Let’s Call it GeoDicta

By | July 24, 2019

A Geospatial Legal Blog is Launched

Hello! The amazing thing about the internet is that no matter how weird and obscure your professional interests might be, there are other people out there just like you. Further, once you meet those other weirdos, they’ll almost immediately tell you that you are wrong and everything you thing is bunk! I love that! Game on!


The aim of this blog is to meet some of my fellow geospatial law geeks (GSLGs)*. If you are a GSLG then below are some of the questions you may have once asked yourself. Look at this as a self-test:

As a working geospatial professional, have you ever wondered what kind of liability you are subject to personally when you create geospatial products for your employer? Have you asked yourself if you are truly protected when someone else missuses your employer’s product and they get hurt, or worse, gets someone else killed?

As a regular Jane or Joe, have you ever loaded a free new app that had nothing to do with your location and yet it demanded to have location permission before it would work? If so, you probably already know that your new app is one of a thousand little digital spies infesting and eroding your personal privacy. Surely you know by now that the app owner would sell your location to Al Qaeda if there was money in it for them. Not that capitalism is a bad thing. It just needs ethics.

As a curious citizen trying to change a local regulation, have you ever wondered why some local governments are complete jerks to you when you request records that they ought to cheerfully provide to you Mr. or Ms. Taxpayer?  Do you wonder whether that is just a reflection of the local culture, the arrogance of having a tiny bit of power, or do you think they are trying to hide something? We’ll definitely look at the ways governments hide the public’s geospatial data.

As an attorney, have you ever wondered what the current state of geospatial technology can do to support your potential boundary dispute, or how you could use the same tech to identify eligible members of a potential class action suit? Have you wondered how geospatial forensic technology can be used to support the elements in your case? I think about this stuff every day!

So, are you a geospatial law geek? Skip the next paragraph if you are.

If you are not a geospatial law geek, I’m sorry. But good luck and here is the Top 100 Celebrity Blogs.  Did you know Jackie Chan has a blog? Its number 6!

Blog Goals

If you are still with me, thank you for either subscribing to this blog, or for somehow finding it! I have two simple goals for this effort. First, I hope not to embarrass my friends or family.  I’ve been known to write some things, that upon some reflection, were possibly best left unwritten.  Those days are behind me mom. 😉

My second – and far less important – goal is to provide a thoughtful “go-to” resource that covers the fuzzy overlap zone between the law, public policy, and the geospatial sciences. But, I’m counting on you to help!

Blog Rules

Kindness & Civility: I’m going to make every effort to be kind, even when we’re discussing some people doing some bad things. When the subscriber comments software is finally configured, blog subscribers will be able to offer comments. The same rules will apply to them: Be kind and be civil. We need to get back to being more civil to each other. 

Transparency: I’m going to make a big effort to remain transparent.  When I make a mistake, I’ll own it and I’ll explain how I plan to fix it.  And I’ll disclose my personal biases.  Also, if you make a good counter argument, I may just change my opinion – and I’ll endeavor to give you the credit. I’ve changed many of my opinions over the years because other people made sound arguments. I’m thankful to those people who still use reason instead of demagoguery.

Apoliticality: When an issue is viewable from multiple political perspectives, I will attempt to at least mention the reasonably relevant counter arguments. I’ll not only encourage respectful political dialog. I’ll enforce it with a quick heavy ban hammer. 

Regularity: Part of committing to creating fifty two (52) blog posts a year is throwing yourself a heck of a challenge. I’ll need your help to keep the posts fresh and the content meaningful.

A Fuzzy List of Potential Future Blog Topics

  • How totalitarian governments like China and an unnecessarily politicized Silicon Valley use your geographic information to monitor, control, and oppress you.
  • Geospatial ethics
  • Geospatial and legal podcasts worth a listen.
  • Governmental geographic information system (GIS) data policies and procedures.
  • Geographic innovations that may have legal consequences
  • Legal cases that may have geographic implications.
  • Geospatial demonstrative evidence
  • Recognizing the past, present, and future geospatial/legal innovators.
  • What makes a good geospatial business intelligence product, from the clients point of view?
  • How to create your own geography business for fun and profit
  • Pretty maps vs.production maps; or why all maps can’t always be beautiful.
  • Why land surveyors are awesome!
  • What my Google subject searches revealed this week
  • How to explain what geospatial people do to the geospatially blind.  Note:  I’m fascinated by people who cannot think spatially.  Their brains baffle me, and I want to understand them better.
  • Discuss the wonderful/horrible thing that is Esri
  • Find, capture and collate some great geospatial resources

Please! If you ever catch me writing a blog post like the Top 10 GNSS Platforms in Hollywood Action Blockbusters, email me and tell me its over.

Link of the Week

Note: Every blog post will conclude with an interesting geospatial or legal link.

Scott Reinhard's Map the Grand Tetons.
A snippet of Scott Reinhard’s – The Grand Tetons

Are you as enthralled by beautiful maps as I am? Do you view some exceptional maps as artistic efforts worthy of gallery showings? Yep, me too. So go visit Scott Reinhard’s webpage. More often than not, my phone or computer wallpaper hosts a Scott Reinhard map. He’s the cartographer/artist I occasionally wish I might some day be.

*A completely made up acronym.

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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 Chris.Dunn@GeoVelo.com