1959

210 delegates attended this Conference, including representatives from France, Belgium, Holland, the United States’ Air Force Guided Missile Branch and the United Nations. 22 companies exhibited instruments and equipment. The report grew to weigh 2.26 kg!

As ever, the agenda covered a wide range of topics, but perhaps topics concerning the climate were more challenged than usual, with papers on winter survey, two papers on mapping in cold climates and one on topographic survey in Antarctica. In another paper, a new word – computers – appeared in a title for the first time: The Use of Electronic Computers in Surveying and Mapping.

There was a markedly different agenda style for the Conference, which was held just one month before the Beatles released their million-selling single ‘She Loves You’. Each day was given a theme, with a number of papers delivered on the subject. The Conference report now stretched to two volumes and Switzerland was represented for the first time.

One paper, delivered by a delegate from the US Army Map Service, discussed the use of satellites in geodesy – just six years after the launch of Sputnik I, the world’s first orbiting satellite. A later proposal was for an earth-centred geocentric coordinate system, that would relate all the major datums of the world to the centre of mass.

A further revelation was a description of, and the potential use of, lasers in mapping – just three years after the principle of light amplification by the ‘stimulated emission of radiation’ was first discovered.