Student information

MSc thesis topic: Ethics in Geo-infromation Science. Building a framework for considering the issues of ethical and moral aspects of using location data

Ethical aspects of information use becomes an increasingly relevant topic in many data-reach fields of science. As a digital society we create petabytes of data and information (with or without our intention) which is used and redistributed by many governmental and private parties. Location information in many cases may be considered as a privacy sensitive attribute of many datasets. It is therefore relevant for Geo-information Science field to focus on the ethical and moral implications of using location information for various purposes.

In the last few years the field of geo-information has been facing a number of trends which may have implications for ethical aspects of geo-information use. Those trends are the abundance of data, democratization of information and more location information being gathered and redistributed by private companies. Those trends raise a number of ethical considerations. For example, how can we decide which datasets can be trusted taking into consideration lots of data are being created by non-experts? Should government ask e.g. Google to exclude certain locations from showing high-resolution images? What role plays location data in the context of the new EU General Data Protections Regulations?

This thesis topic focuses on the abovementioned ethical aspects in relation to Geo-information Science and aims at systematically analyse and create a framework to address those issues.


  • To analyze the broad spectrum of moral and ethical aspects of information and draw conclusion about their relevance to the research and practice in the Geo-information Science.
  • To create an assessment framework of ethical aspects that has to be considered while gathering, maipulating, distributing and visualisation of Geo-information.


  • Resnik, David B., Elliott, Kevin C., Miller, Aubrey K. 2015. A framework for addressing ethical issues in citizen science. Environmental Science & Policy 54(2015) 475-481.
  • Crampton, Jeremy W. 1995. The Ethics of GIS. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, Vol 2, No 1, 84-89.

Theme(s): Empowering & engaging communities