Tuesday 5 July 2011

Guest Blog - Opening day

The opening ceremony was a very understated affair – no brass bands and dancing girls unlike Chile in 2009. We had welcomes from the president of the Committee France Cartography, from the IGN, from ICA president Bill Cartwright, and from Anne Ruas the conference chair, before launching into the first keynote presentation. Simultaneous translation with a headset that cuts out every couple of seconds is a recipe for a headache - so had to rely on my schoolboy French....
A theme of the conference is a celebration of the work of the renowned Jacques Bertin who died in 2010. His treatise on graphic semiology (symbol systems) forms the basis of much subsequent work in this area and had a major impact on data processing and map design in France and more widely. A keynote on this theme can be found in the ICA special issue of The Cartographic Journal. Two further sessions on Monday afternoon and a panel discussion were also devoted to Bertin. 

The conference centre in Paris is an impressive venue, with excellent facilities and has easy access to the Paris public transport system, so delegates are scattered across the city. We are not a big conference for this centre, so having stood in a long queue to pick up the sandwich lunch, you either stand or sit on the floor to eat it as apparently we do not reach the required threshold to get tables and chairs!

David Forrest PhD FBCart.S
School of Geographical & Earth Sciences
University of Glasgow

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