In September 2011, the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) and the International Cartographic Association (ICA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the objective of creating collaboration opportunities for academia, industry and government organizations in open source GIS software and data. The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) joined the initiative in July 2014. The long term vision is the creation of a sustainable ecosystem for open source GIS globally.
Among other things the MOU provides for the establishment of Open Source Geospatial Laboratories and Research Centers (ICA-OSGeo Labs) across the world for supporting development of open-source geospatial software technologies, training and expertise.
Open Education is the simple and powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good and that technology in general and the Worldwide Web in particular provide an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge. Open educational resources are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching and learning. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.
The motto of the ICA-OSGeo Lab initiative is Geo For All. Geo for All is the Open Source Geospatial Foundation's Open Educational outreach with partners worldwide with the mission for making geospatial education and opportunities accessible to all. Membership has grown to 109 labs worldwide. It is intended that the combination of e-learning tools and open source GIS will increase access to GIS education. Free and open GIS software helps make geospatial and geomatics education available to students from economically poor backgrounds and students in developing and poor countries.
Helena Mitasova, Chair of the U.S. Region of GoeForAll has described how GeoForAll has involved students from across the GeoForAll network in activities such as code and community sprints to increase participation in open source software development.
Univerities and other organisations that want to participate in Geo For All must be committed to contribute to the vision outlined in the ICA-OSGeo MoU to develop collaboration opportunities for academia, industry and government organisations in free and open source GIS software , FOSS, open data , open access (publications) and contribute to open education in the future. All participants should contribute to education, research and service for the betterment of humanity as the key guiding principle and work towards the vision of the UN Millennium Development Goals for building a better world.