This article highlights the potential challenges facing a number of different sectors in the modern information‐based society and discusses problems relating to the application of digital spatial information systems increasingly used for such diverse purposes as political decision making, commerce and education. The article outlines the rapid evolution of new cartographic data processing techniques and distribution of digital information which produces potential problems relating to the quality and integrity of the used information. The main concern is that low‐cost products of unknown quality standards may gain wide acceptance in everyday use due to the limited availability or high price of better quality geographic data. The main conclusion is that the policies for minimizing potential problems should be to support easy and low‐cost availability of public geographic data for all users, to require the usage of comprehensive metadata in all connections and to carry out quality‐oriented research in the field of digital map production and spatial data management.
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