The Carl Mannerfelt gold medal of ICA is awarded rarely, to 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 in order to emphasise its distinction.
Professor Dr Ferjan Ormeling of the Netherlands matches this requirement, by his tireless efforts to promote and develop the discipline of cartography, alongside his excellent service to the International Cartographic Association.
The research and educational interests of Professor Ormeling have matched his commitment to ICA, and it is to these topics we must direct our attention. His original contributions have addressed a range of cartographic enquiries and thought, starting with his early PhD work on the important topic of toponymy. Professor Ormeling has continued this work to the present day: he is the vice chair of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, and has been convenor of its Working Group on Training Courses in Toponymy. In this capacity he has travelled the world on a volunteer basis, meeting, educating, and directing local cartographic practitioners and decision makers; and has organised courses in countries from Algeria to Indonesia.
His educational activities have included practical studies of cartographic education in fields such as animated mapping, but most importantly his jointly authored textbook (with Professor Kraak), Cartography: Visualization of Spatial Data, now in its third edition. He also co-chaired the ICA’s Commission on Education and Training for 12 years, and presented many workshops and publications on education.
His educational interests have supported strong research work also in the field of historical cartography; his specialisation in East Indies mapping has resulted in a number of extremely impressive large-format, academically-informed graphic works, but he has also studied the historical development of atlases closer to home – primarily his old school friend the famous Bos Atlas, used by every Dutch schoolchild. Again, the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography has benefitted from his sound support, particularly in the form of educational workshops.
Professor Ormeling has extended his incisive approach to cartographic thinking to newly emerging fields such as geovisualisation, data quality, media mapping, and environmental and planning mapping.
This extensive academic and research career has led to the publication of approximately 450 items with his name as author. Such a volume and quality of work, coupled with his support for ICA as Commission chair, national representative and Secretary General for 8 years, makes Ferjan Ormeling a worthy recipient of our highest honour, the Carl Mannerfelt gold medal.