Information technology


COBRA Project: Future challenges, local solutions

Standing for Community Owned Best practice for sustainable Resource Adaptive management in the Guiana Shield, South America, the COBRA project brings together South American and European civil society organizations with extensive experience in enabling and disseminating grassroots solutions in the Guiana Shield region of Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. It is a multidisciplinary project focused on promoting community-owned solutions for the management of ecosystem services, and for response to emerging challenges related to climate change, biodiversity conservation and forest management, while at the same time maximizing social justice and ecological sustainability. Indigenous groups in South America are participating in the project, using a range of visual methods including participatory video and photography. Visit the project website …

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Indigenous Communities Deploy High-Tech Mapmaking to Staunch Global Land Grab
Red Orbit, 30 August 2013

Indigenous Peoples Vow to Map Customary Forests
Jakarta Globe, 27 August 2013

JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Following the recent ruling by Indonesia’s Constitutional Court, which acknowledged that indigenous communities – and not the state – have rights over some 40 million hectares of customary forests, the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), announced its decision to map out the country’s customary forests by 2020, in order to save them from the encroachment of palm oil companies and other development projects. The announcement was made to the Global Conference on Community Participatory Mapping on Indigenous Peoples’ Territories, held from 25-29 August 2013, at Samosir, North Sumatra, Indonesia. The conference was co-organized by by Tebtebba, PAFID, AMAN and the Rights and Resources Initiative. During the conference, indigenous groups from countries including Malaysia, Nepal, Panama, Mexico and Brazil explained how they have adopted affordable, high-tech mapping technology to retrace the history of their land ownership and catalog their natural resources. Their hope is that detailed maps can help them fight the destruction of vast tracks of forests, peatlands and waterways—brazen incursions by government and industry that not only deprive indigenous peoples of their lands but also greatly accelerate the global loss of biodiversity and accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Read the Red Orbit article … Read the Jakarta Globe article … Further information on the conference …

Community-based Inventorying of Intangible Cultural Heritage
24-31 August 2013 (Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan)

This training workshop is aimed at enhancing the national capacities in the field for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH), in particular ICH inventorying under the 2003 UNESCO Convention on intangible cultural heritage, including the practical technical skills in inventory-making. Experts from Kyrgyzstan will be trained in identifying, defining, inventorying and documenting the ICH. They are in charge of implementing concrete safeguarding activities and conducting training in the management and appropriate transmission of ICH, while undertaking and/or coordinating ICH-related scientific, technical, legal, economic and other studies. The purpose of this session is to raise awareness about the value and diversity of the ICH and ensure community participation and consent in all activities concerning their ICH. Participants will be from governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), communities, institutions and individual experts, with preference to local communities. Further information … Visit the UNESCO ICH website …

A Contemporary Guide to Cultural Mapping: An ASEAN-Australia PerspectiveIan Cook and Ken Taylor
ASEAN Secretariat and AusHeritage, April 2013 | ISBN: 978-602-7643-13

The cultural mapping process may focus on the past, the present or the future. Cultural mapping can be used to monitor change in material culture as well as intangible cultural heritage. A cultural map may be created as an end in itself or provide an input into other endeavours. Many methods and technologies are used to create cultural maps; some are simple and ephemeral such as drawing in the sand. Others use the latest technologies to locate cultural phenomenon spatially using geographic information systems. Whatever methods are used to map culture or cultural products, the map most often takes a physical form (a list, matrix, chart, diagram, design, website, sound recording, video, drawing, painting, textile, sculpture or model) where information is gathered, arranged and presented physically or virtually. In this context the authors use the term map as a mental model and mapping as mental model making as they explore the body of knowledge associated with this expanding field. Chapters address: culture, identity and distinctiveness; what is cultural mapping; cultural mapping – theory and applications; charters, protocols and declarations – where does cultural mapping fit; cultural mapping, communities, ethics and the law; case studies; cultural mapping methods and tools; tools for community participation and engagement; and global institutions, funding and potential partners. Download the guide [pdf] …

Traditional knowledge “can enable precision farming”
SciDev.Net, 28 May 2013

LONDON, UK: Crop yields could be improved by applying traditional knowledge to mirror precision techniques such as using the satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) to analyze farm land, says Margaret Oliver, a visiting research fellow at the University of Reading’s Soil Research Centre in the UK. In a paper in Significance, she says geostatistical analyses of data from sensors both on land and from satellites are “becoming increasingly standard for all kinds of crop production and will be of crucial importance in the near future as the world faces increasing issues of food security.” Such data can be used to build a map of soil biochemistry, which can help farmers improve crop yields and resistance to disease. The cost of technology, which can also include high-tech farming machinery, has so far kept precision farming methods mostly in developed nations, although emerging economies are taking it up. But Oliver says smallholder farmers can instead apply their traditional knowledge. “By working on the same area for years, they can map ­the soil like GPS would do, knowing which corners are more or less productive, which are drier or wetter,” she tells SciDev.Net. Read the article …

South Africa to Launch National Traditional Knowledge Recording System
IP Watch, 10 May 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: On 24 May, South Africa will be launching its National Recordal System aiming to catalogue its indigenous knowledge. The National Recordal System is an initiative of the South African Department of Science and Technology, with the ultimate goal of creating opportunities “for benefits to flow back to the communities.” The NRS includes the establishment of indigenous knowledge networks, provincial Indigenous Knowledge Systems Documentation Centers and an Information Communication Technology knowledge platform. It will be interactive, and benefit-sharing agreement forms will be accessible online. Read the article … Further information on the NRS …

New technology maps Inuit knowledge
Nunatsiaq online, 20 March 2013

OTTAWA, CANADA: About 25 kilometres southeast of Arctic Bay, on the northern shore of Adams Sound, there is a place called Qajuutinnguaq. It means “Hill shaped like a chisel.” You wouldn’t find it on most official maps because official maps of Nunavut contain huge swaths of unnamed land. And most of the place names that do exist were given by colonial explorers to honour foreign kings and dignitaries. But a geographer from Carleton University in Ottawa is trying to decolonize those maps by helping Inuit officially name the places around their community with traditional, Inuktitut names using free software that he invented. Read the article …

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