Permanent Committee on Topographic Information - PCTI

National Topographic Information Coordination Initiative (NTICI)

The framework under which a collegiate approach to topographic mapping of Australia will be undertaken is the National Topographic Information Coordination Initiative (NTICI). Through NTICI, ICSM’s Permanent Committee on Topoographic Information (PCTI) plans to develop, a whole of government approach to the collection, availability and maintenance of topographic information to meet the needs of governments and the public — adding value to the topographic layers of the NSII (National Spatial Information Infrastructure) whilst recognising the different but complementary roles and responsibilities of the spatial data agencies in the different jurisdictions.

Australian Standard for Spatial Data Accuracy

ICSM fully revised the existing standard for describing the spatial accuracy of digital data: Spatial Data Horizontal Accuracy Standard in 2009.

The original was developed in the 1950’s and revised in the 1970’s - the National Mapping Council’s Special Publication #3 (SP3), Standards of Map Accuracy (2nd edition, December 1975). This was a very simplistic standard which had not kept up with modern technology and expectations.

It must be noted however, that this new standard does not replace the vertical accuracy standard contained in SP3:

"Vertical accuracy, as applied to the contours of standard published maps shall be consistent with the criterion that not more than 10 percent of the elevations tested shall be in error by more than one-half of the contour interval. In checking elevations taken from the map, the apparent vertical error may be decreased by assuming a horizontal displacement within the permissible horizontal error for a map of that scale."

The Topographic Feature Catalogue

This document describes a national standard set of feature codes and feature definitions for topographic data.  The document brings together a diverse group of data dictionaries and standards into a single amalgamated set of feature codes and feature definitions.  Where possible, ICSMs Harmonised Data Model (HDM) feature definitions have been used.  This file is located at:

Topographic Map Symbols

A set of nationally consistent topographic map symbols can be viewed at

The SCAR Feature Catalogue for Antarctica

This feature catalogue was developed by the Australian Antarctic Data Centre for international use under the umbrella of SCAR.  The catalogue is available as an online database at  It conforms to International Standard ISO 19110 - Feature Cataloguing Methodology.


Metadata documentation provides information about data sets and their component elements.  It may include descriptive information about the content, quality, ownership and condition of the data.

The ANZLIC Metadata Profile (version 1.1) for use by Australian Government agencies.  The ANZLIC Metadata Profile replaces the Australian Government Metadata Profile which has been in use since December 2004.

A Short History of the Committee

Since ICSM’s inception in 1988, a series of Working Groups have been convened to undertake specific projects relating to topographic mapping.  In November 2003 the Permanent Committee on Topographic Information (PCTI) was created.  This was established in recognition of the long-term, on-going need for a coordinated approach to topographic data collection, management and delivery.  This is to involve all the ICSM jurisdictions including other key government and industry stakeholder groups where necessary.  Their work is to be carried out in accord with ANZLIC - the Spatial Information Council’s implementation of the Foundation Spatial Data Framework (FSDF).

PCTI Terms of Reference

The PCTI is to:

  1. Recommend initiatives to ICSM that are relevant to the future of Topographic information management in support of the Foundation Spatial Data Framework datasets, carried out in Australia, Australian Territories, and New Zealand;
  2. Provide a framework for enhanced collaboration;
  3. Operationally support and enhance the National Topographic Information Collaboration Initiative (NTICI) principles, framework and projects on behalf of ICSM.
  4. Liaise with key government bodies and industry stakeholder groups on matters of prioritisation and national coordination of Topographic data projects;
  5. Advise on initiatives that aim to raise the awareness of industry and the community to the benefits of Topographic information;
  6. Identify, develop, and promote ‘best practice’ standards and guidelines for Topographic information, data collection, management and maintenance that are within the ambit of ICSM; and
  7. PCTI is to report directly to ICSM on matters of importance, including Special Interest or Taskforce Groups.