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When using GIS and spatial data, consideration of ethical issues and implications is as important as when collecting, analysing, presenting and using any other form of data. The following list of online resources is dynamic. If you know of other resources you think we should be sharing, we’d be happy to hear from you at

The Society does not accept responsibility for the content of the external sites. Inclusion on this list does not equate to an endorsement of any content or organisation. Please contact the external site for questions regarding individual resources.


Locus Charter

EthicalGEO, American Geographical Society (USA)

Developing an international set of principles and guidance for the ethical use of location data.

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Find out more about the Society's work with the Locus Charter

The Ordinance Survey's Practical GeoAI Ethics Workshop output report  2022 examined how the Locus Chater could be applied in practice.  


Public Dialogue on location data ethics

Geospatial Commission (UK)

A report summarising the findings of the Geospatial Commission's public dialogue on location data ethics, highlighting public attitudes about location data.

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Ethical considerations in the use of geospatial data for research and statistics

Centre for Applied Data Ethics, UK Statistics Authority (UK)

Draft guidance aiming to provide user-friendly, practical advice addressing real ethical issues currently faced by the research and statistical community.

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GIS Code of Ethics


Ethical guidelines for GIS professionals (a requirement of URISA members).

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GeoEthics Webinar Series

AAG/University of California Santa Barbara/Esri (USA)

A series of webinars to discuss many of the major ethical issues raised by locational information.

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The need for ethics in GIS

Mark Altaweel/GIS Lounge

A short discussion of the place of ethics in GIS.

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The Benchmark Initiative

Omidyar Network/Ordnance Survey (UK)

A programme aiming to increase awareness of the many potential risks of using location data, to identify ethical principles, and to promote good practice.

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The Responsible Use of Spatial Data


This note highlights some of the unique characteristics of spatial data within the broader realm of ethical use of data. 

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Ethical considerations when using geospatial technologies for evidence generation

Gabrielle Berman, Sara de La Rosa and Tanya Accone/UNICEF

UNICEF working paper on the role of GIS and other technologies by humanitarian organisations and ethical considerations when doing so.

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Colonialism in Open Data and Mapping

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team

A discussion of the balance between mapping features and mapping the land, oceans, and communities who live and are stewards of that space, decolonising open data and open mapping, and representation and power in humanitarian mapping.

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We know what you did during lockdown

Financial Times/James Graham

A short film produced in collaboration with Sonia Friedman Productions and supported by Luminate. An interrogation scene explores how COVID-19 has exposed the tension between the need for data to track and trace, and the right to privacy and justice.

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Advancing civic participation in algorithmic decision-making: a guidebook for the public sector

Data Justice Lab (UK)

This guidebook sheds light on some of the ways civic participation can be enhanced in relation to algorithmic decision-making focusing particularly on the public sector.

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Considering Public Good in Research and Statistics: Ethics Guidance

UK Statistics Authority (UK)

This brief guidance aims to help researchers, statisticians and analysts to consider the public good of their research.

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Selected reading

  • Blatt, A.J. (2012) Ethics and Privacy Issues in the Use of GIS, Journal of Map & Geography Libraries, 8(1), pp. 80-84, doi: 10.1080/15420353.2011.627109
  • Casanova, R. and Caram, P. (2021) Teaching on the ethical use of geographic information in America, FIG e-Working Week 2021. Access the article.
  • Casanova, R., Saravia, M. and Chiale, C. (2021) Data privacy protection and geographic data use as an answer to COVID-19 in Uruguay, Geospatial World, 6 July. Access the article.
  • Crampton, J. (1995) The Ethics of GIS. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 22 (1), pp. 84-89, doi:10.1559/152304095782540546.
  • Davis, M. (2014) What to consider when preparing a model core curriculum for GIS ethics: objectives, methods, and a sketch of content, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 38(4), pp. 471-480, doi: 10.1080/03098265.2014.956298
  • DiBiase, D., Harvey, F., Goranson, C. and Wright, D. (2012) The GIS Professional Project: Practical Ethics for GIS Professionals, in Unwin, D.J., Foote, K.E., Tate, N.T. and DiBiase, D. (ed.) Teaching Geographic Information Science and Technology in Higher Education, pp. 109-209.
  • Elwood, S. and Wilson, M. (2017) Critical GIS pedagogies beyond ‘Week 10: Ethics’, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 31(10), pp. 2098-2116, DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2017.1334892
  • Holler, J. (2020) Teaching critical open GIS, The Canadian Geographer, 64(4), pp. 484-494.
  • Miller, R.P. (1995) Beyond Method, Beyond Ethics: Integrating Social Theory into GIS and GIS into Social Theory, Cartography and Geographic Information Systems, 22(1), pp. 98-103, doi: 10.1559/152304095782540582
  • Scull, P., Burnett, A., Dolfi, E., Goldfarb, A., et al. (2016) Privacy and Ethics in Undergraduate GIS Curricula. Journal of Geography, 115 (1), pp. 24-34, doi:10.1080/00221341.2015.1017517.

Featured image: Dan Roizer/Unsplash