GDPR & Geomarketing: Some statements of lawyer Schmidt when geodata is considered as personal data and when it’s not

(Copyright Foto: Björn Schmidt)

When does geodata fall under the application of GDPR and when does it not? This is an important issue for the branch of Geomarketing.

The GDPR-Lawyer of infas 360, Björn Schmidt, answered this question in his article „Geodaten und die DSGVO“ published in the German Journal „Business Geomatics“ in July 2018.

Here you will find a short summary of the main points

  1. You have to take into account if the geodata describes a natural person or not (e.g. tracking data of a person vs. buildings)
  2. If the objects are non-personal you can still relate them to personal data, because of the georeference.
  3. As you can relate every geoobject to a (georeferenced) person, the non-personal geodata still stays non-personal.
  4. But if the geodata is part of a process that works with direct personal data such as a scoring or profiling of a natural person GDPR has (of course) to be applied.

Summary by Michael Herter, taken from the following German article

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It’s all about Neighborhood!

(Foto Copyright:

The main power of Spatial Data & Analytics is the so called „Basic principle of Neighborhood“. In the World of Spatial Data all objects like buildings, places, trees or even people are connected to each other. And mostly every object has its neighbor(s). That is the main difference to all other data concepts. It offers a lot more possibilities to explore the interrelation and perhaps correlation of all phenomenons that occur in space (and time).

What do you think makes geodata so powerful to use? What are the main advantages of spatial data?