Where is the provenance? Ethical replicability and reproducibility in GIScience and its critical applications
As replicability and reproducibility (R&R) crises develop within emerging convergent inquiry, ethical use of provenance information is central to the establishment and preservation of trust in critical applications of GIScience and geospatial technologies. Today large volumes of geospatial data are generated at high velocity from satellite sensors and unmanned aircraft systems, citizen sensors, geolocation-based data services, global navigation satellite systems, and so on. The extensive use of these data for applications such as disaster and humanitarian response raises the issue of R&R from competing perspectives of location privacy and geospatial data quality. Although geospatial data can be integrated and linked with contextual information to identify individuals’ movements, steps taken to ensure privacy can complicate the multiuser development of high-quality geospatial workflows. Provenance information as digital records of historical (retrospective) and potential future (prospective) geospatial processes is often overlooked, misunderstood, or inadequately addressed. We explore the relationship between provenance information, location privacy, and geospatial data quality in the context of R&R with a focus on disaster analytics. We argue that in the era of big data and deep learning, GIScientists and associated institutions bear greater responsibility both for geospatial workflow quality and for location privacy. Given vastly heterogenous computational landscapes, we provide practical recommendations for ethically driven provenance and R&R research and development within the GIScience community and beyond.