P3DM: Mapping out the future of Indigenous Peoples in 3D
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CTA. 2004. P3DM: Mapping out the future of Indigenous Peoples in 3D. ICT Update Issue 17. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57665
Rino B. Bersalona and Kail M. Zingapan explain how indigenous communities in the Philippines are using GPS and relief models to reclaim their ancestral territories. Through an innovative process known as participatory 3D modelling (P3DM), they have mapped
A group of Talaandig tribesmen is gathered in a clearing on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. Some members of the group are perched on a boulder, huddled over a small, yellow device and are visibly worried about the bad weather. Finally, they sigh with relief when their chief declares, ´Alright, we have a GPS signal!´ The Talaandig people are part of what can be described as a new movement of indigenous community surveyors. Equipped with global positioning system (GPS) receivers, these surveyors have an ambitious goal - to delineate and reclaim their ancestral territories. Their GPS records are used to create accurate three-dimensional maps through an innovative process known as participatory 3D modelling (P3DM). Coordinated by the Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID) and sponsored by the European Union, P3DM initiatives are facilitating cooperation and effective decision making among indigenous communities and government planners in two important fields: land conflict resolution and natural resource planning. In just over five years, PAFID and its community partners have mapped over a million hectares of ancestral domains. Due to their technical accuracy and exhaustive detail, P3DM maps are now accepted by the government as proof of claims for legal recognition of ancestral land rights. Until recently, the bulk of indigenous lands had not been properly surveyed and had been classified as state owned. Planning officials had designated large areas for mining, logging and military installations, which led to evictions, violent confrontations and the mass dispossession of many local communities. For example, the Teduray tribe in the province of Sultan Kudarat had been evicted, and their members harassed by private and public land developers. By mapping their ancestral domains, they have been able to prove their occupation of the land since time immemorial. Now that the tribe has legal title to the land, the provocations and the violence have ceased. The P3DM models are also proving invaluable in natural resource planning. With increasing pressure on diminishing resources such as freshwater, forests and fish, making sustainable development plans is crucial to the survival of small tribes. Because the physical three-dimensional features of a P3DM model are immediately recognizable, all members - including elders and those who cannot read - are able to participate in resource planning. Such models have been used in resolving inter-tribal conflicts over resources, most notably water, and in pointing out problem areas and solutions to government planners. The mapping process The P3DM mapping process starts with a series of consultations during which key group members, such as elders and leaders, provide information about their territory and discuss their needs and obligations with regard to the land. The members then produce rough sketch maps of their domain, and identify its boundaries and important geographical features such as mountains and water bodies. The dimensions and coordinates of these features are verified by GPS ground surveys, and the sketch maps are refined. Next, the group creates a ´blank´ relief model, which starts out as a series of layers of cardboard. Single contour lines from topographic maps are traced onto the cardboard, and the pieces are cut out and pasted one on top of the other to build up a 3D model of the area. The members of the group bring the relief model to life using paint, yarn and push pins of various colours and sizes to indicate the details identified on the sketch maps, as well as natural resources, land cover, settlements and infrastructure. Other features, including administrative boundaries or protected areas, can be added to the model at a later stage. The meanings of the various map elements remain clear and consistent because all community members refer to a single, mutually agreed upon legend. The next step in the process involves taking high-resolution digital photographs of the 3D model that can be integrated into a geographical information system (GIS) so that the data are more widely accessible. Once the images have been stored in a computer, they may be corrected with additional GPS ground survey data and combined to produce 2D thematic maps (of land cover, natural resources, etc). These maps are validated by the communities before they are submitted to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for review. The 3D models and the 2D GIS maps are regularly updated to reflect any changes in land use. PAFID´s experiences demonstrate that an intelligent combination of participatory decisionmaking and modern technology can provide solutions to land conflicts and assist in natural resource planning. The secret of the success of the P3DM approach lies in its ability to engage both indigenous community members and the authorities in an ongoing political dialogue that is mutually beneficial. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Rino B. Bersalona is PAFID-Mindanao´s area coordinator, and mailto:email@example.com Kail M. Zingapan is a PAFID GPS/GIS trainer. For more information, visit http://www.pafid.org www.pafid.org.