Publication Date

Winter 1-1-2009


GEOG 598E: PROFESSIONALISM IN GIS& T. Prepares current and aspiring professionals to recognize, analyze and address legal and ethical issues in the GIS& T (geospatial) field. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.

“Being professional” in the Geographic Information Science and Technology field (GIS& T, a.k.a. geospatial) means being both competent in one’s work and reflective about its legal and ethical implications. Licensed and certified GIS& T professionals are required to affirm their commitment to legal and ethical practice. Fulfilling such commitments requires the ability to recognize and analyze legal and ethical problems and to act with integrity. In this course students investigate the nature of professions generally and the characteristics of the professions that occupy the GIS& T field in particular. Students gain awareness of pertinent legal and ethical issues and hone their moral reasoning skills through methodical analyses of case studies in relation to the GIS Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct. Assignments include readings, case analyses, practitioner interviews and preparation of original case studies.

Like other courses in our online programs, GEOG 598E is a "paced" course. "Paced" means that the course has a start date, an end date, and a weekly schedule of activities and assignments. However, students are free to study at times most convenient to them; you never have to log in at a particular time or place. The course lasts ten weeks, plus an additional week for course orientation (week 0). Assignment due dates are posted in a course calendar which registered students access in the University's online course management system, ANGEL ( See the "Assignments" section below for more information.

Although the class never meets face to face, you'll find that there are plenty of opportunities to interact with instructors and fellow students in ANGEL discussion forums, team assignments, and occasional teleconferences. One of the most interesting aspects of the class is that students have a lot of professional experience to share. See the Communications section below to review the ways in which you can get, and stay, in touch. Whether you have a question or a comment, you can expect to receive a reply from instructors or fellow students within 24 hours -- often sooner.

Material Type


Research Area

Geographic Information Sciences

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant # GEO-0734888.

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