Mapping an online future

October 22, 2018

Caring for country now involves drones, GPS mapping and online mapping portals.

Indigenous groups in the Wet Tropics are going digital to record their land, sites of cultural significance and environmental projects ranging from tree plantings to traditional burns.

And the project is bringing together the older and younger generations.

Traditional owner Rona Hart said the Djiru people in Mission Beach were working with Terrain NRM to create an online resource that could be used both on country and in the office.

“This is a mapping portal with layers of information about our mob, tenures, partnerships and our projects,’’ she said.  “It’ll be a resource we use to assess projects and plan for new ones.”

Terrain NRM is custom-building mapping portals for community groups, including indigenous groups, and holding workshops on ongoing data management.  The not-for-profit group has worked with Djiru people at Mission Beach, Bulmba Rangers from Kuranda, Gulngay people at Tully and Gunggandji people from Yarrabah over the past 12 months.

Ms Hart said the project was bringing people together.

“We’ll be using GPS and drones to map sites in the next stage and we’re hoping this is the kind of project that will appeal to the next generation and get more of us involved in the management of traditional land and sea country,’’ she said.

The Djiru people’s most recent projects have been on creek-side land at Wongaling Beach where Singapore Daisy was removed and native trees planted, and near the Mission Beach State School where a wetland was restored.

Terrain NRM’s Bronwyn Robertson said her organisation would be working with other groups in coming months to help involve more people in cultural and environmental land management throughout the Wet Tropics.

To access free online mapping tools, visit the Wet Tropics Plan for People and Country website.