By Jorge Andrade Sánchez
In a modern context, the representation of geographic data is quite innovative; it is
currently recognized that the representation of a physical object in space and its
attributes can be expressed through various modalities. Geographical representation is
far from just being exemplified by points, lines, and polygons. Today it can be
represented with an audio story, a video, an old map, a moment captured with a camera,
among an infinity of other modalities.
Can you imagine a multimodal and multimedia map where you can see the spatial
location of mammal species in danger of extinction, hear its mating call, see it in
photography and know everything about its biology and ecology, with just one
click? All of that is possible now.
Awarded Dr. Taylor Fraser, of the Department of Cartography and Geomatics at
Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, is a pioneer of cyber mapping paradigm, which
is defined as the organization, representation, analysis, and communication of spatially
referenced information in a wide variety of topics and interests in an interactive,
dynamic, multimedia and multisensory format (Taylor, 2003).
The “Workshop for community involvement in the use of Nunaliit for environmental
applied research in Mexico” was held in Ensenada, on February 17 and 18, 2018.
This workshop was carried out at the Caracol Museum, where Kumiai and Pai-pai
indigenous communities, teachers from rural communities of San Quintín, UABC
researchers, and researchers related to the subject were invited, as well as members of
Terra Peninsular who were also invited to be co-organizers together with Centro Geo,
CIESAS, and the Department of Cartography and Geomatics of Carleton University.
The objective of this workshop was to carry out a training process in the theory and
practice of cyber mapping. Based on this training, attendees learned to conceptualize
solutions for complex problems that require the incorporation of diverse disciplines and
diverse taxonomies of expression, as well as to use the open-source software Nunaliit Atlas Framework. This software facilitates the incorporation of geographic data by
members of different social groups who have little knowledge in processing geographic
data (Taylor, 2009). This data is incorporated into a cybercartography atlas that
constitutes the representation tool of the incorporated data.
What is transcendental about the cyber mapping paradigm is the possibility of
incorporating various modes of expression, including local and empirical perspectives
as well as formal and scientific perspectives; the expression of all this is based on
multimedia elements. This enables a process of building solutions to complex problems
that include the incorporation of diverse perspectives, visions, and the
representativeness of the holders of said visions. This can certainly be classified as an
interdisciplinary, comprehensive, and inclusive process, which lesson constitutes the
most important result of the workshop. Based on this great lesson, workshop
participants are now able to generate geographic solutions to complex problems based
on an inter or transdisciplinary process.
In the context in which Terra Peninsular works, this is extremely important since the
conservation of natural spaces can only be achieved based on a moral or social contract
between the actors involved in a given area. In other words, the conservation and
sustainable development of a given area can be achieved only in consensus with all the
actors involved, and what better way than to see that all the actors form part of the
conception of solutions and their representation in various formats. We can create an
atlas representing scientific data of a marine mammal species, a narrative from a local fisherman about the species, its current distribution, risks, an old photo of the species,
and collectively make management and conservation decisions for the species based
on the geographic representation of diverse perspectives in various formats.
- Taylor, D. F. (2003). The concept of cybercartography. In Maps and the Internet (pp. 405-420).
- Taylor, D. F. (2009). Some new applications in the theory and practice of cybercartography: mapping with indigenous people in Canada’s North. In Proceedings of the 24th International Cartographic Conference.