scientist, Dr. Joseph Forrai and SOI Legal Advisor, Gili Kirschner, Adv. The project will continue for two years, until the summary report is submitted to SOI in September 2004.
April 1, 2003Haim Srebro becomes fifth Director General of the Survey of Israel.
Late 2003SOI Director General, Haim Srebro, decides on consistent action to implement coordinate-based cadastre in Israel which will become the basis for improving the planning, construction and land registration processes in the State of Israel and will contribute to significantly reducing the implementation timetables. It will provide infrastructure to increase land marketing and even improve the national cadastral data infrastructure.
2003-2004A pilot run of the three-dimensional cadastre project is conducted at the central urban business center being built in Modiin. The conclusion is that spatial registration plans can already be prepared, including three-dimensional models of the different neighborhoods. The summary report of the pilot run is submitted to SOI by Armi Grinstein Geodesy Engineering, Ltd. in August 2004.
2004SOI prints a newly formatted, computerized 1:400,000 physical map. In addition, SOI Director General Dr. Haim Srebro decides to print a 1:400,000 map in Arabic, one of the country's official languages. The map is included in the new Atlas of Israel in 2008, at a 1:300,000 scale.
January 7, 2004The first coordinate-based cadastre forum is held, led by SOI Director General Haim Srebro and Chairman of the Surveyor's Association, Yossi Kraus. The forum discusses principles of coordinate-based cadastre, while the key question is if a new, precise data infrastructure should be built and used exclusively, or if earlier surveys should be taken into consideration (despite their lower degree of accuracy).
May 2004The three-dimensional cadastre project team manager, Uri Shoshani, presents the team's findings at a FIG (International Federation of Surveyors) conference, where it is praised by experts from all over the world. Following the presentation, Israel is considered one of the world's leading countries in this field.
May 2004SOI begins implementing the plan to hasten the process of registry plan approval. In 2006-2008, the number of these plans will reach 1200-1400 per year, as opposed to 600-800 per year only one decade ago, despite the declining number of SOI employees. Visiting, non-SOI surveyors join the project but they receive visiting appointments from the Director General. The control and tracking system tracks the process and enables consistent inspection.
September 2004The SOI three-dimensional cadastre project team presents the Director General with a summary report of its work. A guiding principle:  Promote three-dimensional and multi-layer cadastre while making only necessary changes to land registration procedures. Three-dimensional cadastre will be implemented only on sites with underground or surface spatial settings or on sites in which these are planned. Thus, three-dimensional cadastre can be implemented while changing relevant sections in the Land Law, The Planning and Construction Law and the relevant regulations.
2005From this point on, a geo-cartographic data base is developed and implemented at the Survey of Israel. ARCGIS software, version 9.2 and on supports cartographic editing of a geographic data base. The software displays all relevant entities, according to on-screen definitions which enables the program's editing and correction tool and converts the data into a complete, high-quality cartographic product.
November 2005SOI publishes the Coastal Atlas – SOI 2005. The atlas will support the Coastal Environment Protection Law, 5764-2004, which commenced on November 15, 2004, with the goal of protecting Israel's coastal environment.
January 26, 2006

Two approaches are presented by two pilot teams at the voluntary forum on coordinate-based cadastre:
1. Dr. Shmuel Hodorov's team concludes that it is possible to use the old calculated values of control points and convert them to the 2005 network. Points that did not endure and new parcels will be completed by conducting new surveys.

2. The team organized by Armi Grinstein Geodesy Engineering, Ltd. concludes that a basic database of values taken from survey projects conducted before the 1998 regulations should be formed, and values from large projects conducted from this point on should be added to it, resulting in a large database achieved with reasonable effort.

Dr. Gershon Steinberg requires migration to the 2005 network before coordinate-based cadastre can be implemented; the new Israel network is not accurate enough.

