The IGC is a congress of the International Geographical Union (IGU) that takes place every four years. Every four years the IGU entrusts one of its national associations with the organisation of the congress. In 2004, the German Geographical Society (DGFG) together with the Geography Department of the University of Cologne successfully applied to host the IGC in 2012. A Local Organising Committee was created to plan and organise the congress on behalf of the DGFG.