Geospatial Professionals, Law, and Law School

Geospatial technology is changing the legal environment in several distinct ways that have made the news recently. The first is the relatively new legal speciality of Spatial Law. According to GeoLaw, a Virginia law firm specializing in geospatial legal issues or Spatial Law, the rapid growth of geospatial technology has created the need for specialized knowledge of location based privacy, intellectual property rights in geospatial datasets, liability over spatial data, geo regulations, and national or other security issues.  GeoLaw maintains a Spatial Law and Policy Blog on Legal and Policy Issues associated with geospatial data and technology. It is the blog that you are directed to from The Centre For Spatial Law and Policy  which educates lawyers, businesses, government agencies, policy makers and others on the unique legal and policy issues associated with geospatial technology. Batchgeo maintains a map of top spatial law and policy stories around the world that the public or geospatial professionals can contribute, while it isn’t extensive it has current news for 2014. While spatial law is a specialized area, the legal arena is increasingly geospatial and visual. When the New York Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Evans Bank in Buffalo for alleged redlining or racially discriminating against certain neighborhoods, the headlines have focused on two maps, the one created by the New York Attorney General’s Office and one originally created by Evans Bank itself.  An article in the New York Times states that in the lawsuit, Evans Bank allegedly created a map of its lending area excluding predominately African-American neighborhoods on Buffalo’s Eastside. Geospatial professionals often think about land use, environmental, housing, and other highly location dependent areas when they are considering legal positions. More law pratices like, Post & Schell Attorneys at Law, emphasize real world operational knowlege such as that shown by attorney Stephen E. Luttrell who was a cartographic and geospatial analyst for an engineering firm or Derek Wetmore who works in General Litigation at Orrick and was geospatial anlysts for an environmental engineering firm.  The website lists several jobs for law and geospatial analysis. If you are a geospatial professional interested in going back to law school or a student looking fora pre-law major, a degree in geospatial analysis or GIS might just be the ticket.


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