Saturday, October 24, 2009

The UNESCO World Report on Cultural Diversity makes reference to P3DM done by Ogiek Peoples

The 420-page UNESCO World Report on Cultural Diversity has been launched by the Director-General, to the attention of the Permanent Delegates to the 35th session of the General Conference, on Tuesday 20 October 2009.

The use of participatory three-dimensional modelling (P3DM) by the Ogiek Peoples in Kenya is cited in section 2.4 as an example of local Empowerment (see page 52 of the report).

Specifically the report makes reference to the article published by Rambaldi et al. on Information Development in 2007: Through the eyes of hunters-gatherers: Participatory 3D modelling among the Ogiek indigenous peoples in Kenya.

It is worth noting that the power of participatory mapping coupled with Web 2.0 commnunication tools (ppgis list, blog, YouTube, etc) coupled with actions undertaken by concerned stakeholders, have raised the concerns faced by a minority group like the Ogiek at the forefront of public opinion.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dr. Robert Chambers elaborates on Participatory GIS (PGIS) practice

Dr. Robert Chambers from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK, reflects on the intersection of participatory development and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and on the resulting good and bad practices. In the interview Dr. Chambers calls on practitioners and development agencies to ensure that good practice is put in place to avoid the repetition of the misuse of PRA (i.e. Participatory Rural Appraisal) done in the 80's and 90's.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The future of environmental law mapping

Laurent Granier from ecocy recently wrote an essay on the future of environmental law mapping where he argues GIS and mapping tools are transforming our vision of legal data, “from vertical books to horizontal maps”. Drawing on examples of online mapping tools and representations, including participatory GIS, he shows a tendency for law and policy makers to aggregate administrative and legal layers in maps, towards more and more legally binding tools.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pister la Vie Sauvage dans l'Age de la Cybernétique

Le CTA a fait paraître dernièrement une vidéo éducative sur la technologie CyberTracker. La vidéo est un élément d’un paquet pédagogique, destiné à promouvoir les bonnes pratiques en matière de production, de gestion, d’analyse et de communication de l’information géospatiale. D’une durée de 8 minutes, la vidéo est disponible en anglais, français, espagnol et met l’accent sur de nombreux domaines dans lesquels cette technologie peut être utilisée à des fins de développement et de conservation de l’environnement.

CyberTracker est un logiciel en libre accès (open source) mis au point en Afrique du Sud par l’ONG CyberTracker Conservation avec, à l’origine, le soutien financier de la Commission Européenne. Il peut être installé sur tout appareil portable équipé d’un GPS – un Assistant numérique personnel (PDA) ou un Smartphone, par exemple – et permet de recueillir des données géoréférencées avec des annotations numériques détaillées. C’est un moyen extrêmement efficace de stocker de grandes quantités d’observations géocodées faites sur le terrain, à une vitesse et avec un niveau de précision et de détail inédits. CyberTracker permet aux utilisateurs de personnaliser l’interface pour mieux l’adapter à leurs besoins de collecte de données. Les écrans sont configurés de manière à pouvoir combiner du texte et des icônes, pour garantir ainsi une efficacité et une personnalisation optimales. L’interface icônes de l’application CyberTracker a été initialement conçue pour les pisteurs qui ne pouvaient ni lire ni écrire. Aujourd’hui, tous les utilisateurs – y compris scientifiques et écologistes – mettent à profit cette interface icônes parce qu’elle permet de saisir les données beaucoup plus rapidement.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Educational Video ob CyberTracker - Tracking in the Cyber Age

The CTA recently released an educational video on CyberTracker technology. The video has been produced in the context of the development of a training kit aimed at supporting the spread of good practice in generating, managing, analysing and communicating spatial information. This 8-min video on CyberTracker covers a number of uses to which geospatial information technology (GIT) can be put to work in the contexts of development and conservation.

CyberTracker is an open-source software developed in South Africa by the Cybertracker Conservation with financial support initially provided of by the European Commission. It can be installed on a GPS-enabled handheld device such as a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or a Smartphone to collect geo-referenced data with detailed digital notation. It is a highly efficient way to gather large quantities of geo-coded field observations at a speed and level of detail not possible before. CyberTracker allows users to customise the interface to meet data collection needs. Screen designs can combine text and icons to optimise efficiency and customisation. The CyberTracker icon interface was originally designed for trackers who could not read or write. Nowadays all users including scientists and conservationists benefit from the icon-based interface because it enables significantly faster data entry.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Participatory 3D Modelling: a Review ...

