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Legal Aspects of GeospatiaL Information

  • By: Nancy J. Obermeyer
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Legal aspects of geospatial information refers to the legal requirements and restrictions governing the use of geographic information, including information generated through geographic information systems (GIS). There are six key legal issues associated with geospatial information:

  • Liability (contract and tort)
  • Public access to, use, and ownership of geoinformation and geographic data
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Copyright
  • Spatial data privacy
  • Evidentiary admissibility of GIS products
Liability

Liability laws apply to organizations that use, sell, or give geographic information as well as to purveyors of GIS software. U.S. courts have held GIS providers liable and determined that they should bear some financial responsibility for damages if their actions result in mistakes that damage or harm others. Evolving case law deals with GIS such as aeronautical and navigational maps, subjecting them ...

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