Welcome to the International Cartographic Association
Welcome to the website of the International Cartographic AssociationGet to know the new ICA Executive Committee for the term 2023-2027Get to know the ICA Commissions for the term 2023-2027
Welcome to the website of the International Cartographic Association
Get to know the new ICA Executive Committee for the term 2023-2027
Get to know the ICA Commissions for the term 2023-2027

March is here with Columbus E-Learning as the Map of the Month

Columbus E-Learning

We are happy to announce the Map of the Month for October: “Columbus E-Learning” by Liber is a Swedish learning tool for children, which received the second jury’s prize in the category “Educational Cartographic Resources” at the International Cartographic Exhibition at ICC 2011 in Paris.

Zoom in and get more details here!

Category: General News

Three older ICC proceedings digitized and available online

We are happy to announce that we digitized three older ICC proceedings and made them available on our publications page. We now have all the proceedings online since 1993. The new ones are:

We would like to thank the Swedish Cartographic Society, the Institut Cartogràfic de Catalunya and the German Society of Cartography for allowing this use and Sigita Grīnfelde for the indexing work.

We are interested to hear in the comments below if these proceedings are of any help for you.

Category: General News

Honorary Fellowship for Bengt Rystedt

The ICA Fellowship is a distinguished award recognising the contribution of the recipient to the work of the International Cartographic Association. For Bengt Rystedt, ICA has been a focus of an extraordinary range of activities which have brought excellence to the organisation.

Whilst showing exceptional attention to detail, Dr. Rystedt has always considered the long term health and welfare of the Association. His long term commitment to equity, notably in dealing with ICA’s outreach to less developed nations, is evident in his strong interest in African issues and his willingness to engage with organisations and individuals in Africa in order to improve capacity building in that important continent. Much of this work has been done whilst playing a leading role in the Joint Board of Geospatial Information Societies, as an effective spokesperson for ICA and for the initiatives which have been proposed by the international geospatial community.

This practical approach has been matched by a true desire to develop the scientific basis of our organisation. Dr. Rystedt initiated the Research Agenda, and has been very much in favour of extending it to include the areas of Geographic Information Science which are central to the initiation and use of cartographic data and products.

His long term commitment to ICA is shown by service as Chair of the National and Regional Atlas Commission from 1985, service with the organising committee for the 1997 International Cartographic Conference in Sweden, and membership of the Executive Committee for many years, culminating in his election as President in 1999. In all his work for ICA, Dr. Rystedt has shown a great sense of responsibility, emphasising work and content but never his personal ambition. In his quiet and effective manner he was able to solve problems, and like the proud Swede he is, his diplomatic approach was always highly visible. He has been able to work always for the benefit of ICA over decades of loyal service.

For the dignified and outstanding way in which he has contributed for many years to the success of the ICA, the Association is pleased to award its Honorary Fellowship to Dr. Bengt Rystedt.

Category: General News

Carl M:son Mannerfelt (1913–2009)

Carl M:son Mannerfelt

Carl M:son Mannerfelt

Carl Mannerfelt died in September 2009 at the age of ninety six. Our thoughts are with his wife Ebba, their children and their families. To the International Cartographic Association (ICA) community he is best known for his work on the establishment of the ICA. Already in the 1940s, as the Director of Cartography at Esselte, he recognised a need to form an international association for cartography where academics and practitioners, national mapping organisations, as well as public and private companies, could meet, exchange professional experiences, discuss current issues and further develop cartographic techniques.

Mannerfelt was born in western Sweden but the family moved to Stockholm where he studied glaciology at the Stockholm University. He finished his doctoral studies in 1945 and his thesis about the final stage of the inland ice regression in Scandinavia is still a classic work. He continued to teach for some years but other activities eventually occupied more of his time.

Professionally Mannerfelt worked at Esselte since 1941 as a map editor. He became an assistant director in 1949, head of the Esselte military mapping in 1950 and eventually a board member of Esselte in 1951. In 1958 he became Executive Director (until 1974) and from 1964 to 1983 he chaired the Esselte board of directors. He has also held many board assignments in Swedish companies.

