The Indigenous Mapping Network (IMN) and Google will welcome map makers to Google’s Mountain View California campus, February 25-26, 2010 for a free geospatial and mobile technologies workshop entitled Indigenous Mapping Network/Google Tribal Geo Tech Workshop. Participants working with native communities will be trained in accessing, using and benefiting from Google’s free mapping technologies. Many indigenous communities are financially strapped and need low cost, relevant mapping approaches to address their planning, policy and advocacy needs. “They are mapping the cultural and natural aspects of their communities, which is tied to issues of sovereignty, cultural protection, and land use management,” said Rosemarie McKeon, IMN board member and event team member.
Google experts will train participants to use Google Earth, Google Maps, and Android phones running Open Data Kit. The workshop will address geospatial issues specific to indigenous communities: privacy and security of cultural and community data, collecting mobile data, and converting data from proprietary formats to open formats.
Mountain View is located in the ancestral homelands of the Ohlone, and Ann Marie Sayers, Tribal Chairperson, Indian Canyon Nation of the Ohlone People, will honor the event with a special opening blessing. Participants include approximately seventy-five indigenous mapping community members, tribal leaders, technical developers, and mapping specialists. The participants hail from the U.S.; British Columbia and Ontario, Canada; Peru; Ecuador and New Zealand.
In 2008, students at the University of California, Berkeley organized a student chapter of IMN. Since the chapter’s inception, they have hosted a series of speakers covering indigenous applications of mapping. The Indigenous Mapping Network – Google Tribal Geo Tech Workshop was first conceptualized by Mano Marks, a Google Geo Developer Advocate and Rosemarie McKeon, to be a short presentation at one of the chapter’s meetings last October. It has evolved into a major outreach event, supported by the Google Earth Outreach team, Google Geo Developers and Google.org. “Our Google Earth Outreach team first started working with indigenous tribes in the Brazilian Amazon in 2008 – the Amazon Surui tribe is now using Google Earth and Android phones to preserve their culture, protect their rainforest territory and create a sustainable economic future. We’re honored and excited now to collaborate with IMN in offering an enhanced version of this training to scores of tribes and First Nations peoples around the world,” said Rebecca Moore, Manager, Google Earth Outreach.
“This event has evolved and grown enormously over the course of a few months and it’s still not big enough to accommodate everyone that wants to participate,” said, Joshua Arnold, IMN Board member. The event Is full to capacity.
The call for participants went out in December and there was a large outpouring of applicants from all parts of the globe ranging from grassroots community folks to government agencies and university researchers. Interested individuals can look forward to the IMN2010 conference, “Restoring our Home Places” hosted by the Suquamish Tribe, taking place June 2-4 2010.
Conference information can be found at indigenousmapping.net /imnconference.html.