A group of organisations including the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) have signed up to support the Locus Charter, an agreement spearheaded by EthicalGEO and Benchmark Initiative, which promotes responsible practice in the use of location data across all sectors including public, private, educational, and not-for-profit contexts.
In addition to its own affirmation, the Society is pleased to announce the co-signatories to the agreement are the American Geographical Society (AGS), Association for Geographical Information (AGI), Environmental Information Systems Africa (EIS - Africa), the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI - Mexico), Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), PLACE, Radiant Earth Foundation and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The Society and member organisations will seek to inform and improve location data practice across their work, from individual projects to organisational mandates. The first such activities are a series of collaborative workshops with the AGI for professional geographers to put the Charter principles into practice, providing advice and examples to inform and improve their work.
The Locus Charter will continue to evolve as the supporting organisations provide input, apply case studies, and incorporate best practices to strengthen its founding principles.
Nigel Clifford, President of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) said: “The Society is delighted to have become a member of the Locus Charter, offering a set of common international principles that can guide responsible practice when using location data – an issue currently at the heart of debates around digital privacy."
"The responsible use of data is crucial, be it deployed in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, fighting climate change, protecting the environment or improving public health. The Charter’s remit covers all sectors in which public trust and confidence must be maintained and highlights the impact of location data in policy and practice. We are looking forward to working with the American Geographical Society and others to support geographers and location data users in the practical deployment of the Charter principles.”
Dr Christopher Tucker, Chairman of the American Geographical Society and Locus Charter Collaborating Author, said: “We are excited by the speed with which the Locus Charter has achieved worldwide interest and commitment by such an esteemed group of organisations. We hope every organisation considers the transformational role of location and geospatial technologies in their business or mission and raises their voice around the importance of their responsible and ethical use by joining in support of the Locus Charter.”
All organisations working to advance the responsible and ethical use of location data are welcome to sign up to support the Locus Charter. To become a signatory supporting organisation, please contact the Locus Charter Executive Secretariat at the American Geographical Society at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a Letter of Engagement.
Notes to editor
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The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) is the learned society and professional body for geography. Formed in 1830, our Royal Charter of 1859 is for 'the advancement of geographical science'. Today, we deliver this objective through developing, supporting and promoting geographical research, expeditions and fieldwork, education, public engagement, and geography input to policy. We aim to foster an understanding and informed enjoyment of our world. We hold the world's largest private geographical collection and provide public access to it. We have a thriving Fellowship and membership and offer the professional accreditation 'Chartered Geographer’ www.rgs.org
The American Geographical Society’s (AGS) EthicalGEO serves as the executive secretariat of the Locus Charter and supports coordination, organisation, and development of the initiative. Through its EthicalGEO Initiative, AGS continues to serve as a home for ethical scholarship and practice in geography and geospatial science and advances the responsible use of geospatial and location-based among its diverse member base and the public.
The Locus Charter was publicly launched in March 2021 after a multi-year strategic partnership between the American Geographical Society’s EthicalGEO and the Benchmark Initiative, hosted at Ordnance Survey’s and HM Land Registry’s Geovation website. The charter was developed in collaboration with location data and data ethics experts from across the globe and has received support from Omidyar Network, Henry Luce Foundation, and Ordnance Survey.