Who owns the map? Data sovereignty and government spatial data collection, use, and dissemination

Paper by Peter A. Johnson and Teresa Scassa: “Maps, created through the collection, assembly, and analysis of spatial data are used to support government planning and decision-making. Traditionally, spatial data used to create maps are collected, controlled, and disseminated by government, although over time, this role has shifted. This shift has been driven by the availability of alternate sources of data collected by private sector companies, and data contributed by volunteers to open mapping platforms, such as OpenStreetMap. In theorizing this shift, we provide examples of how governments use data sovereignty as a tool to shape spatial data collection, use, and sharing. We frame four models of how governments may navigate shifting spatial data sovereignty regimes; first, with government retaining complete control over data collection; second, with government contracting a third party to provide specific data collection services, but with data ownership and dissemination responsibilities resting with government; third, with government purchasing data under terms of access set by third party data collectors, who disseminate data to several parties, and finally, with government retreating from or relinquishing data sovereignty altogether. Within this rapidly changing landscape of data providers, we propose that governments must consider how to address data sovereignty concerns to retain their ability to control data use in the public interest…(More)”.