April 18, 2007The Director instructs surveyors to use the 2005 Israel network for any new control points. The 2005 network is the new, precise control network based on an array of permanent stations (G0) and on the coordinates defined for them by the new Israel network on October 1, 2004. Geodynamic network points (G1) are added, which were measured via permanent stations, as well as an additional 1200 control points (G2), measured in relation to the permanent stations. This directive goes into effect on May 1, 2007.
September 3, 2007An exhibition entitled Geography of War opens at the photography museum in the Tel Chai Industrial Park, displaying maps and photographs of Israel taken during the first World War. The exhibition is organized by SOI employees. It includes 90 maps and aerial photographs, mostly from the SOI maps and aerial photograph archives. Pictures, maps and professional assistance were provided by mapping and military history experts: Dr. Dov Gavish and Dr. Yigal Shefi. The exhibit curator is Dr. Haim Srebro, Director General of SOI. The maps and aerial photographs show preparations for battle (fortification), the battles and forces advancement routes and the Israeli borders,  some of which are the outcome of war.
November 28, 2007The National Geospatial Information Portal is launched. It will be directed by Zeev Boim, Minister of Construction and Housing and by SOI Director General. The portal allows the user to locate specific information about settlements, institutions and other infrastructure sites using browsers, address locators, blocks and plots and more. The site is available on-line to the public.
2008The number of permanent stations in the network reaches 19 stations which are distributed closely enough to achieve the precision needed for land regulation and registration surveys. The method that is based on permanent stations and enables precise, real-time surveys is called Real Time Kinematic (RTK).
January 23, 2008An agreement is signed between SOI and the Civil Engineering Department at the Technion University. The signatories are SOI Director General, Dr. Haim Srebro and Vice President of the Technion, Prof. Paul Feigin.
April 2008SOI and Hebrew University in Jerusalem publish the New Atlas of Israel – the National Atlas. This is the atlas's fifth edition and like its predecessor (the 1995 edition), is accessible to all students. The atlas emphasizes relevant topics including didactic innovations based on comments and requests made by teachers and educators, using modern technology such as computerization, GIS and more.
June 3-11, 2008SOI Director General, Dr. Haim Srebro participates in the ISPRS 2008 conference in Beijing. During his stay in China, he meets with the Chinese Minister of National Infrastructures and members of the SBSM (the China National Survey Center). An agreement will be signed one year later between the Chinese and Israeli survey centers.
June 19, 2008SOI Director General, Dr. Haim Srebro receives the FIG (International Federation of Surveyors) flag at the federation's annual conference, to be flown the following year when the conference is held in Israel.
September 25, 2008The New Atlas of Israel – the National Atlas is launched in a joint ceremony organized by SOI and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The new atlas is dedicated to the memory of Prof. Aryeh Shahar and includes a large amount of new content (especially topics that are relevant to modern times and those that are central to the public agenda), didactics (implementing ideas and suggestions made by geography teachers and educators), and technology (full computerization, GIS technology and image processing). SOI Director General, Dr. Haim Srebro is acting chairman of the atlas editorial staff.
October 30, 2008An agreement is signed with LVG – the survey and cadastre center in Bavaria, Germany.
May 3-8, 2009Survey of Israel and the Association of Certified Surveyors host the annual FIG conference in Eilat. Representatives from 60 different countries participate in the conference. It includes 250 professional lectures, many of which are given by SOI members, and is highly praised by the guests, including presidents of the FIG, ISPRS (the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote
Sensing) and GSDI. The guests compliment both the high professional level of the conference and the hospitality which includes an unforgettable gala evening under the Solomon's Pillars.
May 3-8, 2009During the FIG conference, a meeting is held with the Chinese National Survey Center (SBSM) which ends with a cooperation agreement between the two organizations.
May 3-8, 2009The English edition of 60 Years of Surveying and Mapping Israel is published and distributed to participants in the FIG conference. The book was written by Dr. Haim Srebro, Dr. Ron Adler and Dr. Dov Gavish.