The pandemic and the rapidly evolving situation meant that a highly responsive and prompt management was needed to handle the last-minute changes, but all the efforts really paid off.
In an effort to secure higher attendance levels, the 30th International Cartographic Conference (ICC) planned as an in-person event in September 2021, was moved to a hybrid format in December. The high-level scientific event, promoted by the International Cartographic Association (ICA), the Italian Cartographic Association (AIC) and the University of Florence, recorded 650 participants in total, with 330 attendees in person in Florence.
All the preventative measures were put in place, but the rapidly evolving situation and last-minute changes required AIM Group team, the full appointed PCO of the event, to carefully manage all the modifications and logistics.
"We had to overcome many obstacles, it was not reallypossible to work like “normal”, following standard procedures” explains Francesca Manzani, Business Manager AIM Group International. “The participants were coming from all over the world. We needed to look after all those registered to attend in-person who subsequently changed to virtual, and vice versa, manage those who were registered as virtual to attend in-person. In short, problem solving, and rapid responses were needed to manage the needs of each participant”.
The conference program was really rich thanks to 563 abstracts and papersIn addition, an excellent social program with strict safety measures was promoted and offered exclusive opportunities to discover some of the best spots in the capital of the Italian Renaissance. The Opening Ceremony was held at the magnificent Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, followed by a welcome cocktail in the Michelozzo courtyard, the social dinner was organised at the Palazzo Borghese, the Closing Ceremony at the Tuscany Region Governor Palace with the inauguration of an exhibition dedicated to aerial photography of Tuscany landscapes.
The ICC 2021 hosted two important exhibitions: the Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Exhibition and the International Cartographic Exhibition. The Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Exhibition was created by the International Cartographic Association as a memorial to Barbara Petchenik, a past Vice-President of the ICA and cartographer who had a lifelong interest in maps for children. The Exhibition included diverse entries from a Children’s Map Competition which was used to promote the creative representation of the world in graphic form by children. Together with the International Cartographic Exhibition which counted the presence of over 430 printed, digital maps and atlases from all over the world at the Italian Geographic Military Institute, a total of 178 children’s drawings from 32 member countries were displayed in four categories at the Ex Circolo in Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence. The exhibitions were open to the public and well visited.
ICA’s first hybrid event was a very successful experiment from which they decided they will never want to go back. Both the national AIC and the international ICA client were extremely satisfied, so much so that during the congress the AIM team was thanked several times and at the closing ceremony was honored with a plaque.
"The Conference had a large audience, an excellent response, a strong appreciation from all the participants and aroused considerable interest, both in terms of the quality of the works presented and the products exhibited in the two exhibitions, and in terms of interest and engagement from the participants” said Giuseppe Scanu, President AIC and Chair of the Local Organization Committee.