For a long time, Mannerfelt was active in the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (SSAG). Between 1943–52 he was the editor of the SSAG Yearbook (Ymer). He was also a board member (1943–83) having various responsibilities such as treasurer, secretary and president. He was also a member of the organisation committee for the IGU congress in Stockholm in 1960. He was a committee member of the Swedish Cartographic Society 1950–60 and its president 1954–60. He organized the Esselte Conference on Applied Cartography in 1956, where he proposed a new initiative to establish an international association of cartographers, later known as the ICA.

Mannerfelt was Vice President of the ICA between 1959 and 1964. In 1979 he proposed to introduce the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal, the highest award of the Association, to honour cartographers of outstanding merit who have made significant contributions of an original nature to the field of cartography. The first medal was awarded to Professor Eduard Imhof, the inaugural President of the ICA. At the ICC 1997 in Stockholm he addressed the participants at the opening ceremony with a summary of how ICA was born.

Although cartography was Mannerfelt’s main interest he was also a very active in writing papers. Some 300 papers and manuscripts are archived at the Swedish National Archive in Stockholm. Mannerfelt had a deep interest in nature and outdoor activities, especially winter ones. His work for World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) is well known and appreciated. In the 1970s he was very active in extending the conservation work to focus on sustainability in addition to protecting threaten species.

Among friends Carl Mannerfelt was known as Calle. He was always full of idealistic visions and capable of realising them in a friendly and efficient way. There were several memorial articles written in Swedish newspapers about him. His work for cartography is very much appreciated and valued by the ICA and the Swedish Cartographic Society.

Cartographers all over the world say: Thank you Calle.


Futher reading: Carl Mannerfelt is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal

Category: General News

Olof W. Hedbom (1920–2001)

Olof W. Hedbom

Olof W. Hedbom

On July 4 our good friend Olof W. Hedbom died of a rapidly spreading cancer.

The cartographic community will remember him as a prominent representative with an outstanding record of service. On national level Hedbom made a career as cartographic designer and atlas editor. He rose from the rank of draughtsman engaged with the Litografiska Anstalt Esselte to general manager of the map publishing firm Liber Kartor. Continually Olof maintained fruitful relations with geographers who knew how to appreciate his ability to visualize terrestrial phenomena. At an advanced age he made himself familiar – reluctantly but with success – with computer mapping. He leaves behind an impressive series of atlases, predominantly educational, most of them excelling in clarity and legibility.

In his thirties Olof participated in the so called Esselte Conference on Applied Cartography held in Sweden in 1956 which laid the foundation of an International Cartographic Association (ICA) in which he himself would later play an important role. He served the Association in the successive capacities of Vice-President (1972–1976) and Secretary-Treasurer (1976–1984). During these years I had the pleasure of visiting many countries together with Olof to discuss a diversity of ICA-questions among which membership and subscription problems, conference and seminar venues. As certain countries in those days refused visa to conference participants for political reasons sometimes tricky affairs had to be solved. Our frequent contacts led to good relations between our families. Repeatedly Olof was a welcome guest in our home in Holland.

His knowledge of the historical background and economic situation of the visited countries facilitated contacts. His remarks often spiced with humour moved people to abandon their reservations. He displayed his faculties on many occasions in a variety of now and then critical circumstances.

Getting acquainted with the Chinese Association of Geodesy and Cartography. Secretary Hedbom serving Peking duck, Peking, 22 January 1979.

Getting acquainted with the Chinese Association of Geodesy and Cartography. Secretary Hedbom serving Peking duck, Peking, 22 January 1979.

So I remember our first contact with the Chinese in the 1970’s to discuss their possible ICA membership when Olof animated a formal dinner by serving Peking Duck, their favourite dish, to our hosts. Not to forget our visit in 1981 to Poland where Martial Law was proclaimed and where we succeeded to safeguard the planned conference in Warsaw.

