Google is putting together a workshop together with the Indigenous Mapping Network:
On February 25th and 26th, 2010, Google and IMN will host a workshop on the Google campus for members and staff of indigenous groups who want to learn about Google geospatial and mobile technologies. This hands-on workshop will approach Google technologies with the special concerns of indigenous communities in mind, and will focus on the technical aspects of using Google Earth, Google Maps, Sketchup, Android mobile phones and Open Data Kit, among other technologies.
I’m pretty sure both parties are on it, but despite Google’s corporate motto of “Do No Evil” uploading sensitive, spatially-referenced cultural information to their servers seems like something that would need some thought. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see this as a pro-active direction Google is taking. Canadian First Nations are some of the most GIS-savvy anywhere in the world. One of their main networks seems to be the Aboriginal Mapping Network, who have an excellent-looking book coming out soon called Living Proof: The Essential Data-Collection Guide for Indigenous Use-and-Occupancy Map Surveys by Terry N. Tobias. Also see their handy link to data sources especially for BC.
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As it happens, I just found out that Google is sending me to this workshop. I’m also pretty interested about how to use this fantastic tool to serve up cultural data within and between First Nations communities (say offices all doing work on referrals), making easy-to-generate maps, and what the potential is for this kind of tool to link up to databases with one to many relationships, typcial of how much of this kind of TUS data is coded. Google campus! I’m stoked!
This sounds great — go play some frisbee, wear flipflops to the conference, say “dude” a lot, etc. But seriously, find out what their fundamental data protection and privacy issues are if you can — I’d be seriously concerned about uploading sensitive TUS stuff to any server, and yet that is going to be necessary I think for the kind of shared networking you envision to come to pass. Does google obey the Prime Directive? Once they have the data, it will replicate and there is no going back, even with the best privacy and use policies in the world. It would be cool to think about this regarding archaeological referrals, say, wherein the use of quasi-public networks could mean First Nations start to learn from each other about how to read and decode archaeology stuff, and respond to the chipping away at the archaeological record.