At the beginning of July 2005, leading map makers from more than 40 countries charted a course to Southamptonfor the inaugural meeting of CC: The Exchange 2005 –  part of the continuing Cambridge Conference series.

Around 80 delegates spent three full days at the event, which was opened with a royal seal of approval by His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex.

The visitors included the heads of national mapping organisations and other expert players in the field of geographic information. The Conference provided an excellent networking opportunity to explore trends and challenges in both business and technology.

Lectures and workshop sessions covered diverse issues such as business risk, digital rights management, web services and the development of human resources.

In his welcome speech, the Earl told delegates: ‘This conference is about meeting the challenges you face today as map makers in this high tech, increasingly fast-paced world. The world may seem to be smaller in terms of communications but there is nothing like sitting down face to face.’

The Earl’s visit was in line with his broader international remit as President of the Commonwealth Games Federation and Chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh Award International Council.

Among the news organisations covering CC: The Exchange were: Associated Press, Spanish National Radio, and Deutsche Welle (the German international news organisation). Magazines included GeoConnexion International, GiSProfessional and Geomatics World. Journalists also attended from Southampton’s main newspaper; the Southern Daily Echo and the local news and pictures agency; Solent News.