In recognition of his merits the General Assembly of the ICA presented him in 1989 with the Honorary Membership.

Finally we wish his dear sister Ingegerd and his children Lars, Ulrika and Ann-Sofie, who together took care of him until the bitter end, strength to bear and overcome their loss.

My wife and I will always remember Olof’s warm friendship!

F. J. Ormeling Sen.

Further reading: Honorary Fellowship for Olof Hedbom

Category: General News

Honorary Fellowship for Christer Palm

Christer Palm has worked for the International Cartographic Association since its inception. Within the ICA Standing Commission on Map Production Techniques, he was responsible for the 1980 published manual Colourproofing in Cartography. For many years, he has contributed to the work of, and represented Sweden in, the ICA Commission on Tactual Maps, now the ICA Commission on Maps and Graphics for Blind and Visually-Impaired People. As an educator, he wrote a chapter in Basic Cartography for the ICA Standing Commission on Education and Training.

The Executive Committee of the International Cartographic Association, by virtue of the power vested in it by the statutes and by-laws, hereby elects Christer Palm as an Honorary Fellow in recognition of his work as an educator in cartography and his many contributions to the works of ICA commissions.

Category: General News

Honorary Fellowship for Olof Hedbom

Olof W. Hedbom

Olof W. Hedbom

Olof Hedbom has served as Vice-President of ICA, 1972–76, as Secretary-Treasurer, 1976–1984 and as a member of the Publications Committee, 1975–84. In 1956, when Carl Mannerfelt first visited foreign experts for the Esselte Conference, Hedbom was already amongst them, and so influenced the establishment of the ICA from the very beginning. Hedbom was involved, as Secretary-Treasurer in the ICA Conferences in Madrid, Moscow, College Park, Tokyo, Warsaw and Perth. Together with Professor Ormeling, Sr., he visited China in 1979, which led to China’s membership in 1980. Hedbom organised the Swedish funding ($20 000) that partly made possible the ICA Seminar in Nairobi, which started the ICA’s 3rd World strategy. During the extremely difficult period of martial law in Poland in 1981/82, Hedbom visited Warsaw to get acknowledgement from military leaders that ICA conference interests would be safeguarded.

Getting acquainted with the Chinese Association of Geodesy and Cartography. Secretary Hedbom serving Peking duck, Peking, 22 January 1979.

Getting acquainted with the Chinese Association of Geodesy and Cartography. Secretary Hedbom serving Peking duck, Peking, 22 January 1979.

The Executive Committee of the International Cartographic Association, by virtue of the power vested in it by the statutes and by-laws, hereby elects Olof Hedbom as an Honorary Fellow in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the ICA over a period of 40 years from its origins, particularly in the capacities of Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer.


Further reading: Obituary for Olof Hedbom



Category: General News

Carl Mannerfelt is awarded the Carl Mannerfelt Gold Medal

Carl M:son Mannerfelt

Carl M:son Mannerfelt

Carl M:son Mannerfelt was born in Goteborg, Sweden on April 10, 1913. His father was Mans Mannerfelt, a captain in the Swedish army. In 1939 he married Ebba Ekman. They have one daughter and three sons.

At school Carl Mannerfelt showed much promise as a sportsman and was a frequent winner in athletics. He held various Swedish school records in hurdle racing and later even became the Swedish and Nordic academic champion in this sport. He was (and still is) an excellent skier.

He matriculated in Stockholm in 1933 and in 1938 he graduated (BA) at the Stockholm University (geography, geology, mineralogy and meteorology). In 1940 he passed his final university examination in geography. Between 1935 and 1945 he made various field and air photo surveys of the Swedish and Norwegian mountain regions. In 1936 he was a member of the Swedish-Islandic Vatnajökull expedition under Professor Hans Ahlmann, who studied glaciers as indicators of long-term climatological changes. In 1942 Carl Mannerfelt was employed as map editor at Generalstabens Litografiska Anstalt, Esselte, and there he immediately started to improve and rationalise production techniques, as well as to modernise Swedish map design. He had an excellent ability to visualise geographic phenomena, which was also evident in his photography.

