Trustful and Ethical Use of Geospatial Data

A special issue of ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information (ISSN 2220-9964).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 12006

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor

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Guest Editor

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Guest Editor
School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Curtin Perth, Kent Street, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia
Interests: spatial data quality and spatial metadata; provenance of spatial resources; spatial information infrastructures
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are inviting you to submit a research paper to “Trustful and Ethical Use of Geospatial Data”, a Special Issue of the ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. This Special Issue aims to explore gaps, challenges and opportunities in geospatial data trust and the ethical use of these data. We are seeking contributions discussing scientific research on how trust and ethical use can be incorporated in geospatial information management and on how further issues in this field can be better addressed. Contributions may take the form of literature review papers, short position/perspective papers and original research papers.

Trustworthy and ethical use of data and information has long been studied but has increasingly become an important topic in geospatial information management due to availability of big geospatial data (both authoritative and crowdsourced). Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: ethics in geospatial information science; mapping and cartography; trust in geospatial data, information and knowledge; ethics of augmented and extended reality and the metaverse; use and misuse of geographic information in social media; and GeoAI data ethics and other related issues, for instance, the use of geospatial science for good (leave no one and no place behind). Examples of questions to be answered include:

  • How can benefits of geospatial data and information be maximised while preserving data privacy and security?
  • Has the ethical use of geospatial data been adequately addressed?
  • Are the current ethical guidelines and standards sufficient?
  • How can the concepts of trust, trust models and trust indicators be applied to geospatial data and information?
  • How can we ensure maps are trustworthy?
  • What are the challenges faced in education and the roles of academics in the trustworthy and ethical use of geospatial data?
  • Do existing approaches to achieving SDGs sufficiently address ethics?
  • What are the fundamental ethical principles for geospatial data used in AI and automated decision making (GeoAI)?

Prof. Dr. Maria Antonia Brovelli
Prof. Dr. Songnian Li
Dr. Ivana Ivánová
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • geospatial data
  • information
  • crowdsourcing
  • ethical use
  • data trustfulness
  • ethics and GeoAI
  • privacy and confidentiality
  • ethical principles and standards
  • evaluation

