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Case Studies

Students develop ethical awareness and moral reasoning skills through methodical analysis and discussion of case studies. The main contribution of the GIS Professional Ethics Project is a collection of case studies that pose a range of ethical challenges faced by geospatial professionals. Related educator resources are available on request for most cases.

To learn more about the case method, including a "Seven Step Guide for Ethical Decision Making," see Davis, Michael (1999) The Case Method. Ethics and the University. New York: Routledge. For an example of ethical decision making using the "Mapping Muslim Neighbors" case, see DiBiase, David, Chris Goranson, Francis Harvey and Dawn Wright (2009). The GIS Professional Ethics Project: Practical Ethics Education for GIS Pros. Proceedings of the 24th International Cartography Conference. Santiago, Chile, 15-21 November.


mapping_muslim_neighbors_case.pdf A police department's plan to map potential terrorist enclaves brings charges of racial profiling.
caribou_routes_case.pdf A GIS analyst is asked to exclude pertinent data from maps prepared for a public hearing.
mobile_phone_tracking_case.pdf Researchers track mobile phone users' movements to derive predictive models of human mobility.
software_emergency_case.pdf Too few software licenses are available in the aftermath of a tsunami.
e911_conflict_case.pdf A municipal GIS manager troubled by what appears to be a conflict of interest considers filing a formal ethics complaint.
collateral_damage_case.pdf A geospatial intelligence analyst predicts the civilian casualties in likely to be caused by a pre-emptive missile attack.
satellite_contract_case.pdf A sales representative is expected to withhold information that could affect availability of a data product.
submarine_crash_case.pdf Government agencies neglect to maintain accurate navigational charts.
llrw_siting_map_case.pdf Map masks potentially suitable sites for low-level radioactive waste storage facility.
data_access_case.pdf A governmental agency's need to recoup user fees conflicts with a public records law.
alpha_software_case.pdf Entrepreneurial GIS programmer is tempted to use a friend's code to win a lucrative contract.
bear_baiting_case.pdf Should locations of controversial hunting stations be mapped?
environmental_justice_case.pdf GIS programmer ponders a contract for a web map overlays toxic industrial sites and at-risk communities.
tidal_wetland_mapping_case.pdf A scope of work statement and established mapping procedures prevent a GIS analyst from adding wetlands to a conservation database.
privacy_and_planning_case.pdf A GIS professional considers filing an ethics complaint about lax protection of the confidentiality of a sensitive database.

Codes of Ethics

 http://www.gisci.org/Ethics_and_Conduct/CodeOfEthics_PR.pdf GIS Certification Insitutite Code of Ethics
 http://www.gisci.org/Ethics_and_Conduct/RulesOfConduct_PR.pdf GIS Certification Institute Rules of Conduct
http://www.asprs.org/membership/certification/appendix_a.html American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Code of Ethics

Syllabi

http://gis.e-education.psu.edu/gis/geog864 Syllabus of Penn State class GEOG 864: Professionalism in GIS&T
8291Syllabus - version 0.6.pdf Syllabus of the Fall 2008 offering of University of Minnesota class GEOG 8291: GIS Ethics: Accuracy and Responsibility<
 http://dusk.geo.orst.edu/ethics/  Syllabus of Winter 2009 offering of Oregon State class GEO 599: Responsible GIS Practice: Ethics for Future Geospatial Professionals
Ghose_GIS_Society_syllabus_Sp09.pdf Syllabus of Spring 2009 offering of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee class GEOG 734: GIS and Society (contributed by Rina Ghose)

Practitioner Interview Protocols

GIS&T .Ethics.Interview.protocol.2.doc Interview protocol revised after project workshop (March 2008) and IRB-approved for use by Penn State students

Other Resources

GIS.ethics.education.refs.ris References consulted during the GISProfessional Ethics Project. Save and import this file into a new EndNote library. Updated 26 January 2009.
http://www.ppgis.net/code.htm PPgis.net Open Forum on Participatory Geographic Information Systems and Technologies - Practical Ethics in PGIS/PPGIS Practice