The purpose of this research agenda has been to identify and briefly elucidate some current and potential research issues which fall under the terms of reference of ICA and individuals and groups who work under its remit. Primarily this includes the Commissions of ICA each of which is charged with undertaking research work in their area. This agenda is intended to encourage the Commissions to consider their research areas, and to examine possible overlaps and cooperation possibilities with other Commissions. Furthermore, it will assist in identifying those areas of cartographic research which are not currently covered by any Commission and which need further encouragement. Finally, this document should disseminate the agenda of ICA to other organizations, both those with which we can undertake research collaboratively and those for whom the results of ICA sponsored research will be of value.
Clearly, therefore, we believe that this research agenda should be reflected upon by the constituent Commissions of ICA. One of the major responsibilities of the elected chairs of the Commissions is to develop a ‘Terms of Reference’ document which should explicitly list the deliverables expected over the four-year period of the Commission’s existence (the Commissions can be reelected). Such deliverables should yield valid research results. A further duty of a Commission chair is to invite and manage a group of experts and interested individuals to achieve the deliverables. The work programme can be completed through focused research meetings and conferences (which can be during and around the time of biennial international cartographic conferences or at other times), through ongoing communications within the Commission, and through collaboration with Commissions in sister societies. Alternatively it is hoped that this agenda can be used in a positive way by those individuals who are submitting proposals for funding to regional, national and international organizations.
In all cases, ICA expects the results of research to be widely disseminated for the benefit of itself, the wider cartographic community and society in general. The presentation of a Commission report is required at each quadrennial ICA General Assembly of Delegates and the opportunities to present research findings in the conference arena exist. Publication of research work in academic and scientific journals would also be expected, along with more informal communication through Commission websites.