Book Review: Geographic Information Science: Mastering the Legal Issues – 1st Edition

By | October 19, 2021

This was originally posted in 2015 and Updated October 16, 2018

by George Cho (Author)

  • ISBN-13: 978-0470850107
  • ISBN-10: 0470850108

5.0 out of 5 stars – This is a review I wrote for on February 22, 2015. Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

I have dabbled professionally in GIS since the early 1990’s while working as a city planner. In 2011 I enrolled full time in law school. If you have worked for anytime at all before attending law school one of the first things you do is try to find the answers to all the obscure legal questions that came up during your earlier career. The legal questions surrounding geographic information systems, data, people, and whatnot (GI as the author calls it) are numerous, and are only becoming more complex as time passes. So, when I picked my states’ GIS data law as the topic of an independent research project I found this book to be my best guide. I found the book to be incredibly helpful in framing the major questions, comprehensive in its scope, and well researched. The author is Australian and thus primarily concerned on Australian law. However, he does a great job of incorporating Commonwealth and US law into his survey and analysis, without getting bogged down in useless exercises in comparative law. The book appears to me to have been written with a graduate GIS class, or a specialized law school course, in mind. While I can only attest to the US portions, at the time of publishing the case and statutes list were current and comprehensive. My personal copy sits on my reference bookshelf and is tabbed, highlighted, and somewhat tattered. Mr. Cho should be commended for his work. If Mr. Cho updates his 2005 work he can count on my purchasing at least one copy.

end original review

20150602 Note:  If your governmental organization is considering reviewing your GIS data distribution and sale options please get a copy of this book. Even though the case law in this book is 11 or more years out of date Professor Cho offers a thorough discussion of the pros and cons of almost every possible GIS data policy. I cannot stress enough how the wrong GIS data distribution and sales policy can harm your community’s economic development and decrease transparency into and within your local government.

If you enjoy this blog and know someone else who might enjoy it as well, please share the link.

About the Author

You can view Chris Dunn’s third person singular CV here. Basically, he’s a geographer with a law degree, a bar card, and a kick-ass GIS workstation. Email me at