Producing an Indigenous Knowledge Web GIS for Arctic Alaska Communities: Challenges, Successes, and Lessons Learned

Transactions in GISTransactions in GIS, Volume 16, Issue 1, February 2012

Wendy R. Eisner, Jessica Jelacic, Chris J. Cuomo, Changjoo Kim, Kenneth M. Hinkel and Dorin Del Alba

“A traditional knowledge “Iñupiaq Web GIS”, based on a five-year study and containing observations and environmental knowledge of Iñupiat communities indigenous to Arctic Alaska, was incorporated into a Web-based platform. The website, “Arctic Cultural Cartography,” was created to be an open portal through which the password-protected “Iñupiaq Web GIS” could be accessed. We discuss the process of developing the web GIS including the incorporation of user-friendly features such as links to interactive maps, video clips of interviews, discussion boards, and the integration of popular web interfaces such as Facebook.

Layout of Iñupiaq Web GIS

Layout of “Iñupiaq Web GIS”

“We also discuss short- and long-term goals for the further development of the GIS, its potential as a sustainable, participatory online database for sharing pertinent ecological knowledge, and challenges in achieving optimal community involvement given constraints imposed by remote locations with limited bandwidth.”