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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10 pages, 3608 KiB  
Article
Conceptualizing and Validating the Trustworthiness of Maps through an Empirical Study on the Influence of Cultural Background on Map Design Perception
by Georg Gartner, Olesia Ignateva, Bibigul Zhunis and Johanna Pühringer
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2024, 13(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi13020039 - 26 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1599
Abstract
Maps are the culmination of numerous choices, with many offering multiple alternatives. Not all of these choices are inherently guided by default, clarity, or universally accepted best practices, guidelines, or recommendations. In the realm of cartography, it is a distinct feature that individual [...] Read more.
Maps are the culmination of numerous choices, with many offering multiple alternatives. Not all of these choices are inherently guided by default, clarity, or universally accepted best practices, guidelines, or recommendations. In the realm of cartography, it is a distinct feature that individual decisions can be made, particularly regarding data preparation and selection and design aspects. As each map is a product of a multitude of decisions, the confidence we place in maps hinges on the reasonableness of these decisions. The trustworthiness of maps depends on whether these decisions are sound, unquestioned, readily accessible, and supported by dependable groups of decision makers whose reliability can be assessed based on their track record as an institution, reputation, and competence. The advent of user-friendly map-making software and data manipulation tools has placed some of these decisions in the hands of the general populace and those interested in using maps to convey specific agendas. This mirrors other forms of communication and has given rise to a growing discourse on “fake news”, “fake media”, and “fake maps”, ultimately prompting us to question how we can trust the information being conveyed and how we can differentiate between “fake” and “trustworthy” maps. This paper highlights the fundamental aspects determined by the pure nature of cartographic modeling, which influences every attempt to understand, analyze, and express the context and trustworthiness of maps. It then identifies fundamental aspects of trustworthiness with respect to maps. Combining these two fundamental considerations represents an epistemological attempt to identify a research portfolio. An example of an empirical study on identifying selected aspects of this portfolio demonstrates the potential of gaining a better understanding of the context given. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trustful and Ethical Use of Geospatial Data)
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19 pages, 27164 KiB  
Article
Group-Privacy Threats for Geodata in the Humanitarian Context
by Brian K. Masinde, Caroline M. Gevaert, Michael H. Nagenborg and Jaap A. Zevenbergen
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2023, 12(10), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi12100393 - 27 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1769
Abstract
The role of geodata technologies in humanitarian action is arguably indispensable in determining when, where, and who needs aid before, during, and after a disaster. However, despite the advantages of using geodata technologies in humanitarianism (i.e., fast and efficient aid distribution), several ethical [...] Read more.
The role of geodata technologies in humanitarian action is arguably indispensable in determining when, where, and who needs aid before, during, and after a disaster. However, despite the advantages of using geodata technologies in humanitarianism (i.e., fast and efficient aid distribution), several ethical challenges arise, including privacy. The focus has been on individual privacy; however, in this article, we focus on group privacy, a debate that has recently gained attention. We approach privacy through the lens of informational harms that undermine the autonomy of groups and control of knowledge over them. Using demographically identifiable information (DII) as a definition for groups, we first assess how these are derived from geodata types used in humanitarian DRRM. Second, we discuss four informational-harm threat models: (i) biases from missing/underrepresented categories, (ii) the mosaic effect—unintentional sensitive knowledge discovery from combining disparate datasets, (iii) misuse of data (whether it is shared or not); and (iv) cost–benefit analysis (cost of protection vs. risk of misuse). Lastly, borrowing from triage in emergency medicine, we propose a geodata triage process as a possible method for practitioners to identify, prioritize, and mitigate these four group-privacy harms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trustful and Ethical Use of Geospatial Data)
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21 pages, 6967 KiB  
Article
Lossless Watermarking Algorithm for Geographic Point Cloud Data Based on Vertical Stability
by Mingyang Zhang, Jian Dong, Na Ren and Shuitao Guo
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2023, 12(7), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi12070294 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1137
Abstract
With the increasing demand for high-precision and difficult-to-obtain geospatial point cloud data copyright protection in military, scientific research, and other fields, research on lossless watermarking is receiving more and more attention. However, most of the current geospatial point cloud data watermarking algorithms embed [...] Read more.
With the increasing demand for high-precision and difficult-to-obtain geospatial point cloud data copyright protection in military, scientific research, and other fields, research on lossless watermarking is receiving more and more attention. However, most of the current geospatial point cloud data watermarking algorithms embed copyright information by modifying vertex coordinate values, which not only damages the data accuracy and quality but may also cause incalculable losses to data users. To maintain data fidelity and protect its copyright, in this paper, we propose a lossless embedded watermarking algorithm based on vertical stability. First, the watermark information is generated based on the binary encoding of the copyright information and the code of the traceability information. Second, the watermark index is calculated based on the length of the watermark information after compression and the vertical distribution characteristics of the data. Finally, watermark embedding is completed by modifying the relative storage order of the corresponding data according to the index and watermark value. The experimental results show that the proposed algorithm has good invisibility without damaging the data accuracy. In addition, compared with existing algorithms, this method has a higher robustness under operations such as projection transformation, precision perturbation, and vertex deletion of geospatial point cloud data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trustful and Ethical Use of Geospatial Data)
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13 pages, 2272 KiB  
Article
Using HyperLogLog to Prevent Data Retention in Social Media Streaming Data Analytics
by Marc Löchner and Dirk Burghardt
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2023, 12(2), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi12020060 - 9 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1992
Abstract
Social media data are widely used to gain insights about social incidents, whether on a local or global scale. Within the process of analyzing and evaluating the data, it is common practice to download and store it locally. Considerations about privacy protection of [...] Read more.
Social media data are widely used to gain insights about social incidents, whether on a local or global scale. Within the process of analyzing and evaluating the data, it is common practice to download and store it locally. Considerations about privacy protection of social media users are often neglected thereby. However, protecting privacy when dealing with personal data is demanded by laws and ethics. In this paper, we introduce a method to store social media data using the cardinality estimator HyperLogLog. Based on an exemplary disaster management scenario, we show that social media data can be analyzed by counting occurrences of posts, without becoming in possession of the actual raw data. For social media data analyses like these, that are based on counting occurrences, cardinality estimation suffices the task. Thus, the risk of abuse, loss, or public exposure of the data can be mitigated and privacy of social media users can be preserved. The ability to do unions and intersections on multiple datasets further encourages the use of this technology. We provide a proof-of-concept implementation for our introduced method, using data provided by the Twitter API. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trustful and Ethical Use of Geospatial Data)
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Review

