Wayland, Massachusetts, USA: The Board of Directors of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has chartered a committee of the Board to specifically address the “spatial law and policy issues” which will influence development requirements of the Consortium’s technology process. The Spatial Law and Policy Committee (SLPC) will be chaired by OGC director and Executive Committee member, Kevin Pomfret, and will be organised under board leadership as an educational forum to include both select member and community participation.
In the past, legal issues associated with spatial data and technology were primarily a concern for lawyers that worked with or for the government. Now, both public sector and private sector users and providers of geospatial data and technologies face a wide range of legal issues associated with growth in consumer and business applications for spatial technology. Such applications include Earth browsers, satellite navigation devices in cars and PDA’s, location-based services associated with cell phones, business intelligence, social networking and satellite tracking of vehicles and equipment. All of these applications raise issues that involve intellectual property rights, liability, privacy, and national security. In many cases, the existing legal and policy framework is inadequate to provide governments, businesses and consumers clear guidance on these issues.
David Schell, OGC Chairman, said, “The OGC plays an expanding role in addressing society’s increasing dependence on geospatial information services. The advent of information interoperability in this technology domain raises the profile of geospatial information for policy makers, managers and scientists around the world. The Board’s creation at this time of a Spatial Law and Policy Committee reflects the increasing need of leaders to understand the challenges they face in this area, and the Board’s commitment to meeting their related information requirements.”