The Interstellar Cartography Group (ICG) is a politically neutral consortium formed by representatives of many Colonial Authority corporations and major governments. Built on technology-sharing and standardization agreements, the stated goal of ICG is the acquisition and dissemination of verified stellar cartography data to ship-builders, defense contractors, and other interested parties.
ICG has been around long enough to become a political entity in its own right. To serve its interests, the company has developed the Discovery class long-range long-duration survey vessel and the Foundation class long-duration “follow-up” vessel, a heavy cruiser outfitted for detailed orbital and surface survey of planets of interest. ICG spacecraft can be purchased or leased, though all such agreements include clauses that mandate or encourage the sharing of all newly acquired cartography data with ICG.
In the late 1970s, Heirotus leased a number of Discovery class vehicles for an unspecified deep-range survey mission. Since then, the company has revised the agreement to a retro-active purchase of two of the craft, with the remainder returned in the late 1990s.
All modern starships use standard verified ICG navigation charts. Most organizations that keep private charts keep them in an ICG-compliant format, as the majority of navigation computers are hardware-optimized to process ICG stellar cartography algorithms.