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GS-26 - Mapping Spatial Justice for Marginal Societies

Marginal populations are those populations that are often overlooked by government, dependent upon non-governmental aid, and lack access to basic resources such as water, food, shelter, and security.  However, these groups are increasingly included in partnerships to map their resources (or lack thereof), develop basic applications in geospatial data collection, and devise innovative approaches to participatory mapping using geospatial technologies to address local and regional problems. Rapid technological changes and increased access to mobile geospatial tools enhance data creation efforts to map marginal populations and identify their needs. However, such mapping activities reveal fundamental inequities in collecting, disseminating, and visualizing spatial data.  This chapter defines marginal populations and provides an overview of data needs, geospatial tools, and ethical obligations necessary for these partnerships.

GS-27 - GIS&T for Equity and Social Justice

A geographic information system (GIS) can be used effectively for activities, programs, and analyses focused on equity and social justice (ESJ).  Many types of inequities exist in society, but race and space are key predictors of inequity. A key concept of social justice is that any person born into society, no matter where they were born or live, will have an equitable opportunity to achieve successful life outcomes and to thrive. Geographic information science and its technologies (GIS&T) provide powerful tools to analyze equity and social justice issues and help government agencies apply an equity lens to every aspect of their administration. Given the reliance on spatial data to represent and analyze matters of ESJ, the use of these tools is necessary, logical, and appropriate. Some types of analyses and mapping commonly used with ESJ programs require careful attention to how data are combined and represented, risking misleading or false conclusions otherwise. Such outcomes could build mistrust when trust is most needed. A GIS-supported lifecycle for ESJ is presented that includes stages of exploratory issue analysis, community feedback, pro-equity programs analysis, management monitoring and stakeholder awareness, program performance metrics, and effectiveness analysis.

GS-29 - GIS Participatory Modeling

Participatory research is increasingly used to better understand complex social-environmental problems and design solutions through diverse and inclusive stakeholder engagement. A growing number of approaches are helping to foster co-production of knowledge among diverse stakeholders. However, most methods don’t allow stakeholders to directly interact with the models that often drive environmental decision-making. Geospatial participatory modeling (GPM) is an approach that engages stakeholders in co-development and interpretation of models through dynamic geovisualization and simulations. GPM can be used to represent dynamic landscape processes and spatially explicit management scenarios, such as land use change or climate adaptation, enhancing opportunities for co-learning. GPM can provide multiple benefits over non-spatial approaches for participatory research processes, by (a) personalizing connections to problems and their solutions, (b) resolving abstract notions of connectivity, and (c) clarifying the scales of drivers, data, and decision-making authority. An adaptive, iterative process of model development, sharing, and revision can drive innovation of methods, improve model realism or applicability, and build capacity for stakeholders to leverage new knowledge gained from the process. This co-production of knowledge enables participants to more fully understand problems, evaluate the acceptability of trade-offs, and build buy-in for management actions in the places where they live and work.

GS-14 - GIS and Critical Ethics

This entry discusses and defines ethical critiques and GIS. It complements other GIS&T Body of Knowledge entries on Professional and Practical Ethics and Codes of Ethics for GIS Professionals. Critical ethics is presented as the attempt to provide a better understanding of data politics. Knowledge is never abstract or non-material. Spatial data, as a form of knowledge, may mask, conceal, disallow or disavow, even as it speaks, permits and claims. A critical ethics of GIS investigates this situated power-knowledge. Two concepts from educational pedagogy are suggested: threshold and troublesome knowledge. As we use and continue to learn GIS, these concepts may enrich our experience by usefully leading us astray. This points finally to how ethical critique is practical, empirical and political, rather than abstract or theoretical.

GS-04 - Location Privacy

How effective is this fence at keeping people, objects, or sensitive information inside or outside? Location Privacy is concerned with the claim of individuals to determine when, how, and to what extent information about themselves and their location is communicated to others. Privacy implications for spatial data are growing in importance with growing awareness of the value of geo-information and the advent of the Internet of Things, Cloud-Based GIS, and Location Based Services.  