Carl Mannerfelt graduated in 1945 with his Ph.D. dissertation: Some Glaciomorphological Forms and their Evidence as to the Downwasting of the Inland Ice in Swedish and Norwegian mountain terrain. This learned essay contained many new ideas and was illustrated by high-quality maps, photos and, for the first time in Sweden, by anaglyph photo-maps and pictures.

While employed as a cartographer at Esselte he was also Assistant-Professor in the Department of Geography at the Stockholm University. For one year (1947) during the absence of Professor Ahlmann, he was Head of that Department. In 1949 he was appointed Director of the Cartographic Division at Esselte. In this function he was responsible for the production of school-atlases, wall maps, world atlases, historical atlases, route maps for airline passengers, tourist maps and road atlases.

Mannerfelt had a lifelong involvement with geography. For 40 years he was active on the board of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (1943–1983) and was its president three times, 1960-62, 1974-76, 1979-80. For eight years he was a member of the board of the Swedish Cartographic Society and its president from 1955-60.

Carl Mannerfelt’s geographic and cartographic commitments naturally included much travel outside Sweden, always with his wife Ebba. This charming and active couple make friends easily, generously receiving them in their home at Djursholm outside Stockholm.

Inspired by the turbulent development of cartography and the multitude of technological innovations, Carl Mannerfelt invited a number of foreign colleagues; most of them engaged in practical map production, to a meeting at Tollare, Stockholm: the Esselte Conference on Applied Cartography, July 27-August 2, 1956. Thirty-six experts from 12 countries accepted his invitation. They were brought together to discuss developments in cartography and reproduction techniques.

At the end of the successful meeting Mannerfelt introduced the idea of more permanent contact between cartographic experts in the form of an international cartographic association. The concept was well received. With his Swiss, American, West German and French colleagues Mannerfelt gradually succeeded in converting the idea into a reality. Although the road was not easy he took each hurdle in his stride. In 1959 the ICA was founded in Bern.

In 1962 Mannerfelt left the Esselte Cartographic Division and became Managing Director of the Stockholm Division of the organisation. Two years later, he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the whole Esselte Group with 7500 employees. After 10 years of executive work, he advanced in 1974 to Chairman of the Board of Directors. At the age of seventy (1983) he officially retired from Esselte. He could then look back on 40 years of continuous development of the firm. From a small printing, bookbinding and publishing company, Esselte had grown into an international group with about 17 000 employees in 22 countries, engaged in a broad range of information-handling activities, including publishing and cartography.

Even after 1962, Mannerfelt followed the development of cartography and the growth of the ICA with great interest. This was illustrated by the fact that as initiator of the Association, he gave his name to its highest distinction, the Dr. Carl Mannerfelt Medal. This award was proposed by the ICA and established in 1979 at a reception in Stockholm by the Swedish Academy of Sciences, while the effigies of the great explorers A.E. Nordenskiold and Sven Hedin looked down upon the scene.

In March 1981 in the Town Hall of Stockholm at an annual Swedish cartographic conference, Carl Mannerfelt was awarded the medal carrying his own name. It was presented by President Ormeling, who read the followed citation:

“In recognition of his bold initiative in convening the first international cartographic Conference in 1956, thus bringing together groups of cartographers of different nationalities, and of his vision in proposing an international body of professionals in cartography. In acknowledgement of his perseverance in pursuing this vision and establishing an international cartographic association, thus creating new opportunities for research and education, raising the status of cartography and contributing to a growing awareness of its professional identity and hence to a new “joie de vivre” for many individuals.

In appreciation of his efforts in breaking the barriers of controversies and differences and thus uniting cartographers of different political and cultural backgrounds.”

Further reading: Obituary for Carl Mannerfelt

Category: General News