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Insurance for cartographers & GIS consultants

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To follow up on the earlier discussion regarding copyright ownership, etc. I was wondering:

How many of you out there have errors & omissions (professional liability) insurance?

Do you feel that E&O is necessary, do you feel vulnerable without it?

And, finally, I've had troubles finding a decent E&O provider who understands the GIS/mapping industry and sets their rates accordingly (I always get stuck with engineering fees due to their lack of industry knowledge)... any recommendations?

Thanks in advance,





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  • Interests:"I do recognize risk, and having recognized risk, I spend a lot of time minimizing it." Tim Severin
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The silence is deafening on this topic!

My take on this is thus:

Its all about risk exposure. All of my work has been done within the context of very large grant funding (academic research projects utilizing GIS, I being a contractor for). The publishing of cartographic output is copyright of the academic journal, or submitted as a tool for making a point (shoring up a land claims issue; proposal for a protected area; illustrating inordinate pressures on an established protected area, etc, etc...). In all my cases, the PI is responsible for integrating the results of any GIS analysis; the risk of liability here in just about nil.

On the flip side, producing cartographic output for GPS consumers, or to show underground toxic waste storage leakage, or any controversial question should be a red flag for the GIS consultant with in-house cartography or sub-contract cartographic group. In the case where potential legal issues are involved, the hirer will seek out a professional engineering firm or forensic laboratory that has in-house (or subcontract) GIS expertise who have heavy liability insurance.

Wrapping, IMO academic contracts are extremely low risk vis liability; consumer cartographic product could be higher risk; controversial GIS/cartographic work involving potential legal ramifications (private or public) are the highest risk, but are always shielded under an engineering firm's liability insurance...

There is an outlier, too. Selling shell or base map graphics or GIS shapefiles to a client who will in turn populate the layers with statistical, spatial or other data would IMO carry a very, very low risk of liability (approaching zero)...

I have a sneaky that very few if any cartographers/GIS techs not belonging to and current with a professional organization (MDs, P Eng, etc...) do not carry ANY liability insurance whatsoever.

In the end, it is your decision solely whether to carry liability insurance.

"I do recognize risk, and having recognized risk, I spend a lot of time minimizing it." Tim Severin

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