Collaborative Geomatics and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation: Triaging Requests for Planning Development Consultation

By Daniel D. McCarthy, Graham Whitelaw, Carolyn King, Clynt King, Leela Viswanathan, Don Cowan, Fred McGarry and Scott Anderson.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Collaborative geomatics systems are web-based tools that support a common reference map based on high resolution imagery. These tools allow communities to collect, store, and present dynamic geo-referenced information (i.e., oral, written, visual). By employing the Web Informatics Development Environment (WIDE) toolkit, these systems require less technical expertise to maintain, allow for prompt customizations, are relatively inexpensive and user-friendly. These collaborative information infrastructures incorporate concepts similar to participatory geographical information systems. This paper describes the early implementation of a “collaborative geomatics” system, which is a potential innovation in place-based information and knowledge sharing for fostering the capacity of First Nations communities. Collaborative geomatics may enhance the capacity of First Nations to develop “community-based constraint mapping” of Traditional Territories including the capture and use of traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) in a structured but culturally-sensitive manner. The tool will enable First Nations communities to manage and triage requests for consultation associated with development proposals within their Traditional Territories. A case study of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN), who are subject to numerous treaties and who have recently settled a specific land claim, is utilized to demonstrate the potential utility of a collaborative geomatics system to manage and triage the high-volume of consultation requests.

Keywords: Collaborative Geomatics, Canadian First Nations, Environmental Assessment and Land Use Planning

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp.1-15. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 712.288KB).

Dr. Daniel D. McCarthy

Assistant Professor, Department of Environment and Resource Studies , Social Innovation Generation, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Dr. McCarthy is a faculty member with Social Innovation Generation as well as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo. He has strong research interests and partnerships that relate to fostering the adaptive capacity for community-based, natural resource management, working closely with Mushkegowuk Cree First Nations in James Bay. Other research that explores stewardship, livelihoods, and learning is connected to the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve and the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Graham Whitelaw

Associate Professor in the School of Planning at Queen's University, Canada.

Carolyn King

Geomatics Environmental Technician, Lands, Research & Membership Department, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Hagersville, Ontario, Canada

Councillor with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Canada.

Clynt King

Former Chief and Geomatics Environmental Technician with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Canada.

Leela Viswanathan

Assistant Professor in the School of Planning, Queen's University, Canada.

Dr. Don Cowan

Distinguished Professor Emeritus, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Donald D. Cowan is the director of the Computer Systems Group at the University of Waterloo. He was the founding chairman of the Computer Science Department at the University of Waterloo, now the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. His software engineering interests focus on web-based systems, particularly in reducing the number of abstractions required to produce and validate them. Reducing the number of abstractions will lower the barriers for individuals and organizations to build and maintain large-scale, complex, web-based systems. Professor Cowan and his team have developed the Web Informatics Development Environment (WIDE), which includes advanced mapping engines first created in the early 90s. He has worked with various organizations in applying the WIDE tools and technologies to develop over 60 complex web-based systems in environment, public and population health, cultural heritage, social services, Aboriginal affairs, business, and tourism. He is the author or co-author of 240 refereed papers and 15 books in computer / communications, software engineering, education, environmental information systems, and mathematics. Among several honours, he has received the Brazilian National Order of Scientific Merit - Grand Cross, Brazil’s Highest Scientific Honour (2006). He is also a Distinguished Scientist of the Association for Computing Machinery (2010).

Fred McGarry

Executive Director at the Centre for Community Mapping (COMAP), Canada.

Scott Anderson

Works for the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo, Canada.


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