The Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) was established by the Prime Minister, State Premiers, and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory in 1988.  Since that time the Australian Capital Territory and New Zealand have joined ICSM.  The Australian Defence forces are also represented on ICSM.

Membership is comprised of senior representatives of surveying and mapping agencies.

Prior to 1988 a similar body, the National Mapping Council (NMC), had coordinated cooperative Commonwealth, State and Northern Territory mapping programs since 1945.  Although the NMC had been an effective forum, the changing operational environment of the late 1980s led to the cessation of the NMC and the formation of ICSM to cover both surveying and mapping issues, as they related to Government activities, to ensure continued cooperation in these activities on a national basis.

In 2002 ICSM became a Standing Committee of ANZLIC – the Australian and New Zealand Spatial Information Council.

ICSM meets every six months. 

A Chair is appointed from the Committee every two years and an ICSM Executive Officer delivers secretariat and project support to the Committee and to Working Groups.

Within ICSM the following Working Groups currently carry out projects and research for, and provide advice to, ICSM in their special fields of expertise:

  • AWG – Addressing Working Group
  • CWG - Cadastre Working Group
  • EDIWG - Elevation, Depth & Imagery Working Group
  • ELVIS Working Group
  • GWG - Geodesy
  • GMIWG - GDA Modernisation Implementation Working Group
  • MDWG - Metadata Working Group
  • PNWG - Place Names Working Group
  • S100WG - The S100 Working Group
  • TMSLWG - Tides and Mean Sea Level Working Group
  • Telco Data Working Group

Membership of these Working Groups come from key government, academic, and private organisations from within Australia and New Zealand.


ICSM’s initiatives aim to:

  • avoid unnecessary duplication; and
  • provide a consistent and modern approach to surveying, mapping and charting for national development and defence.

ICSM produces benefits to both Australia and New Zealand.  ICSM is an important forum for the exchange of information and ideas in the national interest and for trans-Tasman matters.  As well, ICSM assists both countries fulfil their obligations to the international surveying, mapping and charting community.

ICSM is an unincorporated, not-for-profit business (ABN 33 830 643 298) and it has developed a set of rules which govern the conduct of its activities.  The complete ICSM Terms of Reference and Governance Charter can be viewed as a .pdf file.