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Geospatial data is simply a "language of the landscape;" it can, for the occurrence of every event, "provide position-based knowledge". It consists of "information that identifies the geographic location, and characteristics of natural or constructed features and boundaries on the earth. This information may be derived from, among other things, remote sensing, mapping, and surveying technologies: Statistical data may be included in this definition at the discretion of the collecting agency." To the extent that such data is time-sensitive and focused on operational deployments, movements, and schedules, it can originate from widely available portable technologies. Statistics and other data are increasingly important because they permit the creation of profiles with myriad uses. Organizations must recognize that geospatial data can be created to contain highly sensitive data and that responsible handling of such data will not detract from a firm's commercial opportunities-in fact, it could help it avert severe reputation damage. Originating organizations will find that as the data they handle become increasingly sensitive, the procedures for deciding whether to withhold or change such data before their release must be well-established and periodically revised to ensure that organizations handle such data responsibly.
Date of Publication: Nov.-Dec. 2005