Integrating Indigenous priorities into Geographic Information Systems: Case Studies from the Groote Archipelago

Speakers: Jonah Lafferty, Josh Mamarika, Danelle Bara (Anindilyakwa Land Council) and Dr Samuel Holt (Aerometrex)

Presentation Abstract:

Modern-day natural resource managers frequently rely upon Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to manage resources and identify opportunities for the economic activation of their assets. However, remote Indigenous community-controlled businesses and organisations are at a distinct disadvantage when attempting to access GIS technologies when compared to their non-remote and non-Indigenous counterparts. A key issue for Indigenous land managers is the difficulty in representing Indigenous cultural concerns and priorities in GIS tools which were developed for Western land management and planning.

This research, funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA), will provide a practical response to this pressing challenge by collaborating with Traditional Owners on priority mapping projects and address the barriers relating to representing Indigenous traditional and cultural knowledge in Western information management systems. This project will bring together a community-controlled organisation (Anindilyakwa Land Council), University (Australian National University), Australian Federal Government department (Geoscience Australia) and private industry spatial data provider (Aerometrex) to collaborate alongside Traditional Owners on mapping projects on Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory to allow for innovations designed to support Indigenous mapping methodologies and projects using technical spatial data tools.

The core objectives of this project include:

- Develop an understanding of how cultural layers of spatial data relating to community concerns and priorities can be appropriately included in Indigenous-owned GIS systems.

- Explore the implications of Indigenous Data Sovereignty on the collection and creation of Remote Sensing and GIS datasets in Australia.

- Outline best practices for how specialised spatial data tools such as LiDAR, photogrammetry and high-resolution imagery can be used to support community mapping priorities.

Key outcomes from this project will build upon the existing literature and trial new solutions with industry data providers, allowing communities to access the same tools to help protect the cultural values of Country, whilst simultaneously embarking upon economic development projects in their Indigenous estate.

This presentation summarises some of the key outcomes from the first of two sketch mapping workshops conducted with Traditional Owners on Groote Eylant as well as how these outcomes will inform the next stage of the project.

Recorded Presentation from Locate 2023

Speakers: Jonah Lafferty, Josh Mamarika, Danelle Bara (Anindilyakwa Land Council) and Dr Samuel Holt (Aerometrex)