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Ethics help people think about what is right and wrong. They stand in contrast to laws and morals that a society uses to define what is right and wrong for them at a particular point in time. For example, Victorians thought women should not be able to vote or display their ankles; for them, these were moral issues. Ethics are concerned with the underlying principles that generate these laws and morals. This section presents basic ethical philosophies, outlines the GIS Certification Institute Code of Ethics, and describes how ethics affects the practice of geographic information (GI) professionals.

Philosophers have fallen into three camps as they struggle to identify the best principles for ethics:

  • Teleological ethics: Focus on outcomes and consequences. One example of this is utilitarianism, whereby ...
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