Monday, April 23, 2007

Canada's New Government Provides Free Online Accessto Digital Mapping Data

OTTAWA - Experts and other users of digital topographic data will no longer have to pay to use digital versions of government maps and data. The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, today announced that as of April 1, 2007, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) began making its electronic topographic mapping data available to all users free of charge over the Internet. More information on this topic is found here.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Establishment of the GeoEye Foundation (potential source for acquiring satellite imagery for research)

GeoEye (provider of satellite imagery (ikonos, GeoEye-1..) announced on March 28th the establishment of the GeoEye Foundation. This foundation will provide IKONOS and eventually GeoEye-1 satellite imagery to select universities at no cost, to help foster the growth of a next generation of geospatial technology professionals. A university would submit a request for a grant of imagery, we will have an internal group of employees, the Foundation Employee Advisory Committee, that will evaluate such requests and make an award. We would then provide the imagery over precise areas of the earth at no cost to the requesting faculty, students or university.
The GeoEye Foundation has already begun providing satellite imagery to support students and faculty studying urban sprawl in Mexico, land-use planning for Jerusalem and a polar ice study in Antarctica to better understand the impact of climate change.

UNESCO’s programme on Mapping of Indigenous Cultural Resources

The UNESCO’s programme on Mapping of Indigenous Cultural Resources intends to foster the identity of indigenous communities and their participation in decisions concerning their development. UNESCO collaborates with different resource persons and networks from around the world to develop appropriate tools and methods. It supports pilot projects, facilitates information exchange and analysis and organizes training to reinforce cultural mapping capacity of decision makers and planners with responsibility in areas such as the transmission of indigenous knowledge systems, education for sustainable development, multicultural citizenship, safeguarding of intangible heritage and/or the conservation of biological diversity. The mapping of indigenous cultural resources carried out by indigenous communities is a way to help mainstream the principles of the UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001) and the related UNESCO Conventions: the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005), the Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage (2003) and the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1974).

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA)

Aimed at newcomers and experienced practitioners, Participatory Learning and Action is a leading informal journal on participatory learning and action approaches and methods, reaching over 20,000 readers in 121 countries. Since its first issue in 1988, it has provided a forum for those engaged in participatory work - community workers, activists and researchers - to share their experiences, conceptual reflections and methodological innovations with others, providing a genuine voice from the field.
Special issues of Participatory Learning and Action focus on a particular application of participation, for example, community-based conservation (PLA 55), mapping for change (PLA 54) and tools for influencing power and policy (PLA 53). A regular section which contains general articles on participation, tips for trainers and resources on participation is also included. PLA editors welcome contributions, particularly from practitioners in the South and can offer editorial support and advice. All material is reviewed by our international editorial board to ensure its relevance and topicality.
Participatory Learning and Action is published twice a year. It is available on subscription, both in hard copy and online. Most readers from the South can subscribe for free. The latest issues are also available free to subscribers online, or pay to view for non-subscribers. In addition, back issues can be downloaded for free.
All the material is copyright free and we encourage photocopying of articles for sharing and training, provided the source is acknowledged. For more information visit

Monday, April 02, 2007

Participatory GIS for Effective Land Management under Transitional Conditions

Two week PGIS course in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Rural and regional socio-economic spaces and their land resources are increasingly dynamic due to changes in space-economies under conditions of changing land and resource tenure. Sound sustainable land resource management is essential during the transition phases of common property under customary regimes, to cooperative property tenure and various mixes of privatised and state property regimes. These different regimes do and will co-exist and there is movement between them, so there needs to be effective methods for good land management and planning.

In addition the rural areas in Southern Africa are developing in a context of globalisation, political transformation, resource pressures, and growing concerns over environmental degradation and natural and man-induced disasters.
There are conflicts between local and regional actors, in civil society, government and commercial sectors that affect planning and management for sustainable land and resource development. This requires skills in facilitating participation and communication of information, which come together in participatory spatial planning and management (PSP).
Where issues involve spatial management, especially of communal space under transitional tenure regimes, the participatory use of scientific spatial information and local spatial knowledge plays an important role in ensuring the effective involvement of actors. Participatory mapping & Participatory-GIS, together with appropriate visualisation techniques, are appropriate techniques for understanding and dealing with spatial conflict issues in land management.

The course is intended for NFP alumni who work in institutions with an on-going involvement in land planning and management or in natural resources management, and in spatial information use and analysis, having preferably GIS competence in-house.

For more information click here