The Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) recognized the need to address legal and policy issues impacting geospatial information management has become more critical as the acquisition and application of geospatial information becomes increasingly innovative and creative arising from new and emerging technologies and devices. These technologies and applications consume and produce information and services at an increasing pace and volume. Some of these technologies, devices and applications can be perceived as being intrusive.

At its sixth session, held in New York from 3 to 5 August 2016, the Committee of Experts adopted decision 6/105, in which it noted a number of legal and policy issues that confirmed the essential need for all legal and policy frameworks that could have an impact on geospatial and legal communities be developed in partnership by the geospatial and legal communities. The Committee of Experts convened International Forum on Policy and Legal Frameworks for Geospatial Information Management in Kuala Lumpur on 18 and 19 October 2016, in collaboration with the Regional Committee of United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management for Asia and Pacific. At the end of the Forum, participants issued a declaration that called for the global geospatial information community to engage in discussions on policy and legal issues that could have an impact on the collection, licensing and use, privacy, provenance and accessibility of geospatial information. The Declaration provided the Committee of Experts and the global geospatial information management community a feasible path forward, the call to establish a working group to explore legal and policy frameworks for geospatial information, with members from both the geospatial and legal communities.

At its 7th session, held in New York 2-4 August 2017, the Committee of Experts endorsed the establishment of a Working Group on Legal and Policy Frameworks for Geospatial Information Management. At the same time, the Terms of Reference for the Working Group were also endorsed.


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Kristine Hirschkorn
Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation,
Natural Resources Canada

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Saudi Arabia
Asim AlGhamdi
General Authority for Survey and Geospatial Information

The objectives of the Working Group, as decided at the 7th Session of UN-GGIM, are to:

  • play a leading role in raising awareness and highlighting the importance of sound policy and legal framework for geospatial information management at the highest levels to promote development, innovation, production consumption, distribution of geospatial information in the midst of rapidly changing societal norms towards access to Big Data and other types of information;
  • explore appropriate policy and legal frameworks for geospatial information management proactively, taking into consideration that good policy and legal frameworks will evolve over time, and respond to societal progress and technological developments; and
  • support the Committee of Experts in the development of norms, principles and guides, including any regional capacity development initiatives, to significantly increase the availability and accessibility of geospatial information so as to create high-quality, timely and reliable products and services from geospatial information to address the Sustainable Development goals and other critical local, national, regional and international issues.

    Member States

    • Algeria
    • Australia
    • Belgium
    • Canada
    • China
    • Finland
    • India
    • Italy
    • Malaysia
    • Mexico
    • Morocco
    • Poland
    • Saudi Arabia
    • United Arab Emirates
    • United Kingdom of Breat Britain and Northern Ireland
    • United States of America

    Non-Member State

    • Centre for Spatial Law and Policy
    • EuroGeogrpahics
    • Geospatial Framework
    • International Bar Association
    • International Hydrographic Organization
    • Open Geospatial Consortium
    Authoritative data in an evolving geospatial landscape: an exploration of policy and legal challenges (E/C.20/2023/16/Add.2)

    The Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, at its thirteenth session, in decision 13/112, endorsed the paper entitled 'Authoritative data in an evolving geospatial landscape: an exploration of policy and legal challenges', developed through a collaborative and inclusive global consultation process to address the issues related to authoritative data. The paper is intended as a policy and legal guide to help national geospatial entities, including national mapping, cadastral and land registration authorities, as well as the private sector and civil society, to better produce, sustain and govern the use of geospatial information that is deemed authoritative and trusted, and to be used as a supplement in the implementation of the UN-IGIF strategic pathways relating to authority and authoritativeness.

    Authoritative data in an evolving geospatial landscape: an exploration of policy and legal challenges

    Compendium on Licensing of Geospatial Information

    At its eighth session held from 1 - 3 August 2018, the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management applauded the Working Group for its efforts, including a global consultation process, that allowed the finalization and endorsement by the Committee the Compendium on Licensing of Geospatial Information as contained in document E/C.20/2018/9/Add.2. The Compendium is a comprehensive document on the licensing of geospatial information, and able to assist Member States to understand legal and policy considerations that impact the collection, use, storage and dissemination of geospatial information, and can serve as a foundation document for several other initiatives, including developing good practices in the future.

    Compendium on Licensing of Geospatial Information (E/C.20/2018/9/Add.2) English Spanish French Dutch

    Integrated Geospatial Information Framework

    At its eighth session, the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management commended the Secretariat, World Bank and the many actors within the Committee for contributing to the formulation of the Integrated Geospatial Information Framework as an important and practical global guide and adopted Part 1, the Overarching Strategic Framework (E/C.20/2018/13/Add.1 Annex II), as a forward-looking Framework that provides the overarching strategic messages and expansive, integrated national framework, focusing on the policy, perspectives and key elements of geospatial information as a high-level reference document for growing geospatial awareness for policy and decision makers.

    Part 1 - Overarching Strategic Framework, Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (E/C.20/2018/16/Add.1 Annex II)
    Guidance and Recommended Actions aligned with IGIF Strategic Pathway 2 - Policy and Legal (E/C.20/2020/13/Add.1)
    White Paper - Legal Aspects of Availability of Geospatial Information (E/C.20/2020/31/Add.2)

    Resource to facilitate data sharing and exchange

    UN-GGIM at its Twelfth Session, in its decision 12/112 (b), noted that the Working Group together with the Centre for Spatial Law and Policy and the Secretariat embarked on an initiative to prepare and develop draft legal instruments (agreement, policy, legislation) as resources that Member States can consider, adapt, and tailor to their national (or sub-national) circumstances when implementing the UN-IGIF. The context being to promote data sharing and exchange, and improve the availability, accessibility, and usability of geospatial information. This resource, a policy and legal resource kit, includes: a) annotated geospatial data sharing agreement; b) form geospatial information management policy; and c) model geospatial information management legislation; as resource materials. The resource kit will be made available to supplement the guidance and recommended actions within the UN-IGIF Implementation Guide - Strategic Pathway 2, support the development of country-level Action Plan, and the implementation of the UN-IGIF at the country-level (E/C.20/2022/16/Add.1; Paragraph 20 and 21)..

    UN-IGIF Policy and Legal Resource Kit

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