Geoprivacy initiative: Geoprivacy, confidentiality and data sharing in research & practice (kick-off 20 October 2021- 30/06/2022)

Geoprivacy initiative

Geoprivacy, confidentiality and data sharing in research & practice

KTH – MoU – SU

kick-off 20 October 2021- 30/06/2022

Motivation and aim

Research and practice have become increasingly reliant on geodata. This development creates demand for new privacy-preserving ways of data sharing and storage. The characteristics of georeferenced data present unique challenges for digital security and privacy.

The aim of Geoprivacy initiative is to create arenas of discussion about the obstacles and methods for data storage and sharing in order to support a growing geospatial interdisciplinary community of researchers; tight linked to society’s demands. The intention is to promote new collaborations and in the longer term, to build international teams dedicated to research reproducibility and data sharing in line with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Our interdisciplinary team is composed of many disciplines across the three universities (Geography, Criminology, Urban Planning, Economics, Ethics and Philosophy, Data Science and Engineering) in collaboration with practitioners. We draw on our experience and expertise in these areas to discuss challenges of geodata privacy and explore areas for future work on identifying sustainable practice. This seed funding is crucial to strengthen the existent collaborative links between KTH and Manchester University in particular.

Kick-off – 20 October 2021

The first meeting is devoted to brainstorming and mapping out the current state of issues of geoprivacy, confidentiality and data sharing and storage in Sweden, UK and elsewhere. Due to predictable spatial patterns of behaviour, geodata can be highly identifiable, even when care is taken to anonymize. Guidance under GDPR, data ethics guidance, and codes of conduct of data users provide solutions (e.g. safe data enclaves and protocols, passports) are not without their issues, and the unique challenges for geodata are a relatively unexplored territory.

Each workshop will lead to a short written output available in a joint website of this collaborative network, and informal outputs such as blogs, feeds in social media and the similar. When relevant, our students in Stockholm and in Manchester will take part in these activities.

Our future collaboration will be primarily based on a series on meetings (3-4 webinars) and a colloquium in Stockholm hosted by KTH and SU, late Spring 2022, starting 20th October 2021 and ending 30th June 2022. Extra activities including a training webinar for PhD students/practitioners and early career researchers about geodata privacy are also part of our collaborative agenda.

KTH – team coordinator


Prof. Vania Ceccato, vania.ceccato@abe.kth.se




MoU – team coordinator


Dr. Reka Solymosi, reka.solymosi@manchester.ac.uk



SU – team coordinator


Dr. Ulf Jansson, Ulf.Jansson@humangeo.su.se






Julian Tait, Open Data Manchester CIC


20 october 2021 / KICK-OFF event!

12:00 CET

Why geoprivacy matters? An international perspective



Prof. Kwan Mei-Po, Dpt. of Geography and Resource Management and Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China



Recent advances and widespread use of a wide range of geospatial technologies (e.g., GPS-equipped mobile phones and sensors) in people’s daily life have ushered in the era of geospatial big data. With the help of these location-aware technologies, enormous amounts of personal location data can be collected without the notice of data contributors. However, because of the precise locations they contain, these data have considerable potential for disclosing people’s identity through a process known as spatial reverse engineering. Personal privacy is thus a significant concern in the era of geospatial big data. Data contributors are at the risk of being identified and having their personal privacy violated if their data are not handled properly. In this presentation, I will discuss why geoprivacy matters and how geoprivacy issues may be addressed based on my work on geoprivacy protection (e.g.. geomasking methods and the geospatial virtual data enclave [GVDE] that seek to enable the sharing of geospatial data while protecting individual geoprivacy and data confidentiality). The opportunities and challenges of data sharing from pubic organizations to academia will be discussed. Drawing upon my study on COVID-19 control measures in 3 countries, I will highlights the factors that affect people’s geoprivacy concerns for and acceptance of these measures and what COVID-19 control measures are likely to be effective based on people’s acceptance of these measures.