Experience the World of Maps and Mapping at the ICC

This year, the International Cartographic Association will convene both virtually and in person at the 30th International Cartographic Conference (ICC) in Florence, Italy. The timing for the conference has been adjusted to December 14–18, 2021. We are all anxious to experience more normal times as we work together in looking back at the COVID-19 pandemic through our rearview mirrors. The ICC brings together colleagues from government, academia, and the private sector to share new research and developments in cartography and GIScience, exchange experiences from our daily work and map hobbies, and reconnect with friends and make new connections.

Program offerings at the ICC include keynote addresses from leaders in the cartographic field, presentations on a variety of relevant cartographic and GIScience topics, the International Cartographic Exhibition, a Technical Exhibition, social events, tours of Florence and the surrounding region, and more. Keynote addresses each day will excite us about what is possible as we venture into a new era making our way out of the pandemic. Speakers will examine how cartography and GIScience contributed to pandemic solutions and may look at ways of strengthening programs and processes that yield stronger defenses against future pandemics. The daily keynotes provide ideas for future agendas in cartography and GIScience—from the classroom to the workplace.

The list of conference topics indicates the extensive nature of the cartographic field. Many themes reflect the focus of the 28 ICA Commissions as well as other relevant topics of interest. Examples of topical themes include artificial intelligence in mapping, atlases, cartography for early warning and crisis management, cartography, privacy and ethics, education, geoinformation management, geospatial data, infrastructure and standards, geovisualization, location-based services, mapping and sustainable development, military mapping, marine cartography, participatory mapping, and the transformation of national mapping agencies.

Information about participating in the 30th ICC is available on the conference website. For those who simply want to attend and personally experience the many facets of a cartographic conference in a wonderful venue, you are encouraged to sample every aspect, even if only for a brief time. You can hear an interesting talk or have a conversation with the author of a poster on a topic that grabs your attention. You can absorb the creativity demonstrated by the countries and companies that produced impressive visual displays of data and other interesting artifacts. You can visit with vendors to learn more about what they do and their plans. You can also take a tour of Florence to take in the rich history of the Renaissance or simply enjoy a walk through a working city to observe the daily routines and hear a romance language combined with other sounds of Florence.

For those who want to be part of the conference’s scientific program, there are two submission options: a full paper or an abstract. Go to the details of the submission, review, and selection process.

The deadline for submitting a full paper was March 19, 2021. Authors of papers that are accepted by the Scientific Program Committee will receive guidance regarding possible publication.

The deadline for abstracts is May 28, 2021. If an abstract is accepted, authors are invited to give either an oral or a poster presentation at the conference. The type of presentation will be decided by the Program Committee.

The International Cartographic Exhibition is a large venue for display of the best recent works from countries around the world and from the ICA’s affiliate members, including companies and organizations. Examples of cartographic products include maps, charts, atlases, and digital online cartographic displays and services. Other categories of maps and geospatial data are also part of the exhibition including spatial data infrastructures, educational maps, globes, and tactile map products. Most of these products are eligible for competitions in various categories that are judged by an expert panel of judges and members of the public who view the exhibition.

The Barbara Petchenik Competition [an international map drawing competition for children] is another treat at the International Cartographic Exhibition. The cartographic work of children from each participating country is on full display during the ICC. The theme for this year’s competition is A Map of My Future World. Given all that we have been through this last year, it is possible that we might see some of the most creative maps ever in this year’s competition. One of several awards for the best map given in the Barbara Petchenik Competition will be decided by public voting.

The ICC 2021 in Florence provides unique business opportunities for sponsors and exhibitors from the private sector. Companies and organizations can promote their products, services, and contributions to cartography and the geospatial industry. Leaders from companies and organizations have an opportunity to observe frontline research efforts to leverage developments that may yield new business opportunities. In addition, engaging with researchers at the ICC affords an opportunity for company and organization developers to discuss challenges they face in pursuing new products, services, and capabilities. Companies wanting to expand in a global market gain exposure to a global community of experts in a reassuring environment.

For attendees who have an interest in the work of the ICA Commissions, each commission will meet during the ICC and many will schedule special programs and workshops prior to or immediately following the ICC, either in Florence or in a nearby location. Go to specific ICA commission websites for further details.

Decades ago, the ICA had a conference in a European city that was referred to as the Florence of the North. This time we can be together in the city of Florence to experience the rich history, art, and connections to our cartographic heritage. Florence, as the Renaissance capital, is the right place at the right time. The city leaders of Florence are in full support of the ICC. The ministers of tourism from Florence and the greater region of Tuscany welcome everyone to the city and region. The conference organizers in Florence have worked very closely with the ICA Executive Committee and the ICA Commission chairs to guarantee an exciting and provocative conference experience. As we make our way out of the current pandemic, plan to attend the 30th International Cartographic Conference in Florence, Italy, and contribute to the rebirth of our professional lives, our future business ventures, and our collective healing after more than a year of uncertainty.

About the author

Tim Trainor is a part-time consultant to the United Nations (UN) and is the former chief geospatial scientist for the US Census Bureau. He currently serves as president of the International Cartographic Association. Trainor has extensive experience in cartographic and geospatial topics that include exploring methodological, technical, and substantive issues relating to cartography and the collection, management, and integration of geospatial information. He served as cochair for the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management and as head of the US delegation to that committee. He was the senior agency official for geospatial information for the US Department of Commerce and was an executive member of the US Federal Geographic Data Committee. He is involved with several professional associations, including the Cartography and Geographic Information Society. Trainor holds a postgraduate diploma in cartography from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, within the Faculty of Science; a master’s certificate in project management from the George Washington University School of Business and Public Management; and a bachelor of arts degree from Rutgers University.