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International Cartographic Association

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International Cartographic Association

The International Cartographic Association (ICA), French Association Cartographique Internationale (ACI), is an organization formed of national member organizations, to provide a forum for issues and techniques in cartography and GIScience. The International Cartographic Association is the world authoritative body for cartography, the discipline dealing with the conception, production, dissemination and study of maps. The ICA was founded on June 9, 1959, in Bern, Switzerland. The first General Assembly was held in Paris in 1961. The mission of the International Cartographic Association is to promote the discipline and profession of Cartography and GIScience in an international context.

The logo of the ICA

The International Cartographic Association exists: • to contribute to the understanding and solution of world-wide problems through the use of cartography in decision-making processes. • to foster the international dissemination of environmental, economic, social and spatial information through mapping. • to provide a global forum for discussion of the role and status of cartography. • to facilitate the transfer of new cartographic technology and knowledge between nations, especially to the developing nations. • to carry out or to promote multi-national cartographic research in order to solve scientific and applied problems. • to enhance cartographic education in the broadest sense through publications, seminars and conferences. • to promote the use of professional and technical standards in cartography. The Association works with national and international governmental and commercial bodies and with other international scientific societies to achieve these aims. (Adopted by the 10th General Assembly of the International Cartographic Association, Barcelona, Spain, 3 September 1995.)

Since its foundation in Bern in 1959 it has met biennially. English and French are the official languages.


ICA's first president was Professor Eduard Imhof, Switzerland, 1961-1964. Previous Presidents have been:

  • 1964-1968 Brig. Dennis Thackwell, United Kingdom.
  • 1968-1972 Professor Konstantin Salichtchev, USSR.
  • 1972-1976 Professor Arthur H. Robinson, USA.
  • 1976-1984 Professor Ferdinand Ormeling, The Netherlands.
  • 1984-1987 Professor Joel Morrison, USA.
  • 1987-1995 Professor Fraser Taylor, Canada.
  • 1995-1999 Dr Michael Wood OBE, United Kingdom.
  • 1999-2003 Professor Bengt Rystedt, Sweden.
  • 2003-2007 Professor Milan Konecny, Czech Republic.
  • 2007-2011 Professor William Cartwright, Australia

The current President is Professor Georg Gartner of Austria.

Executive Committee

On 8 July 2011 member nations elected the new Executive Committee (EC) of the ICA for the 2011–2015 term. Its members represent all major regions of the world, from Africa to Europe and from Americas to Asia and Oceania.

  • President: Georg Gartner
  • Secretary-General and Treasurer: László Zentai
  • Vice-President: Derek Clarke
  • Vice-President: Menno-Jan Kraak
  • Vice-President: Sukendra Martha
  • Vice-President: Paulo Menezes
  • Vice-President: Anne Ruas
  • Vice-President: Timothy F. Trainor
  • Vice-President: Liu Yaolin
  • Past President: William Cartwright


To coordinate international cartographic work Commissions and Working Groups have been established. These are chaired by experts in a specific field of cartography and comprise members from the international Cartography and GIScience community.


  • Commission on Art and Cartography
  • Commission on Atlases
  • Commission on Cartography and Children
  • Commission on Cartography in Early Warning and Crisis Management
  • Commission on Cognitive Visualization
  • Commission on Data Quality
  • Commission on Digital Technologies in Cartographic Heritage
  • Commission on Education and Training
  • Commission on Generalisation and Multiple Representation
  • Commission on Geoinformation Infrastructures and Standards
  • Commission on Geospatial Analysis and Modeling
  • Commission on Geovisualization
  • Commission on GI for Sustainability
  • Commission on the History of Cartography
  • Commission on Map Design
  • Commission on Map Production and Geobusiness
  • Commission on Map Projections
  • Commission on Mapping from Remote Sensing Imagery
  • Commission on Maps and Graphics for the Blind and the Partially Sighted People
  • Commission on Maps and Society
  • Commission on Maps and the Internet
  • Commission on Mountain Cartography
  • Commission on Neocartography
  • Commission on Open Source Geospatial Technologies
  • Commission on Planetary Cartography
  • Commission on Theoretical Cartography
  • Commission on Ubiquitous Mapping
  • Commission on Use and User Issues

Working groups

  • Joint Working Group and IGU Commission on Toponymy
  • Working Group on International Map Year


There are two form of membership:

  • National member can be a National Cartographic or Geographical Information Organisations, National Mapping and Cadastral Institutions, or coordinating National Cartographic Committees who wish to represent their nation as a member of ICA.
  • Affiliate member s are Organisations, Institutions or Companies wishing to support the mission and activities of the International Cartographic Association.


The International Cartographic Conference (ICC) takes place every second year in one of the member countries. At every second conference (every fourth year) it hosts the General Assembly of the ICA.

ICC Conferences

ICA Awards

Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal

The Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal honours cartographers of outstanding merit who have made significant contributions of an original nature to the field of cartography; it is awarded only on rare occasions.

Name Nationality Year
Fraser Taylor Canada 2013
Ferjan Ormeling The Netherlands 2009
Jack Dangermond United States of America 2007
David Rhind United Kingdom 2005
Ernst Spiess Switzerland 2005
Chen Shupeng China 2001
Joel L. Morrison United States of America 2001
Jacques Bertin France 1999
Ferdinand J. Ormeling The Netherlands 1987
Carl Mannerfelt Sweden 1981
Arthur H. Robinson United States of America 1980
Konstantin A. Salichtchev Soviet Union 1980
Eduard Imhof Switzerland 1979–1980

ICA Honorary Fellowship

The ICA Honorary Fellowship is for cartographers of international reputation who have made special contribution to the ICA. It includes a bronze medal. See all awardees.

ICA Map Awards at the International Map Exhibition

At the biennial International Map Exhibitions at the ICC an international jury selects the best entries. See all winners here.

Barbara Petchenik International Children Map Design Competition

This competition is organized every two years at the ICC. In a national round in all participating ICA member countries, the national winners are selected, which are exhibited during the International Cartographic Conference, where the international winners are selected. The national winner's list can be found at Carleton University Library.

External links

  • ICA web site
  • The Facebook page of the ICA
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