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23 pages, 1145 KiB  
Review
Meeting the Challenges of the UN Sustainable Development Goals through Holistic Systems Thinking and Applied Geospatial Ethics
by Christy M. Caudill, Peter L. Pulsifer, Romola V. Thumbadoo and D. R. Fraser Taylor
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2024, 13(4), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi13040110 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1394
Abstract
The halfway point for the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was marked in 2023, as set forth in the 2030 Agenda. Geospatial technologies have proven indispensable in assessing and tracking fundamental components of each of the 17 SDGs, including [...] Read more.
The halfway point for the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was marked in 2023, as set forth in the 2030 Agenda. Geospatial technologies have proven indispensable in assessing and tracking fundamental components of each of the 17 SDGs, including climatological and ecological trends, and changes and humanitarian crises and socio-economic impacts. However, gaps remain in the capacity for geospatial and related digital technologies, like AI, to provide a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the complex and multi-factorial challenges delineated in the SDGs. Lack of progress toward these goals, and the immense implementation challenges that remain, call for inclusive and holistic approaches, coupled with transformative uses of digital technologies. This paper reviews transdisciplinary, holistic, and participatory approaches to address gaps in ethics and diversity in geospatial and related technologies and to meet the pressing need for bottom-up, community-driven initiatives. Small-scale, community-based initiatives are known to have a systemic and aggregate effect toward macro-economic and global environmental goals. Cybernetic systems thinking approaches are the conceptual framework investigated in this study, as these approaches suggest that a decentralized, polycentric system—for example, each community acting as one node in a larger, global system—has the resilience and capacity to create and sustain positive change, even if it is counter to top-down decisions and mechanisms. Thus, this paper will discuss how holistic systems thinking—societal, political, environmental, and economic choices considered in an interrelated context—may be central to building true resilience to climate change and creating sustainable development pathways. Traditional and Indigenous knowledge (IK) systems around the world hold holistic awareness of human-ecological interactions—practicable, reciprocal relationships developed over time as a cultural approach. This cultural holistic approach is also known as Systemic Literacy, which considers how systems function beyond “mechanical” aspects and include political, philosophical, psychological, emotional, relational, anthropological, and ecological dimensions. When Indigenous-led, these dimensions can be unified into participatory, community-centered conservation practices that support long-term human and environmental well-being. There is a growing recognition of the criticality of Indigenous leadership in sustainability practices, as well as that partnerships with Indigenous peoples and weaving knowledge systems, as a missing link to approaching global ecological crises. This review investigates the inequality in technological systems—the “digital divide” that further inhibits participation by communities and groups that retain knowledge of “place” and may offer the most transformative solutions. Following the review and synthesis, this study presents cybernetics as a bridge of understanding to Indigenous systems thinking. As non-Indigenous scholars, we hope that this study serves to foster informed, productive, and respectful dialogues so that the strength of diverse knowledges might offer whole-systems approaches to decision making that tackle wicked problems. Lastly, we discuss use cases of community-based processes and co-developed geospatial technologies, along with ethical considerations, as avenues toward enhancing equity and making advances in democratizing and decolonizing technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trustful and Ethical Use of Geospatial Data)
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29 pages, 1272 KiB  
Review
Crossing Boundaries: The Ethics of AI and Geographic Information Technologies
by Isaac Oluoch
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2024, 13(3), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi13030087 - 9 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1688
Abstract
Over the past two decades, there has been increasing research on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and geographic information technologies for monitoring and mapping varying phenomena on the Earth’s surface. At the same time, there has been growing attention given to the [...] Read more.
Over the past two decades, there has been increasing research on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and geographic information technologies for monitoring and mapping varying phenomena on the Earth’s surface. At the same time, there has been growing attention given to the ethical challenges that these technologies present (both individually and collectively in fields such as critical cartography, ethics of AI and GeoAI). This attention has produced a growing number of critical commentaries and articles as well as guidelines (by academic, governmental, and private institutions) that have been drafted to raise these ethical challenges and suggest potential solutions. This paper presents a review of 16 ethical guidelines of AI and 8 guidelines of geographic information technologies, analysing how these guidelines define and employ a number of ethical values and principles (e.g., autonomy, bias, privacy, and consent). One of the key findings from this review is the asymmetrical mentioning of certain values and principles within the guidelines. The AI guidelines make very clear the potential of AI to negatively impact social and environmental justice, autonomy, fairness and dignity, while far less attention is given to these impacts in the geographic information guidelines. This points to a need for the geo-information guidelines to be more attentive to the role geographic information can play in disempowering individuals and groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trustful and Ethical Use of Geospatial Data)
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