PRESS RELEASE: Indigenous Mapping Network and Google to host Indigenous Mapping Workshop

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
BERKELEY, Feb, 23, 2010- The Indigenous Mapping Network (IMN) and
Google will welcome map makers to Google’s Mountain View California
campus, February 25-26, 2010 for a free geospatial and mobile
technologies workshop entitled Indigenous Mapping Network/Google Tribal
Geo Tech Workshop. Participants working with native communities will be
trained in accessing, using and benefiting from Google’s free mapping
technologies.  Many indigenous communities are financially strapped and
need low cost, relevant mapping approaches to address their planning,
policy and advocacy needs. “They are mapping the cultural and natural
aspects of their communities, which is tied to issues of sovereignty,
cultural protection, and land use management,” said Rosemarie McKeon,
IMN board member and event team member.

Google experts will train participants to use Google Earth, Google
Maps, and Android phones running Open Data Kit.  The workshop will
address geospatial issues specific to indigenous communities: privacy
and security of cultural and community data, collecting mobile data,
and converting data from proprietary formats to open formats.

Mountain View is located in the ancestral homelands of the Ohlone, and
Ann Marie Sayers, Tribal Chairperson, Indian Canyon Nation of the
Ohlone People, will honor the event with a special opening blessing.
Participants include approximately seventy-five indigenous mapping
community members, tribal leaders, technical developers, and mapping
specialists.  The participants hail from the U.S.; British Columbia and
Ontario, Canada; Peru; Ecuador and New Zealand.
 
In 2008, students at the University of California, Berkeley organized a
student chapter of IMN.  Since the chapter’s inception, they have
hosted a series of speakers covering indigenous applications of
mapping. The Indigenous Mapping Network - Google Tribal Geo Tech
Workshop was first conceptualized by Mano Marks, a Google Geo Developer
Advocate and Rosemarie McKeon, to be a short presentation at one of the
chapter’s meetings last October. It has evolved into a major outreach
event, supported by the Google Earth Outreach team, Google Geo
Developers and Google.org. “Our Google Earth Outreach team first
started working with indigenous tribes in the Brazilian Amazon in 2008
- the Amazon Surui tribe is now using Google Earth and Android phones
to preserve their culture, protect their rainforest territory and
create a sustainable economic future. We’re honored and excited now to
collaborate with IMN in offering an enhanced version of this training
to scores of tribes and First Nations peoples around the world,” said
Rebecca Moore, Manager, Google Earth Outreach.

“This event has evolved and grown enormously over the course of a few
months and it’s still not big enough to accommodate everyone that wants
to participate,” said, Joshua Arnold, IMN Board member. The event Is
full to capacity.

The call for participants went out in December and there was a large
outpouring of applicants from all parts of the globe ranging from
grassroots community folks to government agencies and university
researchers.  Interested individuals can look forward to the IMN2010
conference, “Restoring our Home Places” hosted by the Suquamish Tribe,
taking place June 2-4 2010.

Conference information can be found at indigenousmapping.net/imnconference.html
 
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The mission of Indigenous Mapping Network is to connect native
communities with the tools needed to protect, preserve, and enhance our
way of life within our aboriginal territories. This endeavor often
requires an amalgamation of traditional "mapping" practices and modern
mapping technologies.

Rosemarie McKeon
rose@indigenousmapping.net
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