An Ethical Choice, What Would You Do?

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2020

Publication Title

The GIS Professional

Research Center

Northern Ohio Data and Information Service (NODIS)


Recent discussion on the URISA Open Forum about the GISP who was fired after allegedly refusing to change data on a COVID-19 dashboard web site in Florida provides an opportunity to discuss the URISA and GISCI Code of Ethics.

This background information is based on media reports and the statement of the GISP that are known to the author as of June 3, 2020. The reader is encouraged to search for more up-to-date and complete information. According to the Tampa Bay Times “…the Florida Department of Health data manager lost her role maintaining the state’s COVID-19 data when she objected to the removal of records.” She was also asked to take down the web site she had built and then was removed as its operator. She was subsequently fired. According to the Miami Herald and another news outlet, a field in the dashboard was removed showing when people first reported coronavirus symptoms or positive test results. The field was later returned to the dashboard’s publicly available database. The Department of Health Geographic Information Systems (GIS) manager was allegedly first asked to change county-level data in support of the governor’s plans for reopening the state.


May/June 2020