Understanding "where" is one of the most powerful insights we have to help us manage the world around us. And with such power comes significant responsibility to ensure that we use it responsibly and ethically. The Benchmark Initiative was created to increase awareness of the risks and develop the ethical principles and good practice for using location data. Benchmark responds to the rapid increase in number and uptake of location-enabled applications, and applies lessons about data ethics learned in relation to other data types. Through dialogue and entrepreneurial activity the program explores issues of transparency, privacy, location tracing, unintended consequences, anonymity and consent. Benchmark aims to define real-world and actionable good location data practice.

In response to the new global conditions we are all in, Benchmark is now focusing on supporting good data practice in the increasing number of pandemic related applications. We are convening a series of events to bring together leaders from government, NGO, academia and the private sector to help define good location data practice. The first event will focus on what has already been learned from tracking previous pandemics (Ebola, SARS, swine fever etc). Successes, limitations, learning. Following this we will broaden into understanding the common risks in using location data in a variety of situations. Finally we will move to a collaboration that develops the principles and then good location data practice.

Benchmark is not alone in this work and has joined forces with the team at EthicalGEO in the USA to begin drafting an International Charter of principles and guidelines for ethical and good practice in using Location Data. This has been titled the Locus Charter. Locus is the latin word for place. A position or coordinate is not truly powerful until it is combined with other place based information eg. people, flora, fauna, infrastructure, atmospheric, etc And so it is critical that we have a broadly agreed approach to how we handle the information about the places in the world that are of importance to us.

To develop the Locus Charter there will be a series of discussion panels and workshops coordinated by the teams at Benchmark and EthicalGEO over the coming month with location data and data ethics experts from across the globe. The goal being to draft an initial Charter document that will then be opened for public contributions before being finalised later this year.followed by an open public engagement. If you are interested in being more involved in shaping this important document please register your interest via the form below:

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Outline of the Locus Charter

The Locus Charter is an international set of principles and guidance for the ethical and good practice in using location data.


A world where location data is utilized for the betterment of the world and all species that live in it.

Who we are

An international collaboration of governments, organisations and individual practitioners seeking to ensure the ethical use of location data throughout the world.


The Charter is aimed at practitioners using location data and also policy and decision makers responsible for activities that create, collect, analyze and store location data.



  • Planning phase
  • Collection
  • Analysis
  • Visualisation
  • Storage
  • Disposal
  • Communication
  • Stewardship/Ownership

Good practice examples to include

  • Industry - Health, Marketing, Insurance, Planning, Development, Statistics, etc
  • Region - Asia, Americas, Middle East, Pacific, Europe

Related Charters & Guidance

Examples: ODI Data Ethics Canvas, OpenAI Charter, UK Data Ethics Framework

Interested in being involved or just want to staup to date?

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