Apia (Samoa): Villagers in Samoa, a small island nation neighbouring New Zealand, have collaborated with the government to develop a 3D mapping tool that will be used in times of natural disaster and to formulate environmental initiatives.
The project “is an example of participatory 3D modeling (P3DM), a community-based mapping method which integrates local spatial knowledge with data on elevation of the land and depth of the sea,” according to an MNRE press release quoted in the Samoa Observer. The Samoan Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s (MNRE) foreign services had initiated the process by organizing a workshop that informed people about how such a tool could play a vital role in avoiding loss of life and property in case the region was hit by a natural disaster. MNRE brought together 80 local specialists to consult on local geography and environmental knowledge. The project aims at seeing how the villages “have been coping with seasonal weather patterns and other changes so far not recorded in human memory.” The idea of a project that uses crowd sourcing for 3D mapping to help conserve forests was picked up from similar projects carried out by three indigenous communities in Kenya (between 2006 and 2008). The goal was to “codify their traditional ecological knowledge (TEK)” and “create a visible manifestation of oral knowledge and a platform…for advocacy, [and assert] territorial rights based on historic usage and management of the resources.” The 3D maps not only served the purpose of forest conservation but also promoted literacy and encouraged community participation.
Source: Tech President