AMN information questions

What follows was actually a discussion that took place via email with an AMN member. As you will see, I thought it may interest some members so I am posting it here. It would be wonderful to get your feedback as well - please post your comments, suggestions and ideas, or send me an email.
Hi Virva,
Greg and I were chatting today, and had some questions for you regarding the AMN. We'd like to develop two portions of website: the discussion forums and a list of other organizations.
The discussion forums are not well used currently, but we believe they could be a fantastic resource for members. I was wondering if you had any suggestions or feedback about the forums specifically. Are there any areas that are missing? How do you think they could be improved? Do you think that they would be more successful if they were regionally focused? For example, do you seen a need for a European one?
Also, we'd like to maintain a database of international umbrella groups representing aboriginal mappers on the AMN. Do you know of any groups that should be in this database? If you were looking for such organizations on the AMN, where would you look on the website?
Thanks very much in advance for your advice and feedback. I hope you're doing well. Best, Eliana.


Re: AMN information questions

Hi Eliana,

I'm extremely sorry about my delayed answer. I have been moving house last week and got today an invitation for an interview for a GIS training program. The interview will be on Thursday (wish me luck!). So I haven't have a chance to check my emails. I'm very sorry about that. I'm going to look into to your questions profoundly in next weekend, when I should have more time. Getting people more active on discussion forums is a tricky question. Forums should contain something for everyone. I'm more or less active in one discussion forum (a forum for writers), and that forum is a huge one. It includes general topics and more specifics like different literature genres, writing techniques etc. So it might be worth to consider who are the users of AMN, what are their interests, geographic distribution of the users and others. Regional focus could be one good approach, but the forum should include also other topics like maybe technical or methodological discussion.

Although GIS are very much used by different organization, but so far I haven't been able to find any aboriginal mappers in this part of the world. Only I could find was that GIT Barents, which I included to your pages. Organizations dealing with aboriginal issues are more concentrated in language, human rights, and also lands issues. Concerning lands issues I have understanding that these organizations use materials available from administrators and governments; they don't necessarily produce those themselves. GIS here is not that widely spread as it is there in Canada or USA. I think it's still coming, but haven't breakthrough yet.But I'm not saying that there is none, only that I haven't been able to find those yet. But if I would be looking for such organizations, I would start from universities and national land survey administrations. Some organizations do have pages also in English but not always, especially Russian don't have.

I'll look into  these topics next weekend and get back to you after that. I'm very sorry that you had to wait my answer this long.

All the best, Virva

Re: AMN information questions

Hello Virva,
I hope the interview went well, and again, I'm sorry for my delayed response.
Yes, the forums are tricky. I'm going to have to put some thought into it...
That's very interesting that there aren't a lot of indigenous mappers in that area - I wonder how indigenous people get along with the government and institutions? There's not a great deal of trust between indigenous people and government here, and as for academic institutions we often hear cries of "we've been studied to death!"
In any case, it would be interesting to see some of the maps that they produce for the indigenous groups.
As I'm writing this email, I was thinking that this is just the kind of conversation that should occur in the forum - so i was thinking of copying and pasting it in there. Would you give me permission to do that?
Looking forward to your response. Hope you're well, Eliana.

Re: AMN information questions

Hello Eliana,

I have been on several other interviews after that and will have another next Thursday. The interviews have went generally well, but outcome has not always been desired, but I'm very confident about the coming interview :) No need to apologies about the delayed response, because I know how busy you must have been, and how busy I have been! I have to admit to my great shame that I haven't have time to log in to the AMN for weeks!

If I come up any ideas about the forum, I'll let you know. Activating people to take apart on discussions in a forum can be quite tough challenge. It depends very much about people who log in to forum - how eager they are to discuss about different topics and how important they find it. Of course there can be other factors too.

Of course you may copy and paste it to the forum. It's definitely a kind of discussion that would raise interest and should occur in the forum. There is some mistrust here too, but usually governments and institutions owns the most of the data and usually produce the data, so they have the copyright and ownership. The indigenous mappers are usually embedded, I mean that they are part of the government or institutions. Usually the main topics of discussion is language, education, cultural elements, and then the land. Hmmm... the institutions, that provides maps and produce them, here are under government but neutral (well should be more or less). I don't have that much experience how things really are in the point of view of indigenous mapping here in Scandinavia, so it would be nice to hear other opinions and experiences.

Anyway I need to give a thought and do some research about the topic. I have a feeling that things here are handled differently than there, and it would be interesting to do some comparison. Culture and cultural identity and preservation of those are very important among indigenous people here and you see discussions about those topics more than about land, although it is also very important. How things are there?

I take a chance to wish you a Very Happy Easter in case I don't hear from you before that :)