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Honorary Fellowship for Kirsi Virrantaus

Georg Gartner, Kirsi Virrantaus

Georg Gartner, Kirsi Virrantaus

Kirsi Virrantaus

Kirsi Virrantaus during her acceptance speech

The award

The award

During ICC 2013 Kirsi Virrantaus received the ICA Honorary Fellowship. Below you can read Menno-Jan Kraak‘s laudatio:

Dear Kirsi,

It is a great pleasure to stand here, and address you before I hand you one of the ICA awards. This award of ICA honours cartographers of outstanding international reputation who have made special contribution to the ICA.

So before I can hand this awards I have to convince the audience that you indeed qualify. Two keywords in the description of the award pop up clearly. International reputation & special contribution to ICA.

The last one is easy to verify because the ICA archives hold lot of proof. First of all you served two terms as vice-president. Starting in 1999 in Ottawa, Canada with a renewal to your term in Durban, South Africa and the obligatory end in Moscow, Russia in 2007. During those eight year is the Executive Committee started a tradition to have their meetings such that it coincided with Kirsi’s birthday, because during the first time it happened she took care of drinking logistics serving Finish vodka which was much appreciated. Today both EC meetings and birthdays are no longer that fun.

Well, one can wonder if just sitting there as vice president is good enough to qualify. That would be easy. But during your term you have also been active in two commissions: “Map and Spatial Data Use” and “Gender and Cartography”. And during your second term you also acted as working group chair of the working group on “Uncertainty of spatial data and quality of maps”. You have also hosted some pre-conference ICA events in 2007 in Espoo after which you organized a train trip from Helsinki to the main conference in Moscow. If this would not be enough you have also been the initiator of our research agenda. I clearly remember sitting in your class as co-chair of the visualization committee in La Coruna 2005, going though several exercises you prepared to get the framework of the agenda settled. Together with our former secretary general David Fairbairn you presented the first draft in Moscow 2007, which we could later publish in many cartographic journals. The fact they you got everyone in ICA to participate in this endeavor is also due to your international reputation.

Still I tried to find some more evidence for this. This was also not too difficult since you have played several leading roles in our sister organizations like FIG and ISPRS. But those activities happened before your ICA career. Your career has been an academic one, graduating in 1977 in Architecture, followed by additional degrees in Cartography and Surveying. Tracing your academic history, your publications track record is not easy because of the many metamorphoses you last name went trough. Your CV states: Kirsi VIRRANTAUS (formerly Makkonen, Eloranta, Artimo).

But I also have my own memories, we first met in The Hague in 1985 at an UDMS conference. And since then we somehow kept in touch. Today you are even Vice Dean at the School of Engineering of the Aalto University in Espoo/Helsinki. Well enough evidence to convince this audience I believe. Kirsi, I m happy to hand you this ICA reward, congratulations.

Category: General News

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