Minutes of IMCoS AGM 2018

Meeting Held on Saturday 9th June 2018

1  Opening and Welcome

The Chairman opened the meeting at 10.00 am.  He welcomed all those present and advised every one of the administrative arrangements for leaving the building when the meeting closed, and re-entering the building when the Map Fair opened at midday.  He had received apologies for absence from Ian Harvey and Jenny Harvey (Advertising Manager), and Rolph Langlais who were busy preparing the IMCOS stand at the London Map Fair.  (Rolph Langlais was able to join the meeting later.)

Executive Committee members present were:

Hans Kok                               Chairman

Valerie Newby                        Vice Chairman

Jeremy Edwards                      Hon. Treasurer

David Dare                             Hon. Secretary

Ljiljana Ortolja-Baird              Journal Editor

Diana Webster                        Member

Peter Walker                           Financial and Membership Administration

Katherine Parker                     Dealer Liaison

Mike Sweeting                        Recruitment, Marketing and Publicity

A total of 19 members were present.

2  Approval of Minutes of AGM 2017

The minutes were approved.

3   Chairman’s Annual Report

The Chairman read his report for the year.

Francis Herbert noted that the call for papers for the ICHC Amsterdam meeting in 2019 has been issued.  IMCoS members considering attending it following the planned IMCoS activities [now cancelled] in the preceding week can see details on the ICHC website.

4  Treasurer’s Report

The Treasurer presented the independently examined Statement of Accounts for 2017.  He noted that by changing to a new company the Society’s insurance costs had been substantially reduced without any loss of cover.

During discussion of the accounts the following points were made:

  1. The library maintenance costs arose from the need to scan the Society’s copy of the English Pilot to provide images for a forthcoming article in the Journal.  The atlas was donated to IMCOS many years ago by Christopher Terrell and was supposed to be used for restoration training.  The atlas was recently returned and turned out to be somewhat special.  Scanning the charts was done to facilitate study of the atlas.
  2. Book sales vary considerably from year to year because, except for those sold at the Map Fair, books were advertised for sale in the Journal only when there was sufficient space to do so without increasing the number of pages and increasing the distribution costs disproportionately.
  3. The surplus on the annual diner is not intentional.  It depends on the level of attendance and whether the resulting expenditure exceeds the threshold at which room charges are waived.
  4. Cyrus Alai was concerned that his donation, which was intended only to subsidise UK local events, was treated in the accounts as a general Society asset.  The Treasurer assured the meeting that the donation was being used exactly as intended.  It was included as an IMCoS asset simply because it would not be cost effective to open and run a separate bank account.
  5. Rudolf Lietz said that some of the Philippine members who attended the Annual Dinner were somewhat disappointed with the occasion because it did not provide the exciting net-working opportunity they wanted, and the meal was not of the standard of the grand gala dinner they were expecting.  The Chairman explained that the cost of running such an event in central London would be so high that most members would decide against attending, and it would not be right to use general IMCoS funds to subsidise the event.
  6. Mark Clark asked how the Society came to have such a high level of assets.  The Chairman explained that the assets were acquired during the time that IMCoS ran the London Map Fair profitably.  In recent years the Society has been close to breaking even.  The assets are used when unexpected costs occur.  For instance the new website had to be developed and put into service at short notice when the previous service was withdrawn.

The Chairman thanked the auditors for their work and asked that they accept re-appointment.  Cyrus Alai agreed on their behalf.

5  Journal Editor’s Report

The editor reported that the Journal continues to go out on time, and is now published on line immediately for the benefit of members who experience delays in delivery of the hard copy.  She had made minor changes to the Journal cover: issues are now designated by month rather than by season to avoid confusion in the southern hemisphere; the word “early” has been deleted from the strap-line so that it now reads “For people who love maps”, in recognition of increasing interest in 19th and 20th century maps.  She has been trying to increase the proportion of foreign authors, which is now up to about 70%.  One issue each year is linked to the country in which the symposium is held.

Mark Clark praised the high quality of the Journal, and Rudolf Lietz expressed his appreciation of being able to read the Journal on line when hard copies do not appear in the mail.

6  Membership Fees for 2019

The Chairman proposed that in view of the satisfactory state of the Society’s finances there should be no increase in fees.  The proposal was agreed unanimously.

7  Website Matters

Peter Walker described a new feature on the website that enables members to pay subscriptions and registration fees on line by credit card or by using PayPal.  The facility was working in time for annual dinner payments.

The Chairman thanked him for drafting the new IMCoS policy on privacy in response to the General Data Protection Policy and putting it on the website.

8  International Matters

The Chairman reported that it continues to be difficult to find volunteers to organize Symposia.  The principle reason is fear of suffering a personal financial loss if the level of attendance is below expectations.  He felt it would not be appropriate for IMCoS to underwrite losses since this would remove any incentive to use resources economically.  We can and do help by providing advice, giving publicity to the event and suggesting speakers.  He will ask the EXCOM at its next meeting to address the problem and make proposals.  In the meantime he is considering organizing an IMCoS programme, short of a full Symposium, in the week before the ICHC Conference in 2019.

Planning for the 2020 Symposium in Sydney is well advanced and the dates confirmed.

Rudolf Lietz, organizer of the Philippine part of the 2018 Symposium, said that a lack of public transport means that expensive buses must be hired to and from every venue to be visited.  Registration fees would have to have been doubled to avoid incurring a large deficit.  He is still trying to find sponsors to help cover some of the costs.  Hans Kok commented that it is difficult to think of reasons why sponsors should want to help.  Government departments and agencies might respond to appeals to national pride.  Mike Sweeting suggested that some commercial firms, like travel agents, might help if they saw advantages for the local tourist trade in general.  For locations to which the majority of participants would travel by long haul flights a very long lead time would be necessary so that participants could justify the journey by planning their family holidays around the IMCoS Symposium.

9  Executive Committee

No officers were due for re-appointment.  Two new members, Katie Parker and Mike Sweeting, offered themselves for appointment to the EXCOM.  They explained their respective interests and expertise in cartography for the benefit of those present who did not know them, and were duly appointed.

10  Any Other Business

Francis Herbert presented apologies for absence on behalf of Rod Leary.

The Treasurer reported that he has received a succession of e-mails, supposedly from the Chairman, asking for large payments to be made immediately.  He has not yet been fooled into making any payments.  The Secretary has also started to receive similar fake e-mails, which he deletes.

David Webb said that over the years he had enjoyed meeting many new people and seeing many new places while attending IMCoS events.  By way of saying thank you he has produced a world map on linen showing all the venues of IMCoS Symposia.  He will have them ready for distribution at the forthcoming Symposium in Manila.

Valerie Newby reminded everyone that we are still looking for a new photographer to replace David Webb, but he is such a hard act to follow, that so far no volunteers have come forward.

11  Close

There being no other business, the Chairman thanked members for their contributions and closed the meeting at 11.33.