In the rapidly changing landscape of GIS and public domain spatial data, issues of location privacy are more important now than ever before. Technological trailblazing tends to precede legal safeguards. The development of GIS tools and the work of the GIS&T research and user community have typically occurred at a much faster rate than the establishment of legislative frameworks governing the use of spatial data, including privacy concerns. Yet even in a collaborative environment that characterizes the GIS&T community, and despite progress made, the issue of location privacy is a particularly thorny one, occurring as it does at the intersection of geotechnology and society.

GS-13 - Epistemological critiques

As GIS became a firmly established presence in geography and catalysed the emergence of GIScience, it became the target of a series of critiques regarding modes of knowledge production that were perceived as problematic. The first wave of critiques charged GIS with resuscitating logical positivism and its erroneous treatment of social phenomena as indistinguishable from natural/physical phenomena. The second wave of critiques objected to GIS on the basis that it was a representational technology. In the third wave of critiques, rather than objecting to GIS simply because it represented, scholars engaged with the ways in which GIS represents natural and social phenomena, pointing to the masculinist and heteronormative modes of knowledge production that are bound up in some, but not all, uses and applications of geographic information technologies. In response to these critiques, GIScience scholars and theorists positioned GIS as a critically realist technology by virtue of its commitment to the contingency of representation and its non-universal claims to knowledge production in geography. Contemporary engagements of GIS epistemologies emphasize the epistemological flexibility of geospatial technologies.

GS-28 - GIS&T and Community Engagement

URISA’s GISCorps is a case study in community engagement by members of the GIS&T community, whether for purposes of community service or service learning. Since 2004, GISCorps volunteers have contributed their GIS&T expertise to organizations and communities in need all over the world. In doing so, volunteers make a positive difference to the broader community while gaining experience, developing skills, and expanding professional networks.

GS-15 - Feminist Critiques of GIS

Feminist interactions with GIS started in the 1990s in the form of strong critiques against GIS inspired by feminist and postpositivist theories. Those critiques mainly highlighted a supposed epistemological dissonance between GIS and feminist scholarship. GIS was accused of being shaped by positivist and masculinist epistemologies, especially due to its emphasis on vision as the principal way of knowing. In addition, feminist critiques claimed that GIS was largely incompatible with positionality and reflexivity, two core concepts of feminist theory. Feminist critiques of GIS also discussed power issues embedded in GIS practices, including the predominance of men in the early days of the GIS industry and the development of GIS practices for the military and surveillance purposes.

At the beginning of the 21st century, feminist geographers reexamined those critiques and argued against an inherent epistemological incompatibility between GIS methods and feminist scholarship. They advocated for a reappropriation of GIS by feminist scholars in the form of critical feminist GIS practices. The critical GIS perspective promotes an unorthodox, reconstructed, and emancipatory set of GIS practices by critiquing dominant approaches of knowledge production, implementing GIS in critically informed progressive social research, and developing postpositivist techniques of GIS. Inspired by those debates, feminist scholars did reclaim GIS and effectively developed feminist GIS practices.

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-20 - Aggregation of Spatial Entities and Legislative Redistricting

The partitioning of space is an essential consideration for the efficient allocation of resources. In the United States and many other countries, this parcelization of sub-regions for political and legislative purposes results in what is referred to as districts. A district is an aggregation of smaller, spatially bound units, along with their statistical properties, into larger spatially-bound units. When a district has the primary purpose of representation, individuals who reside within that district make up a constituency. Redistricting is often required as populations of constituents shift over time or resources that service areas change. Administrative challenges with creating districts have been greatly aided by increasing utilization of GIS. However, with these advances in geospatial methods, political disputes with the way in which districts increasingly snare the process in legal battles often centered on the topic of gerrymandering. This chapter focuses on the redistricting process within the United States and how the aggregation of representative spatial entities presents a mix of political, technical and legal challenges.