To achieve sustainable development goals, georeferenced data and geographic information systems play a crucial role. Yet, the way in which these data and systems are summoned upon rests on positivist assumptions which overlook both epistemological and ethical concerns. This is epitomized by the integrated geospatial information framework (IGIF) of the United Nations, which, from the perspective of sustainable development, aims to provide guidance for the management of geoinformation and related tools, considering these as mirrors of the physical world. In this respect, the article has three main goals. First, it delivers an epistemological and ethical critique of the IGIF, by highlighting its internal tensions. Second, it suggests how the IGIF and similar geoinformation initiatives can benefit from an ethical reflection that allows to conduct georeferenced practices in a fair(er) way. Third, it designs an ethics assessment list for self-evaluating the ethical robustness of geoinformation initiatives as ecosystems.
- data ecosystem
- data ethics
- integrated geospatial information framework
- Sustainable development goals