International Cartographic Association

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International Cartographic Association
Logo of the International Cartographic Association.gif
Abbreviation ICA
Formation 1959, Bern, Switzerland
Region served
Official language
English, French
Georg Gartner
Parent organization
International Council for Science
Website ICA Official website

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 and GIScience, dealing with all aspects of design, production and use of maps and geoinformation (GI). 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.


In short, the mission of the International Cartographic Association (ICA) is to promote the disciplines and professions of cartography and GIScience in an international context.


A detailed leadership statement for action was defined in the ICA Strategic Plan 2011–2019, which was adopted by the 15th General Assembly of the ICA in Paris, France, on 8 July 2011. The Strategic Plan states:

The aim of ICA is to ensure that cartography and GIScience are employed to maximum effect and full potential for the benefit of society and science through promotion and representation of the disciplines and professions of cartography and GIScience internationally.


Targets for accomplishing the vision are:

◦ to contribute to the understanding and solution of world problems through the use of Cartography and GI science in decision-making processes.

◦ to foster the national and international use of geospatially referenced environmental, economic and social information.

◦ to encourage introduction of a focused geospatial basis for national and international statistical information.

◦ to provide global fora for discussion of Cartography and GI science.

◦ to participate in meetings, dissemination and publication in concert with sister societies and international organizations including the UN, sharing its vision with these organisations.

◦ to facilitate the transfer of new Cartographic and GI knowledge between and within nations, especially to developing nations, and to undertake Capacity Building, notably for communities in need.

◦ to perform or to promote multi-national Cartographic and GI research, including collaborative and trans-disciplinary research, in order to solve scientific and applied problems.

◦ to maintain a contemporary Research Agenda which is recognized as a leading and authoritative document addressing humankind.

◦ to enhance education in Cartography and GI science in the broadest sense through publications, seminars, conferences, competitions and exhibitions.

◦ to develop and promote the use of professional and technical standards, guidelines and applications of theory in Cartography and GI science.

◦ to demonstrate the utility of Cartography and GI science to all professions.

◦ to offer its expertise and knowledge of technical developments to other organisations e.g. governments, statistical bodies, GI management organisations etc.

◦ to support map-related research in specific topics such as child education, history, theory, and assistance for the visually-impaired.

◦ to maintain a repository of knowledge disseminated through the work of Commissions and Working Groups, Conferences, Workshops, publications and the Research Agenda.

To achieve these aims, the ICA works with national and international governmental and commercial bodies, and with other international scientific societies.

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[edit]

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.


Working groups[edit]


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[edit]

ICA Awards[edit]

Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]