Ten Years Older - 27/06/2019

A decade ago, the International Cartographic Association (ICA) celebrated its 50th birthday in style in Bern, Switzerland (where it was founded on 9 June 1959). Ten years on, arithmetic dictates that ICA is now 60 years old. The ICA's reflections in 2009 considered, in detail, the founding and development of this important international association addressing all aspects of the vital work and fascinating activities of mapping. Today the association can look back on ten more years of progress in the mission of ICA: “To promote the disciplines and professions of cartography and GIScience in an international context”.

The ICA organization has followed the vision of its founders: a focused Executive Committee (EC), made up of eminent and dedicated cartographers from around the world; research and investigative work of practising cartographers channelled through subject-specific Commissions; awareness-raising and documentation of accomplishments through newsletters and in online arenas; promotion of cartography through engagement with member organizations around the world; publications pushing the boundaries of our discipline through journals; international meetings of cartographers in workshops, symposia and full conferences; and engagement with sister societies and international bodies.

Addressing these since 2009, ICA has organized two quadrennial General Assemblies (GA, the main decision-making body, with all member nations); the next one is taking place this July. The GA has elected a current EC somewhat different to a decade ago, with three females (out of ten), and representation from three continents. The GA also approves Commissions and has requested research into both long-standing and newer topics. Hence, current Commissions address topics that were not even considered ten years ago (e.g. sensor-driven mapping, or geoinformation management). ICA’s web presence has benefited from the enthusiasm and technical expertise of individuals primarily based in Vienna, whilst the regular ICA News is a highly informative and attractive publication, produced in New Zealand. The international reach of ICA involves engagement by EC members, notably the president and secretary-general, ensuring presence and influence throughout the world. Since 2009, ICA has established the influential International Journal of Cartography and initiated a formalized publications policy allowing successive conference presentations to be made accessible. A host of meetings related to Commissions have been organized in the past decade, and the biennial International Cartographic Conferences (ICC) have been globally successful in Santiago (2009), Paris (2011), Dresden (2013), Rio de Janeiro (2015) and Washington DC (2017). Finally, the UN-GGIM has had significant ICA input since being established in 2011.

The international cartographic community meets in Tokyo in July at the 29th ICC. This is an opportunity to confirm and implement the goals and working practices described here. The field of geomatics demonstrates the vitality and value of a range of organizations – reported on these pages – which share ICA’s characteristics.

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Last updated: 29/11/2019