Politically, a very busy year: the fall of the Pol-Pot regime in Cambodia; the fall of the Shah of Iran, replaced by the Ayatolla Khomeini; the independence of St Lucia; Greenland acquires home rule; Ian Smith’s government in Rhodesia is replaced; the Marxist Sandanistas take control of Nicaragua and Saddam Hussein becomes the President of Iraq. In addition, the World Health Organisation declares the world free of naturally-occurring smallpox and a human-powered aircraft flies from England to France.

The Conference report lists no less than 384 full and part-time attendees. Coincidentally, perhaps, it makes no mention of the ticket-only admission used at the previous Conference which was possibly the reason for the record attendance. Surveyor representatives from seven non-commonwealth countries were included.

In the agenda, the role and responsibilities of national mapping organisations are considered, suggesting that a changing world had made their ‘raison d’etre’ less clear. Also, first mention is made of the effect of the Navstar Global Positioning System (GPS) on mapping, charting and geodesy and a description was given of the ‘Australian laser depth sounding system’.