Monday, June 24, 2024

Keynote: The Power of Participatory GIS in the Management of America's Public Lands – Jordan Smith

Participatory GIS has had an immeasurable impact on how we think about, explore, and manage public lands in America. The presentation shares stories of how volunteer cartographers, who were in many cases literal pioneers, shaped our understanding of the vast expanse that was the American West in the 1800s. The presentation also charts the growth of amateur map makers throughout the 20th century, highlighting the many ways they have shaped what we know about, and how we manage, public lands within the country. The presentation culminates with a look forward to how modern-day GIS enthusiasts and scientists are creating and leveraging free, and public geospatial databases, to chart a new path forward for public lands policy and management.

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Intervista a Giacomo Rambaldi: La cartografia partecipativa

 L'Università degli Studi di Padova ha intervistato Giacomo Rambaldi nell'ambito del suo programma master sulla GIScience e le nuove tecnologie dell'informazione geografica per la sostenibilità e la cittadinanza inclusiva. Giacomo parla della sua esperienza nel praticare la cartografia partecipativa in paesi in via di sviluppo.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Manual de mapeo participativo con proyecciones aumentadas en 3D: Una metodología para innovar la creación de mapas con comunidades

El presente manual describe los pasos y recursos necesarios para realizar mapeos participativos en comunidades usando Proyecciones Aumentadas 3D (PA3D). 

En este manual, estudiantes, profesores, facilitadores y público en general encontrarán información teórica y práctica para familiarizarse y/o profundizar en sus conocimientos sobre mapeo participativo implementando las PA3D. Si bien la organización de contenidos es secuenciada, el lector tiene la posibilidad de explorarlos de acuerdo con sus intereses, necesidades y habilidades. 

Además, en los casos de estudio, se ilustra el uso de esta herramienta en comunidades, mostrando sus ventajas en términos de la participación, de la generación de nuevo conocimiento y de los retos para su implementación.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

‘We are our land’— Ogiek of Mount Elgon, Kenya: securing community tenure as the key enabling condition for sustaining community lands

Published in Oryx – the international journal of conservation – this open access article also highlights how this community control is under constant threat until and unless national law and practice recognizes the collective tenure rights of such communities.

"We outline how securing the community tenure rights of forest peoples can create a rapid, rights-based route to the effective and sustainable conservation of their forests. We draw on the different skillsets and experiences of the authors (long-term fieldwork, mapping and monitoring, and a lifetime of experience) to identify the conditions that enable the Ogiek of Chepkitale, Mount Elgon, Kenya, to sustain and be sustained by their lands. 

We also identify the conditions that drive the disruption of this sustainable relationship through an appropriation of Ogiek resources by external interests that threaten to degrade, alienate and destroy their ecosystem. It is increasingly recognized that securing sustainable conservation outcomes can be best achieved through the deep knowledge, connection and commitment that ancestral communities have regarding their lands. 

Evidence from Mount Elgon and more broadly shows that Indigenous Peoples are better guardians of their forests than international or state protection agencies. This challenges the idea that evicting forest peoples is the best way to protect forests. Other studies, including those conducted by the Kenyan governmental Taskforce on Illegal Logging, highlight the way Kenyan state agencies such as the Kenya Forest Service have been responsible for the severe depletion of Indigenous forests. 

We examine how de facto collective community control can enable decisions to be made in line with taking care of community lands over the long term, but also highlight how this ability is under constant threat until and unless national law and practice recognizes the collective tenure rights of such communities."

Friday, May 19, 2023


Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Evaluating Participatory Mapping Software

Evaluating Participatory Mapping provides a framework for evaluating geospatial software for participatory mapping. The evaluation is based on ten key indicators: ethics, cost, technical level, inclusiveness, data accuracy, data privacy, analytical capacity, visualization capacity, openness, and accessibility (i.e., mobile friendly or offline capabilities). 

Each application is evaluated by a user and cross analyzed with specific case studies of the software’s real-world application. This framework does not discriminate against assessing volunteered geographic information (VGI) applications, as a form of participatory mapping, in circumstances that its application is spearheaded by underrepresented groups with the intent to empower and spark political or behavioral change within formal and informal institutions. 

Each chapter follows a strict template to ensure that the information within the volume can be updated periodically to match the ever-changing technological environment. 

The book covers ten different mapping applications with the goal of creating a comparative evaluation framework that can be easily interpreted by convening institutions and novice users. 

This will also help identify gaps in software for participatory mapping which will help to inform application development in the future and updates to current geospatial software.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Saamaka People in Suriname suffer from illegal logging within their land

Stand with the Saamakans from Federico Rambaldi on Vimeo.

The Saamaka tribe is an Afro-descendant community that has inhabited the Suriname river watershed for over 300 years. They have a deep spiritual and cultural connection with the land and have preserved it through their customary laws and traditions.

However, over the past 30 years, Saamaka communities have struggled to defend their land against intrusive logging and gold mining activities. In the 1990s, the Government of Suriname granted logging concessions to multinationals in their territory without consulting them. For almost a decade, the forest was exploited, causing the destruction of agriculture fields and pollution of drinking water sources.

In the year 2000, the Saamaka decided to stand up and defend their territory against these threats and fights for the legal recognition of their land rights. They organized themselves into the Association of Saamaka Authorities and filed a petition to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The petition asked for support to stop human and land rights violations in their territory. This led in November 2007, to the issuance of a binding judgement by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in favor of the Saamaka people, known as ‘Saamaka judgement’. It required the State of Suriname to legally recognize their land rights and stop any logging and infrastructure development inside the Saamaka territory and fully apply Free Prior Informed Consent procedures.

However, 15 years have passed since the ruling of the court, and the Government of Suriname still does not comply with the Saamaka judgment. On the contrary, their land rights are still not legally recognized, and logging concessions continue being granted without Free Prior Informed Consent.

Moreover, the issuance of community forest concessions is another violation of Saamaka rights. These areas, granted to individuals from the communities, are presented by the government as a way to legitimate Saamaka people's rights to the forest. However, in practice, these forest concessions delegitimize and violate Saamaka communal systems of property, creating internal conflicts, elite capture, and internal corruption.

Since one year ago, Saamaka communities have been struggling again to protect their land against a new destructive intrusion. A logging company has gained access to their concession on the east side of the Saamaka territory. Despite opposition from the Association of Saamaka Authorities, the logging company, with the support of few Saamaka individuals, who disregard the community’s stand, has built a pontoon to mobilize heavy machinery across the river and has begun road work without obtaining the Saamaka’s Free Prior Informed Consent.  As a result of this access, thousands of valuable logs are exploited illegally. This road poses now a significant threat to the livelihoods and sustainable use of forest resources maintained by the Saamaka. More importantly, the forest itself has customary and spiritual value for them. The road would facilitate access for illegal gold miners and more loggers, causing widespread habitat destruction.

With human and recurrent land rights’ violations, the Saamaka people are taking fresh action to advocate for the legal recognition of their ancestral land rights and demand that the Government of Suriname fully complies with the ‘Saamaka judgment’. 

As stewards of more than one million hectares of tropical rainforest, the Saamaka people ask the international community to support their efforts to protect their land.