ICA was founded on 9 June 1959, in Bern, Switzerland. Preparatory conferences, during which its foundation was discussed, were held from 1956–1959: the Esselte conference, Stockholm 1956, the Rand McNally conference, Chicago 1957 and the DGfK conference, Mainz (Germany) 1958. The first General Assembly was held in Paris in 1961: that is also when the statutes were accepted. Later conferences have been held around the world from India (Delhi, 1968) to South Africa (Durban 2003), from Italy (Stresa, 1970) to Mexico (Morelia, 1987), from Australia (Perth, 1984) to China (Beijing 2001) and in many other locations.
The international nature of ICA activity has also been reflected by the work of its Commissions and Working Groups over many decades, under the leadership of many different people and in many different places. These organisations have addressed the full range of scientific, technical and social research which is the mark of ICA activity.
Throughout its 50-year history, ICA has brought together researchers, government mapping agencies, commercial cartographic publishers, software developers, educators, earth and environmental scientists, and those with a passion for maps. The cartographic world has changed significantly since 1959 – the role and impact of ICA has been steadfast. Proud of its traditions, ICA looks forward to the next 50 years: we hope they will be as vibrant and valuable as the first 50 years.
Get more information about the 50th Birthday Celebration of ICA in 2009.
For a table with all previous Executive Committees and International Cartographic Conferences, please go to the Executive Committee Archive.
The ICA is officially registered as an idealistic non-profit organization in Switzerland (Canton Fribourg, tax number: 008.123.502/17).