GIS&T and Society

The connections and interactions between GIS&T and society range in scale from institutions and business enterprises down to the individual level. Some fundamental drivers behind those interconnections are political, economic, legal, and cultural. Rapidly developing GI technology and infrastructures also generate various forms of public GIS practice as part of citizen science, VGI and social media. These activities provoke questions and critiques around governance, democracy, diversity, and ethics.

Topics in this Knowledge Area are listed thematically below. Existing topics are linked directly to either their original (2006) or revised entries; forthcoming, future topics are italicized. 

Cognitive and Social Foundations GI as Property  
Common-sense Geographies Property Regimes  
Cultural Influences Mechanisms of Control of GI  
Political Influences Enforcing Control of GI  
Alternative Representations Geopiracy  
Law, Regulation, and Policy Critical Perspectives  
The Legal Regime Episteological Critiques  
Liability Ethical Critiques  
Contract Law Feminist Critiques  
Location Privacy Social Critiques  
Legal Mechanisms for Sharing Geospatial Info Balancing Data Access, Security, and Privacy  
Governance and Agency    
Professional & Practical Ethics of GIS&T    
Codes of Ethics for Geospatial Professionals    
Citizen Science    
Spatial Decision Support    
Marginal Societies    
Balancing Security & Open Access to Geospatial Data    
Public Participation GIS    
Implications of Distributed GIS&T    
Aggregation of Spatial Entities    

 

GS-06 - Public participation GIS
  • Critique the assertion that public participation GIS promotes democracy
  • Explain how community organizations’ use of geospatial technologies can alter existing community power relations
  • Explain how geospatial technologies can assist community organizations at each rung of the ladder of public participation
  • Explain the challenge of representing within current GIS software local knowledge that is neither easily mapped nor verified
  • Discuss advantages and disadvantages of six models of GIS availability, including communitybased GIS, university-community partnerships, GIS facilities in universities and public libraries, “Map rooms,” Internet map servers, and neighborhood GIS centers.
  • Explain why some community organizations may encounter more difficulty than others in acquiring geospatial data from public and private organizations
GS-05 - Public participation in governing
  • Differentiate among universal/deliberative, pluralist/representative, and participatory models of citizen participation in governing
  • Defend or refute the argument that local knowledges are contested
  • Explain how community organizations represent the interests of citizens, politicians, and planners
  • Explain and respond to the assertion that “capturing local knowledge” can be exploitative
  • Describe an example of “local knowledge” that is unlikely to be represented in the geospatial data maintained routinely by government agencies
  • Explain how legislation such as the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 provides leverage to community organizations
  • Describe the range of spatial scales at which community organizations operate
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of group participation and individual participation
  • Describe the six “rungs” of increasing participation in governmental decision-making that constitute a “ladder” of public participation
GS-16 - Social critiques
  • Explain the argument that, throughout history, maps have been used to depict social relations
  • Explain the argument that GIS is “socially constructed”
  • Describe the use of GIS from a political ecology point of view (e.g., consider the use of GIS for resource identification, conservation, and allocation by an NGO in Sub-Saharan Africa)
  • Defend or refute the contention that critical studies have an identifiable influence on the development of the information society in general and GIScience in particular
  • Discuss the production, maintenance, and use of geospatial data by a government agency or private firm from the perspectives of a taxpayer, a community organization, and a member of a minority group
  • Explain how a tax assessor’s office adoption of GIS&T may affect power relations within a community
GS-01 - The legal regime
  • Discuss ways in which the geospatial profession is regulated under the U.S. legal regime
  • Compare and contrast the relationship of the geospatial profession and the U.S. legal regime with similar relationships in other countries

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