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Title:Geographical Information Systems: Mining Public Assets for Commercial Interests
Author(s):Noble, Safiya Umoja
Subject(s):GIS, political economy, communications, data mining, Internet, critical information studies
Abstract:This paper is a political economic critique and exploration of the ways that the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) industry has emerged and consolidated itself by buying, analyzing and selling spatial data mined from the Internet. This includes a look at the history of GIS research and development activities and the industries that are fueling these developments. One of the fastest growing sectors is data mining and information processing where companies that are able to capitalize on the flow of information through proprietary systems or public networks like the Internet, are accumulating great wealth. What is needed is an exploration of the ways that the GIS industry has emerged within this larger context, and consolidated itself. Public adoption and usage of GIS tools via the Internet is creating competitive tensions within the GIS industry and producing complex new partnerships. What is most critical to explore at this moment are the details of the industry, who it serves, and in whose interest. As GIS software projects are often the outgrowth of direct political and economic policy and funding, industry giants are afforded greater access to purchasing huge data sets and labor to analyze and re-sell it.
Issue Date:2010
Genre:Working / Discussion Paper
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-08-01

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