Giacomo Rambaldi makes a summary of his involvement in the improvement, development, promotion and dissemination of a participatory mapping method better known asl Participatory 3D Modelling (P3DM).

Participatory 3D Modelling (P3DM) is a community-based mapping method which integrates local spatial knowledge with data on elevation of the land and depth of the sea to produce stand-alone, scaled and geo-referenced relief models. Essentially based on local spatial knowledge, land use and cover, and other features are depicted by informants on the model by the use of pushpins (points), yarns (lines) and paints (polygons). On completion, a scaled and geo-referenced grid is applied to facilitate data extraction or importation. Data depicted on the model are extracted, digitised and plotted. On completion of the exercise the model remains with the community. More information on the method are available at

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Participatory 3D Model of the historical Wechecha mountain complex, Ethiopia

MELCA Mahiber, an Ethiopian NGO which is part of the African Biodiversity Network (ABN) facilitated the construction of a Participatory 3 Dimensional Model (P3DM) of the historical Wechecha mountain complex, which is found in Oromiya Regional State, adjacent to Wolmera and Sebeta Awas Woreda in Ethiopia.

Once completed the model has been inaugurated by a Representative of the President of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Over 500 people participated in the ceremony including members of the House of People Representative Councils, governmental officials and representatives from international organizations, CSO and local communities.

The 1:10.000 scale model covers an area of 24 km by 28 km. Over 40 students and representatives from youth groups constructed the blank model. Residents of the area, especially elders, were invited to populate the map with their spatial knowledge. In the process information about the mountain area has been shared across generations and between local communities and other stakeholders, opening the door for deeper discussions on the sustainable management and safeguarding of both local culture and environment. The local Governors were very supportive. They played an active role in the process together with the organisers.

The objective of the exercise was to document the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of resident communities, and add value and authority to it in order to increase the value external authorities would attach to it when it comes to collaborative natural resource management. A second objective of the exercise was to enhance the transfer of TEK the younger generations.

Now thet the model is completed it will as a reference environment where local people, government officials and other stakeholders can discuss management and rehabilitation plans.

Kalkidan is a 15-year old student at Holeta Primary School. She witnessed how this model created an opportunity for her and her friends to learn a lot from the local elders. At the inauguration she stated the following: “We youngsters didn’t think that elders know, but now, after participating in the construction of this Participatory 3 Dimensional Model, we are convinced that our elders have a deep knowledge about their environment” She recalled that the elders were the main actors on the scene.

At the ceremony Elders locaed their places of origin on the model and talked about them. They couldn’t hide their feeling that their area is becoming degraded and pleaded for concerned bodies to address this problem. The government representatives also endorsed the model and reiterated that it should not be just for looking at and admiring.”

Dr. Tewoldebithan G/Egziabher, Director of the Federal Environmental Protection Authority and Chairman of MELCA’s General Assembly delivered the model to Holeta Town and Wolmera Woreda Administrations on behalf of MELCA. He told to the Administrations to use the model as a reference for taking measures.

According to Million Belay the Director of MELCA related initiatives will follow: There will be an intensive planning process aiming at rehabilitating the Wechecha Mountain complex and we will ensure that the model will be central to it. Schools located at the foothills of the mountain will make use of the model in their curriculum like it is currently happening in Nessuit Kenya, where a similar model has been constructed in 2006. Teachers use it to facilitate pupils learning about their environment, geography and cultural landscapes. In addition, Mr. Belay stated that the 3D model will be used for scientific research, on the relationship between people and the environment, and to study the impacts of land degradation on the livelihood of local communities.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Ogiek Appeal to the Kenya Government Notice to vacate Mau Forest Complex and other water towers

Joseph K. Sang, representative from the Ogiek community in Nessuit Kenya, launches an appeal to the Government of Kenya following an eviction notice published on all mayor newspapers on August 25, 2009 and concerning the vacation of the Mau Forest Complex by all illegal occupants.

Francis Kakwetin Lesingo reports on the use of a 1:10,000 scale 3D model in Nessuit Kenya

Mr. Francis Kakwetin Lesingo - a representative from the Ogieks living in the Mau complex (Nakuru,Kenya) - reports back on the use of a 1:10,000 scale georeferenced physical 3d model manufactured by 26 ogiek clans in 2006 and 2007 in Nessuit Kenya. The initiative has benefitted from technical and financial assistance provided by CTA, Ermis Africa, the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) and the Gaia Foundation UK.