All Topics

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-19 - Political influences
  • Recognize the constraints that political forces place on geospatial applications in public and private sectors
  • Evaluate the influences of political ideologies (e.g., Marxism, Capitalism, conservative/liberal) on the understanding of geographic information
  • Evaluate the influences of political actions, especially the allocation of territory, on human perceptions of space and place
GS-11 - Professional and Practical Ethics of GIS&T

Geospatial technologies are often and rightly described as “powerful.” With power comes the ability to cause harm – intentionally or unintentionally - as well as to do good. In the context of GIS&T, Practical Ethics is the set of knowledge, skills and abilities needed to make reasoned decisions in light of the risks posed by geospatial technologies and methods in a wide variety of use cases. Ethics have been considered from different viewpoints in the GIS&T field. A practitioner's perspective may be based on a combination of "ordinary morality," institutional ethics policies, and professional ethics codes. By contrast, an academic scholar's perspective may be grounded in social or critical theory. What these perspectives have in common is reliance on reason to respond with integrity to ethical challenges. This entry focuses on the special obligations of GIS professionals, and on a method that educators can use to help students develop moral reasoning skills that GIS professionals need. The important related issues of Critical GIS and Spatial Law and Policy are to be considered elsewhere.  

GS-07 - Property regimes
  • Explain the legal concept “property regime”
  • Compare and contrast the U.S. federal government’s policy regarding rights to geospatial data with similar policies in other countries
  • Compare and contrast the consequences of different national policies about rights to geospatia data in terms of the real costs of spatial data, their coverage, accuracy, uncertainty, reliability, validity, and maintenance
  • Describe organizations’ and governments’ incentives to treat geospatial information as property
  • Outline arguments for and against the notion of information as a public good
  • Argue for and against the treatment of geospatial information as a commodity
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