The American Geographical Society Selected to Lead Global Conversation on the Ethical Dimensions of New Geospatial Data and Technologies

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[New York City, NY] – [July 9, 2019] — The American Geographical Society (AGS) has been awarded a grant by Omidyar Network to launch a world-wide conversation on the ethics of geospatial technologies. Designated “EthicalGEO,” this initiative calls on thinkers from all over the world, and all walks of life, to put forward their best ideas about the ethical challenges of new geospatial technologies that are reshaping our world. In light of a growing number of innovations using geographic data/technology and questions of clear ethical guidelines, EthicalGEO seeks to create a global platform for advancing a necessary dialog.

“We at the American Geographical Society are excited to partner with Omidyar Network on this important initiative. We look forward to unlocking the ethical creativity of the extended geospatial community, and to share their insights with the world over this global platform” said Dr. Christopher Tucker, Chairman of AGS.

“Geospatial technologies continue to be an invaluable force for good, yet there is a growing need to address the unintended consequences that can arise with such technological innovation,” said Peter Rabley, venture partner at Omidyar Network. “We are excited to support the launch of EthicalGEO, which will help us better understand how we might safeguard against potential downsides while optimizing the positive impact geospatial technologies can have on advancing solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing issues, from a lack of property rights, climate change, and global development.”

The EthicalGEO Initiative will invite thinkers to submit short videos highlighting their best idea to address ethical “GEO” issues. Out of the collection of the videos, a small number will be chosen to receive funding to amplify their idea and provide basis for further dialog and will comprise the first class of AGS EthicalGEO Fellows. For more information, please visit www.ethicalgeo.org .

The American Geographical Society (AGS) is a 21st-century learning society dedicated to the advancement of geographic thinking, knowledge, and understanding across business, government, academe, social sectors, and most importantly with teachers and students. Established in 1851, AGS is the oldest professional geographical organization in the United States. It is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in geographical research and education for over 168 years. The mission of AGS is to advance and promote geography in business, government, science, and education. Our goal is to enhance the nation’s geographic literacy to engender sound public policy, national security, and human well-being worldwide. AGS seeks to engage the American public, from its youngest to its oldest citizens, with new and amazing ways to understand and characterize our changing world. The Society maintains its headquarters in New York City.

Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by philanthropists Pam and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, the organization has committed more than $1 billion to innovative for-profit companies and non-profit organizations to catalyze economic and social change.


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