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GEOG 581
Spatial Data Science Ethics
magnet bar on table of compasses

GEOG 581 is a graduate seminar for students who are concerned about the ethical implications and social impacts of geospatial technologies and methods. It traces the roots of Spatial Data Science Ethics in moral philosophy, professional ethics frameworks, and critical studies in the geospatial field. Students analyze ethical case studies and compare and critique relevant legal and policy issues. They evaluate the organizational ethics of firms and agencies (including current or potential employers) that provide spatial data science products and services, and they discuss a proposed “ethics of digital care” for leading balanced digital lives. Finally, they develop Term Projects that conceptualize and interrogate ethical issues related to their own research. Course activities include readings, case study analyses, presentations, discussions, and scholarly Term Project reports.

At a Glance


Applications in GIS
Fundamentals of GIS and Mapmaking
SyllabusGEOG 581 Syllabus

Upcoming Offerings

Semester Instructor
Summer 2024 David W. DiBiase, GISP
Fall 1, 2024 David W. DiBiase, GISP

Meet Our Faculty Instructors

What Our Students Say

Interesting and engaging

“The case studies gave me strategies to use when approaching a new project to ensure I consider the ethical implications. I learned more than I anticipated and feel I am better prepared for future school and work projects.”

— Dustin Coburn

Incredibly rewarding

“Part of the value of this class was the regular engagement with classmates who offered alternate and unique perspectives to my own understanding of class material and case studies. I would highly recommend taking this course as a foundation for any spatial data science program.”

— Julie Rotramel

We offer over 30 courses in five 10-week terms each year: two every fall, two every spring and one every summer.