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Maps & Legalities


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#1
Monique

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Greetings,

I am a graduate student who recently completed a GIS group project-based course. This particular course has each group of students work for a client in the community fulfilling some sort of mapping need.

Our project pertained to applying GIS to a community food assessment initiative that is currently being conducted by a recently formed health alliance. After our presentation, a member of the audience requested copies of our maps that we had created throughout the semester and were consequently presented in our Powerpoint presentation. On each map, we have included data sources and date created. We did not place either our names nor include a disclaimer on them as this information was rather included in our metadata and accompanying report.

Given that this is my first experience with a request for a map I had efforts with, my inquiry is such: what should be or is required on such maps before providing them to others? Knowing that legalities are inherently involved with this, I am sensitive to this matter and am looking for any insight that one may be able to provide or direct my attention to-

In advance, I thank anyone for assistance with this.

#2
James Hines

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Lookup non disclosure agreements!

"There is much beauty that we fail to see through our own eyes teeming with life forms that give us that perception of our reality.  Leaves on the trees blowing gently in the wind, or scarily, the waves pounding through high surf, or lightly on a warm summer’s day; that opportunity to sit or swim in the water on a white beach.   That comfort to shout, “The universal conscious do you hear me?  I am alive, guide me dear logos towards the path of rightnesses.”  Earned what has been kept, no longer to be absorbed into a life filled with cold damn winds and  that stubborn fog clouding  my vision with nothing but darkness."


#3
Hans van der Maarel

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Hello Monique, and welcome to Cartotalk!

Some questions:
  • Do you have a contract or formal agreement with the health alliance regarding the production of these maps?
  • Is the person who asked for copies of the map a member of that health alliance?

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, but if you produce a map for a client, it may not be up to you to decide whether or not you can give copies to others. I would try to sort that out first, and also look into the copyright status of the maps. When in doubt, ask permission.

Second of all, I would add a disclaimer to them, saying for which purpose the maps were produced, that you did everything you could to ensure they are correct, but you cannot be held responsible for any damage caused by the map not being correct, or being used inappropriately. Depending on the copyright status, it should also say something about that, and/or non-disclosure.

Does the health alliance have a legal department? If so, it would be a good idea to have a talk with them.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#4
Dennis McClendon

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What makes you think that any kind of statement or disclaimer is needed?
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#5
Esther Mandeno

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Monique,

Most of my work is "commissioned". Meaning, I work on projects for clients and produce maps for their particular projects. From my experience, every single one of them considered the maps theirs and not mine to give. I could use them for promotion, but not to distribute or sell. I would just refer the map requester to your client and let them deal with distributing the maps. What you can learn from this lesson is that maps often do NOT stay with the original report that produced them. Maps tend to have a life of their own, as such, it is always a good idea to put as much info on the map itself (like data sources, who created the map and how and when, whatever disclaimer you are comfortable with, etc.).

Hope that helps.
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Esther Mandeno
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. - Albert Einstein

#6
François Goulet

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I'm making maps for a weekly newspaper and the pay me the rights of "first publication" (litteral translation from French "Droits de première publication", which means that they pay to be the first to publish the map, with my name in the credits (there's no copyright mention... only "Cartography: ...". See here). After that, I can do what I want with the map.

I could be different if I had to create something for them (compile data, etc.), or use their own data, but I used my own data or created it myself so it's mine...




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