The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) and the International Cartographic Association (ICA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of developing on a global basis collaboration opportunities for academia, industry and government organizations in open source GIS software and data.

The MoU aims to provide expertise and support for the establishment of Open Source Geospatial Laboratories and Research Centres across the world for supporting development of open-source geospatial software technologies, training and expertise. In the first phase five laboratories will be established, one each in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas and Australasia which will act as nodes for future expansion. It also aims to provide support for building-up and supporting development of open source GIS teaching and training materials, joint organization of open source GIS events, workshops through the ICA network for wider participation globally etc.

Professor Georg Gartner, President of the ICA, said “The International Cartographic Association (ICA) is committed to supporting society and governments by collaboratively facilitating initiatives and programmes that establish and grow the capacity to deliver timely, comprehensive and useful geospatial information. This MoU responds to the challenges and issues related to the use of open source cartographic and GI software and data. In considering this response, it is pertinent to note that ICA is interested in contributing to this initiative, and will champion the advancement of the initiative through their various individual and collaborative efforts.”

Arnulf Christl, President of OSGeo, said “The Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) is committed to support and build the highest level Open Source geospatial technology. It is our pleasure to be able to serve as a platform and multiplier for the cartographic domain, an area which needs creativity beyond pure technology. This MoU intends to bridge the gap between technology and cartographic requirements and we very much look forward to work with members of the International Cartographic Association to improve this. A very much hands-on objective of this MoU is to jointly organize walk-in events where cartographic professionals can access and use a set of software unencumbered by proprietary restrictions and vendor lock-in. Both organizations are also interested in supporting young academics by lowering the barrier to good cartography through collaborative efforts on both sides.”

OSGeo is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2006 whose mission is to support and promote the collaborative development of open source geospatial technologies and data.

ICA is the world authoritative body for cartography, the discipline dealing with the conception, production, dissemination and study of maps.

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