Citing Geospatial Data: The Dos and Don’ts for Ethical Research


Citing Geospatial Data: The Dos and Don’ts for Ethical Research

September 1, 2020

In the evolving landscape of academic research, geospatial data has taken center stage as a valuable resource. However, just like traditional sources, it’s imperative to give due credit when incorporating these into your work. Proper citation isn’t merely a formality—it’s an ethical obligation to uphold the integrity of the research community. This article delves into the nuances of effectively citing geospatial data sources, ensuring your research remains both credible and commendable.

In the realm of ethical research, proper citation of geospatial data sources holds paramount importance. Researchers must navigate the dos and don’ts of referencing geographical information to ensure the integrity of their work. The meticulous practice of acknowledging data origins not only upholds academic honesty but also provides a clear trail of verification for readers and fellow researchers.

When citing geospatial data sources, the dos encompass a series of essential steps. First and foremost, it’s imperative to accurately identify the origin of the data, whether from maps, satellite imagery, or geographical databases. Additionally, providing context to the data’s relevance within the research framework enhances its credibility. Furthermore, adhering to the appropriate citation style, be it APA, MLA, or others, ensures consistency and ease of reference for readers. As the foundation of ethical research, these dos guide scholars in giving due credit to data providers and maintaining the transparency and trustworthiness of their work. For added confidence in the originality of your research, you can always check plagiarism on Gradesfixer, a reliable tool that aids in verifying the uniqueness of your content before publication.  Directly copying information without proper citation is a practice to avoid at all costs.

Top 6 tips for Ethical Research

Do: Keep Track of Every Source The life of a student is hectic—I get it. Between college parties and cramming for exams, who has the time? But, when it comes to citing, be that squirrel collecting every acorn. Every data sample, every map, every piece of info—keep a record.

Don’t: Eyeball It Don’t just guess where your data came from. And please, don’t just slap on a generic link hoping it’ll pass the sniff test. Be precise. If you got it from a specific page or topic, make sure you cite it that way.

Do: Know Your Source Look, we all love a shortcut. I mean, who doesn’t? But when it comes to geospatial data, you can’t just say “I found this map somewhere.” Dive deep, get to know your source inside out. Was it written by experts? Is it from a credible database? Knowledge is power, folks.

Don’t: Assume It’s a Free Game Just because data is online, doesn’t mean it’s free to snatch. Would you take someone’s pizza just because they left it on their table? I hope not! Treat geospatial data the same way. Make sure you have permission to use it, especially if your research is going to be published.

Do: Use Formal Citation Methods Alright, I know I said keep it chill, but when it comes to actual citations, it’s time to put on that suit and tie. Whether it’s APA, MLA, or whatever your college digs, make sure you’re citing geospatial data the formal way.

Don’t: Forget the Details Geospatial data is tricky. It’s not just about “who made it?” but also “when was it made?”, “how was it gathered?”, and “who funded it?”. These deeds might seem minor, but trust me, in the world of academia, they’re as essential as a good slice of New York cheesecake.


It’s a brave new world out there with geospatial data giving us insights we never imagined. But like any tool, it’s about how you use it. And in the world of academia, that means giving credit where it’s due. It’s not just a matter of respect, but of trust. When others read your work, they’re placing their trust in you to be honest about where you got your info. So do yourself and the academic community a solid: do your due diligence, cite properly, and always check your work. Because in research, as in life, it’s the little details that count.


 Alright, champs, here’s the lowdown. Geospatial data is dope—it can turn a drab essay into a masterpiece. But with great power comes great responsibility. Treat that data with respect. Cite it properly. Be sure you’re not accidentally ripping someone off. Run your work through a plagiarism checker, keep it clean, and rock on!






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