In 2013 the Cambridge Conference was hosted at Churchill College. It was held adjacent to the Third Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) at The Corn Exchange in Cambridge. The two conferences were attended by a combined delegation of over 300 leaders, representing over 100 countries. Delegates were given the opportunity to network with international colleagues, listen and participate in numerous presentations and time to relax during the varied social programme.

The theme for the conference was Bringing Geographic Authority to Information. The excellent speaking programme was led by keynote speeches from Janet Williams QPM, Chair of Interpol’s Protection and Security International Expert’s Group who spoke about ‘Working in an uncertain world’ and Paul Davies, the Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office who spoke on ‘Forecasting in a changing world’. Other keynotes came from Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Transport for London; Stefan Schweinfest, Acting Director, UN Statistics Division; and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom.

The 2013 Hotine Lecture was delivered by the geographical writer and broadcaster Nick Crane. Titled The Wonder of Maps, Nick explored the value of mapmaking in the modern world, drawing on the works of Brigadier Martin Hotine and Gerard Mercator, the 16th century globe-maker, engraver, cartographer and ‘inventor’ of the modern atlas. Nick also drew on his own experiences as a map-user, while undertaking long-distance journeys in various continents by foot, bicycle and horse.

To mark the close of the Cambridge Conference and to open the UN-GGIM Committee of Experts meeting a special Ministerial Session was held. Ministers from around the globe participated in the session including:

  • Viscount Younger of Leckie, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, United Kingdom.
  • Minister Garib Mammadov, Chairman, State Land and Cartographic Committee, Republic of Azerbaijan.
  • Philippe Busquin, Minister of State of the Kingdom of Belgium, President of the Board of the National Geographic Institute, Belgium.
  • Tevita Boseiwaqa, Permanent Secretary, Land and Mineral Resources, Fiji.
  • Alpheus G. Naruseb, Minister of Lands and Resettlement, Namibia.
  • Hon Maurice Williamson, Minister of Building and Construction, Customs, Land Information and Statistics, New Zealand.
  • Dr Brian Gray, Assistant Deputy Minister, Natural Resources Canada, Earth Sciences, Canada.