Mixed media illustration showing a network of circles with people icons interconnected by lines

Ethics and AAG

Geography and Ethics

Over recent decades there has been a heightened awareness of the importance of ethics in scholarly research and professional practice, not just in geography but across all disciplines.

In seeking to enhance the positive impacts of research, teaching, and service undertaken by geographers, the AAG has been engaged in various discussions and initiatives on ethical issues. These often take geographers into an interdisciplinary arena.

Statement on Professional Ethics

In 2021, AAG updated this document under the leadership of Emily Yeh, Richard Kujawa, Sue Roberts, Reuben Rose-Redwood, and Eric Sheppard.


Read more

Efforts at AAG

In 2020, AAG launched a collaborative initiative to address the pressing need for research and guidance on ethical practice with geolocational data—the GeoEthics Initiative. Since then, we have worked with our partners to support the development of a common awareness and understanding of the extent of ethical concerns, within or beyond the geographical community, to generate new connections among a wide range of stakeholders including academic scholars, educators, certifying bodies, GIS (geographic information systems) professionals, spatial data scientists, and students across the increased breadth of disciplines that use locational information.

Past Initiatives

AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition — For more than a decade, AAG has partnered with AAAS to lead discussions and participate in focused inquiry on issues such as the Right to Science, climate change and human rights, and the use of geolocational data for humanitarian purposes, and addressing the crisis of COVID-19 research.  Learn more

Geospatial Data Confidentiality — The AAG has engaged in an NSF-funded research project looking at the long-standing problems of sharing geospatial data and their visualizations. This includes the ethical issues of protecting the locational privacy and confidentiality of subjects in research using geo-referenced data.  Learn more

Graduate Ethics Seminars for Future Geospatial Technology Professionals — The AAG was involved in this initiative funded by the NSF Ethics Education in Science and Engineering program. In collaboration with colleagues from Penn State, Oregon State, and the University of Minnesota, The aim was to develop a model curriculum for graduate seminars that would lead students to recognize and anticipate ethical issues posed by applications of geospatial technologies. Read an article from the AAG Newsletter about the initiative (May 2008, p. 1 & 8).  Learn more

Get Involved

Scales and gavel on table symbolizing justice, ethics, human rights


AAG’s Ethics, Justice, and Human Rights Specialty Group encourages inclusive and informed discussion throughout the discipline on normative concerns including applied, theoretical, and professional. In equal measure and in combination, to sustain an interest in, and teaching/research on, human rights issues at all scales of analysis, in all parts of the world.  Learn more