Do web mapping services such as Google Maps and Yahoo maps have a place in traditional use mapping?


I am an International graduate student currently enrolled at the University of New Brunswick. I have taken interest in the topic of traditional use mapping and this area has formed part of my general research. In looking at mapping, GIS has played a important part over the last several years in addressing issues of development, litigation, policy and preservation. The popularity of online mapping services such as Google and Yahoo Maps has flourished in recent years. Do you think mapping services such as Google Maps and Yahoo maps have a place in traditional use mapping? I know that an important strength of GIS is the analysis component. Web mapping services in general are very limited where analysis is concerned.

Is there a place for API web mapping tools, if only for the sake of education or stimulating interest in traditional knowledge matters?

On a somewhat related note:

I have come across a few interesting projects on the Geoconnections website. On is titled:

"Mapping a brighter future: Building an Anishinabek Nation geospatial application for inclusive traditional knowledge and resource management"

An online information portal is proposed, that will "contain a web-enabled mapping application and data library using the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure."

I invite your feedback. thanks

--Stephen, UNB 


A new and improved Yahoo!

A new and improved Yahoo! Local Maps has been recently made available. It offers maps with significantly more interactivity for broadband users. It is written using AJAX, leveraging Rich Internet Application techniques. Some features:

Draggable maps: The current map view can be manipulated by dragging it with the mouse or tapping the arrow keys. Zoom level can be controlled via the mouse scroll wheel, "Page Up"/"Page Down" keys, or the map's zoom bar.
Multi-point driving directions: Multiple addresses can be entered and manually reordered for complex driving directions.
Find On The Map: A local search by business name or category can be typed into the "Find On The Map" box to locate it in the current map view. A list of clickable point of interest categories is also available. The results can be further refined by user rating, or related category.
Widgets: A number of widgets over the map include a navigator widget, map type (map, satellite & hybrid) controller and a zoom level control.
Satellite Imagery: Labelled (hybrid) and unlabelled satellite imagery is available worldwide.
Overview map: Collapsible overview map provides context, with draggable grey area controlling the main map view.
International Coverage: Outside the US and Canada, Yahoo! Maps Beta can recognize city, province, and country names, travel, and provide a small-scale map or satellite views.
Right click to set waypoint: an origin, destination, or midpoint can be set by right-clicking on the desired location on the map.
Draggable markers: Any marker can be dragged to the 'Get Map' text entry area to add that location to a route.
Live traffic, address book, and send to phone features are also available.


I agree that Google Maps and Earth have an important role to play in educating traditional users about mapping concepts. However, I am wary of "mashups" because to display data, you must send your data to Google servers. As most traditional data is highly sensitive, I am not sure if sending it to Google servers is the best idea, as you reliquish control of the data. I wonder if you would give Google a non-exclusive license to display such data (under their End User License Agreement)? Perhaps someone who's actually read the EULA can comment!

You may be interested to know that the AMN will be launching a mapping application soon (within the next few months). This application was developed to help First Nations with Crown Land Referrals response, but will also replace our static UserMap with something really really cool! Stay tuned...

Successful use of Google Maps

Hi Stephen,
I have found Google Earth and Maps to be a great tool in introducing Traditional owners to GIS concepts, and for them to start using GIS to find places of special interest to them.
The wealth of information on Google Earth and Maps allows immediate practical use of GIS, before any data has even been generated.
All the best with your study.

Google maps

I think it's a good way to get points and polygons out, but I'd be wary of including any sensitive points, or sensitive data associated with those points.  It would be a good way to indicate where traditional use may be directly affected, however.

It's also the easiest way for people without GIS training to be able to display geographical data.