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  Living Cybercartographic Atlas of Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledge
Added by Sebastien Caquard, last edited by Nate Engler on Sep 27, 2012  (view change)


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Living Cybercartographic Atlas of Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledge (Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region)

Dr. Taylor accepting a copy of "Learning from a Kindergarten Drop Out" from the late Grandfather William Commanda (seated) at the spring 2008 launch of the first version of the Atlas

The pilot Cybercartographic Atlas of Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledge seeks to develop a 'living' online atlas of great lakes indigenous perspectives and knowledge using the technology and expertise developed at the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre (GCRC) to design cybercartographic atlases. This atlas will enhance the capability to recover the systemic nature of traditional indigenous knowledge by electronically interrelating different forms of expressive culture (language, oral traditions, items of material and visual culture, historical documentation). This atlas is developed in collaboration with members from different Indigenous communities and with the Great Lakes Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Culture (GRASAC) at Carleton University. This project is funded by the Inukshuk Wireless.

Atlas Requirements - Avertiseement

The pilot Cybercartographic Atlas of Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledge software is experimental. To view it you require a high speed internet connection and a recent version of SAFARI, FIREFOX or Google's CHROME. The Atlas is based on the Nunaliit Framework. Due to the advanced, W3C (XHTML + SVG) standards compliant nature of the technology powering the atlas, IT DOES NOT WORK PROPERLY WITH INTERNET EXPLORER.

L'Atlas du risque de l'itinérance expérimental. Il utilise de nombreuses données et son utilisation nécessite une TRÈS BONNE CONNEXION INTERNET ainsi qu'une version récente de SAFARI, FIREFOX ou CHROME de Google. Il utilise le logiciel libre Nunaliit. Cette technologie emploie les normes W3C (XHTML + SVG) qui ne sont PAS COMPATIBLES AVEC INTERNET EXPLORER.

This project has two major goals:

  • (1) Create a 'living' atlas that captures the richness and uniqueness of indigenous knowledge. This atlas will serve as a repository for some of this gathered material. It will also enable community contribution. As the tools do not require advanced technical skill to be used, it is particularly well suited to the needs of the public, including indigenous communities, and students. It allows community members to input information in their own language through voice input, story telling, video, photographs, documents and other data.
  • (2) Translate this unique knowledge into highly interactive multimedia stories for educational purposes. The transmission of this knowledge is often difficult within the communities, as young people do not fully appreciate the value of this knowledge in their current environment. New technologies are seen as ways to improve the transmission of knowledge across generations in indigenous communities by engaging young people in new ways.

To reach these goals we are currently developing three sub-sections in the atlas: treaties, arts and culture, and environment (Note: as the atlas is under development)

The Great Lakes Treaties section aims to convey the narrative of the treaty history from the perspectives of Great Lakes First Nations people. This section will focus on historical documents as well as people's memories and current knowledge of the treaty-making and other legislative processes and the stories that they have been told about these processes.

The Art & Culture section focuses on the artifacts and photographs amassed by the ethnographer Frederick Waugh, during the 1910s. The research for this section will explore questions surrounding the narratives of the people and objects in the images and how they might relate to the contemporary communities. Co-investigator Jeff Thomas will be conducting interviews about Waugh's collection and work.

The Environment section will focus on the changes affecting the environment and way of live for indigenous peoples in both the long term (through an overview of pressures brought about by colonization) as well as current issues (through a wiki-map of areas of concern).



  • D. R. Fraser Taylor (Appliquant), Professor Emeritus at Carleton University and Director of the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre.
  • Prof. Ruth Phillips (collaborator), Canada Research Chair in Modern Culture and Professor of Art History at Carleton University.
  • Amos Hayes (collaborator), Technical Manager of the GCRC and project coordinator.
  • Dr. Sébastien Caquard (collaborator), Research Associate at GCRC and Invited Researcher at Université de Montréal.
  • Jeff Thomas (collaborator), Artist and Curator.
  • Prof. Heidi Bohaker (collaborator), Assistant Professor in the Department of History, University of Toronto.
  • Jean-Pierre Fiset president and founder of Class One Technologies Inc.
  • Stephanie Pyne (Research Assistant), PhD candidate in geography at Carleton University
  • Heather Igloliorte (Research Assistant), PhD candidate in Art History at Carleton University
  • Krystina Mierins (Research Assistant), graduate student in Art History at Carleton University
  • Daniel Gibson (Research Assistant), graduate student in Geography at Carleton University


This project is funded by the Inukshuk Wireless.


Publications & Presentations

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Caquard S., Pyne S., Igloliorte H., Mierins K., Hayes A., and Taylor D.R.F. (2009), A 'Living' Atlas for Geospatial Storytelling: The Cybercartographic Atlas of Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledge of the Great Lakes Region, Cartographica, Vol. 44, Issue 2, pp.83-100.


Living Indigenous Knowledge - Publications (Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre)

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