By Denise McKenzie
By  Denise McKenzie, PLACE
Locus Charter – A history of data ethics at PLACE
Ethical and responsible use of location data is an intrinsic part of everything we are building at PLACE and the team has understood its importance long before the creation of PLACE even began.  Initial interest in the area started in 2016 when Peter Rabley became concerned that space and time were not being considered in the data ethics debates and after checking with industry at a conference in 2016 realized that no one was aware of or seemingly concerned about this in the geospatial community. So he set about investigating the topic with two grants made by the Omidyar Network Property Rights Team – each grant created the Benchmark Initiative at Ordnance Survey’s Geovation program and EthicalGeo at the American Geographical Society. Further references to the programs of work can be found at the bottom of the page. Both of these were driven by ON to add to the ongoing data and ethics conversation that Luminate (formerly GCE initiative had been driving and funding) were and are driving – see for some of the references.   Luckily Alex Wrottesley (Head of Geovation at the time) hired our own Denise McKenzie to partner with Ben Hawes to develop the work at Benchmark and to partner with the team at AGS EthicalGeo. These two programs quickly saw the value in working together and as the COVID pandemic struck in early 2020 they embarked on a series of online workshops across all regions of the world to explore the issues and values relating to the ethical use of location data. The result of this was the Locus Charter. 10 Principles for the Ethical and responsible use of location data. This charter is now central to our work at PLACE and will continue to guide and underpin our work into the future.     Vision: A world where location data is utilized for the betterment of the world and all species that live in it.

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