cartography is a weapon
May 15, 2019 11:20 PM   Subscribe

"The goal of the MappingBack Network is to provide mapping capacity and support to members of Indigenous communities fighting extractive industries. Mapping has long been used as a tool for colonial dispossession; MappingBack seeks to reverse this by using mapping as a tool to fight back." Using maps as a weapon to resist extractive industries on Indigenous territories posted by the man of twists and turns (9 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
If I remember correctly there's coverage of a similar indigenous mapping effort, using drones, in this program about Indonesia from Singapore's Channel NewsAsia.
posted by XMLicious at 1:06 AM on May 16

Cartographes Sans Frontières?
posted by Telf at 2:33 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]

Thanks! I'm teaching a unit on Australian history for the first time (well for me anyway) and I'm filing this away for future reference.
posted by freethefeet at 3:09 AM on May 16

MSF is doing great work on mapping initiatives. They do Mapathons to create maps from existing aerial/satellite photography.

The link is for an initiative in Singapore, but they're doing them around the world. It's highly recommendable and anyone can join, there's no need to have previous cartography experience nor to be a computer expert.
posted by Tiet Peret at 3:48 AM on May 16

I love this, it's an explicit slap back against the "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes" technique of making people doubt themselves.

People live in the world, they know their world -- and recording/documenting what they know pushes back on others who would trample their rights. Hell yeah, map yourself.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:28 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


my post for tomorrow
posted by poffin boffin at 9:29 AM on May 16

I fully support this, especially as their network includes Chilean Mapuche.
posted by signal at 10:30 AM on May 16

A note about mapathons: they're great, they can happen anywhere for any reason with just a little bit of organization. And you don't need to be at a mapathon to contribute. OpenStreetMap, the free, openly editable mapping platform that is at the heart of all of this, can be contributed to from anywhere by anyone.

My recommendation, if this is something you are interested in, is to check out a tutorial (I like, but there are many options) and then head over to the Humanitarian OpenStreet Map Team tasking manager, pick one, and go to town. It's great fun, and especially good for people like me who need something to do with their hands when on, say, a conference call or something. It's also a good way to contribute to disaster relief when you aren't in a position to give money.

But also, you can map anywhere, and local information is crucial. I've participated in a few neighborhood mapathons where we go out and record local business information like hours, accessibility, etc.

I am a professional cartographer and I use OSM data all the time. I also have a ton of OSM stickers. If a mefite signs up, makes some contributions to the map, and sends me a message I will happily mail you some!
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:43 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]

I once saw a geological map of apartheid era South Africa. All the valuable minerals there are concentrated in the Bushveldt Complex - globally significant amount of gold, platinum and others are found there.
You could see on the map that the otherwise unexplainable little kinks and cut-outs in the borders of the so-called "homelands" (Bophuthatswana, Ciskei and so on) were calibrated to leave the BC entirely within South Africa itself.
You can use maps to hide a lot of crimes if you're clever enough.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 6:27 PM on May 17

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