South Africa’s participation in the International Map Year has been officially approved by the Cabinet of the Government of South Africa. To commemorate this participation, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti officially launched the International Map Year (IMY) 2015–2016 for South Africa in Cape Town on 23 March 2015.
As the launch co-incided with an ICA Executive Committee meeting in the city, South Africa was very fortunate to have the ICA Executive members present at the launch. At the launch the country’s Chief Surveyor-General, Mr Mmuso Riba, likened “a man without a map to a blind man”. South Africa’s national mapping organisation, Chief Directorate: National Geo-spatial Information, a component of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, headed by Dr. Derek Clarke, hosted the event. Dr Clarke is also an ICA Vice-President and Chair of the IMY (SA) Committee that will coordinate IMY events in South Africa during 2015 and 2016.
The first event already took place on the Friday prior to the launch. A workshop entitled “Cartography Today” was held at the offices of the Chief Directorate: National Geo-spatial Information in Cape Town. Cartographers and other GISc practitioners from all over South Africa were treated to presentations by world renowned academics, Prof. Georg Gartner (ICA President), Prof. Bill Cartwright (ICA Past President) and Prof. László Zentai (ICA Secretary-General). The speakers emphasized that despite fears that Google Maps or voluntary geographic information applications may appear to devalue the place of cartographers, there will always be the need for cartography as a visualization interface to unlock more complex geo-spatial information to end users. The value of spatial information is determined by the cartographer’s ability to communicate its meaning to decision-makers.
For further information on IMY in South Africa, please contact: Dr Derek Clarke,