Mapping for good change
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CTA. 2005. Mapping for good change. Spore 120. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48036
External link to download this item: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore120.pdf
In Kasika conservancy, on the East Chobe floodplain in northeastern Namibia, local people are using modern spatial information technologies to produce detailed maps...
In Kasika conservancy, on the East Chobe floodplain in northeastern Namibia, local people are using modern spatial information technologies to produce detailed maps showing the location of wildlife areas and livelihood resources. In Kenya, the minority Ogiek community is using new mapping technologies as advocacy tools to communicate more efficiently and fight for their ancestral rights. In Cameroon, meanwhile, three villages of the Tinto clan in Southwest Province have compiled a map and forest management plan to win a forest management contract. In each case, the communities practised participatory geographic information systems (PGIS) to gather, analyse and compile spatial information and map their territory. PGIS practice marks a new and exciting development in the rapid evolution of participatory approaches to development. At a multi-donor-sponsored and CTA-led conference Mapping for Change, International conference on Participatory Spatial Information Management and Communication held in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2005, 156 participants from 45 countries shared lessons and discussed benefits and risks deriving from the good and bad practice, as well as some of the challenges that still lie ahead. PGIS practice combines a range of geo-spatial information management tools and methods such as sketch maps, participatory 3D models, community-based air photo and satellite imagery interpretation, global positioning system (GPS) and GIS-based mapping. But it differs from conventional mapping approaches in that it closely involves local stakeholders in drawing up visual representations of their land, forests and other resources and in using these representations to efficiently communicate with political and economic bodies. PGIS practice is geared towards community empowerment through measured, demand-driven, user-friendly and integrated applications of geo-spatial technologies, said CTA s Giacomo Rambaldi, one of the key organisers of the conference. If used properly, the conference heard, PGIS can make a dramatic difference to communities ability to assert their rights over natural resources and protect their traditional knowledge and wisdom from outside exploitation. As the growing number of initiatives embodying PGIS practice in the South attests, local people with minimal basic training can use a vast array of geographic information management tools and systems to record data and other spatial information about their land and resources. Although still relatively expensive, the cost of the technologies has fallen sharply and the hardware has become smaller, lighter and easier to use. Applications include planning and managing land use and resources, conserving wildlife, identifying tenure and rights, negotiating boundaries and resource uses, managing conflicts, safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, and participatory monitoring and evaluation. But effective participation is the key to good PGIS practice and for the process to work well there must be a good balance between local participation and outside facilitators skilled in applying PGIS. There is also a need to develop guidelines for good practice if PGIS is to meet the needs of different groups in the South. In tandem with the conference, CTA supported a PGIS course attended by 33 participants from Africa and Iran, organised and funded in collaboration with the International Institute for Geo-Information and Earth Observation (ITC), Ermis-Africa and the Christensen Fund. In 2005, CTA helped launch a PGIS project in Fiji and has joined with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), ITC and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) for the publication of a special issue of Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) to appear in March 2006. A training video on PGIS is also planned for 2006.
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