The International Cartographic Association (ICA) is the pre-eminent international body for Cartography and Geographic Information (GI) Science. Its prime topic of concern is Cartography, the discipline dealing with the conception, production, dissemination and study of maps. Its mission is to promote the discipline and profession of Cartography in an international context. Since being founded in 1959, ICA has worked with national and international governmental and commercial bodies, and with other international societies, to achieve its aims. It has particularly strong links to national mapping agencies which create and disseminate topographic, thematic, cadastral and hydrographic maps, charts and digital data throughout the world. In addition, it works with leading commercial map publishers, GI systems software developers, and international data archiving initiatives. ICA has 83 national members, along with 26 affiliate members.
ICA has developed a scientific research programme, which addresses a number of areas: Geographic Information; Metadata and SDIs; Geospatial Analysis and Modelling; Usability; Geovisualization and Visual Analytics; Map Production; Cartographic Theory; History of Cartography and GI Science; Education; Society. This programme is conducted through 22 Commissions and 6 Working Groups which hold regular fora and publish books and special issues of journals to grow their research and development areas.
ICA organizes biennial International Cartographic Conferences (2007 Moscow; 2009 Santiago Chile; 2011 Paris). Scholarships are available for young cartographers to assist attendance at such important meetings, and ICA also recognises eminence in the field of Cartography through Awards.