In June 2022, IMIA held a workshop on Geo Ethics at their Mapping Leaders Forum in Denver, Colorado. The workshop opened with a presentation by Mark Cygan, Director of National Mapping Solutions at Esri, which highlighted recent advancements among cartographic organizations around the world to define the ethical principles of map making and Geo Ethics.  IMIA members and forum attendees then divided into focus groups to discuss a series of topics related to the ethical foundations of running a map business. The goal of each group was to identify the key elements or highest priorities needed to achieve and maintain the highest standard of ethical practice related to:

  • Conducting Business
  • Business Relationships
  • Map Production & Data Sourcing
  • Quality Products

Each group included business leaders in mapping and GIS from around the world, bringing unique experiences and thoughtful observations to the discussion. The workshop ended with each group’s moderator reporting the top priorities that were raised on their topic. Many of the resulting comments from each group ran in parallel, leading to an unofficial consensus that we summarize in the following statement, presented here confidentially for review and approval by the IMIA board & then membership.

IMIA Statement on Ethics for the Map Industry

The International Map Industry Association (IMIA) recognizes the following essential priorities and practices for ethical conduct by global mapping and geospatial businesses:

  • Demonstrating integrity in all aspects of business operations, particularly correct map information and proper treatment of intellectual property.
  • Maintaining business relationships through truthful communication and inclusive practices.
  • Utilizing best practices for sourcing appropriate data and producing map content at resolutions/scales aligned with expected usage.
  • Producing quality map and data products and services by focusing on their relevant usability, fidelity to a consistent ethical cartographic process, and accountability through honest and transparent procedures.