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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. 

Law, Regulation, and Policy Governance and Agency
The Legal Regime Public Participation GIS
Location Privacy Professional & Practical Ethics of GIS&T
Mechanisms of Control of Geospatial Information Codes of Ethics for Geospatial Professionals
Legal Mechanisms for Sharing Geospatial Info Aggregation of Spatial Entities (with focus on Legislative Redistricting)
GIS&T, Equity, and Social Justice Best Practices Implications of Distributed GIS&T
  Citizen Science with GIS&T
Critical Perspectives GIS&T and Spatial Decision Support
Epistemological Critiques GIS&T and Marginal Societies
GIS and Critical Ethics GIS&T and Community Engagement
Feminist Critiques of GIS Geospatial Participatory Modeling
Balancing Security & Open Access to Geospatial Data  

 

A B C E F G I L M P S T
GS-24 - Citizen Science with GIS&T

Figure 1. Participant in a BioBlitz records bird observation (Source: Jo Somerfield)

 

Citizen Science is defined as the participation of non-professional volunteers in scientific projects (Dickson et al, 2010) and has experienced rapid growth over the past decade. The projects that are emerging in this area range from contributory projects, co-created projects, collegiate projects, which are initiated and run by a group of people with shared interest, without any involvement of professional scientists.  

In many citizen science projects, GIS&T is enabling the collection, analysis, and visualisation of spatial data to affect decision-making. Some examples may include:

  • Recording the location of invasive species or participating in a BioBlitz to record local biodiversity (Figure 1).
  • Measuring air quality or noise over a large area and over time to monitor local conditions and address them
  • Using tools to educate on and increase access to local resources,  improving community resilience

Such projects have the opportunity to empower or disempower members of the public, depending upon access to and understanding of technology. Citizen Science projects using GIS&T may help communities influence decision makers and support the gathering of large-scale scientific evidence on a range of issues. This may also renew people’s interests in the sciences and foster continued and lifelong learning. 

 

GS-12 - Codes of ethics for geospatial professionals
  • Compare and contrast the ethical guidelines promoted by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) and the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS)
  • Propose a resolution to a conflict between an obligation in the GIS Code of Ethics and organizations’ proprietary interests
  • Explain how one or more obligations in the GIS Code of Ethics may conflict with organizations’ proprietary interests
  • Describe the sanctions imposed by ASPRS and GISCI on individuals whose professional actions violate the codes of ethics
GS-17 - Common-sense geographies
  • Identify common-sense views of geographic phenomena that sharply contrast with established theories and technologies of geographic information
  • Differentiate applications that can make use of common-sense principles of geography from those that should not
  • Collaborate with non-GIS experts who use GIS to design applications that match commonsense understanding to an appropriate degree
  • Effectively communicate the design, procedures, and results of GIS projects to non-GIS audiences (clients, managers, general public)
  • Evaluate the impact of geospatial technologies (e.g., Google Earth) that allow non-geospatial professionals to create, distribute, and map geographic information
GS-02 - Contract law
  • Differentiate “contracts for service” from “contracts of service”
  • Discuss potential legal problems associated with licensing geospatial information
  • Identify the liability implications associated with contracts
GS-18 - Cultural influences
  • Collaborate effectively with colleagues of differing social backgrounds in developing balanced GIS applications
  • Describe the ways in which the elements of culture (e.g., language, religion, education, traditions) may influence the understanding and use of geographic information
  • Recognize the impact of one’s social background on one’s own geographic worldview and perceptions and how it influences one’s use of GIS