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Giving Voice to the Unspoken

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Giving Voice to the Unspoken Educational Video Production in Support of the Resource Book Participatory 3D Modelling: Guiding Principles and Applications In a world where natural resources continue to become scarcer and poorer it is increasingly recognised that the cooperation and active participation of all those concerned are necessary to ensure their sustainable management. Distribution, tenure and access are focal issues in the management of such resources. Having access to mere quantitative and qualitative data is not sufficient for their complete understanding and use in learning, negotiation and networking processes. Data on resource tenure, use and access have a lesser meaning if not visualised in terms of their distribution over a given territory. In the last decade there has been a strong drive towards integrating Geographic Information Systems better known as GIS into community-centred initiatives. This particularly to deal with the spatial information gathering and to allow stakeholders to make informed decisions on how best to manage their environment. Most natural resource dependent communities are marginalised and isolated and do not have the technical and financial capabilities needed to handle a GIS. As such, a method known as Participatory 3 Dimensional Modelling or P3DM has been conceived to bring GIS potentials closer to rural communities. This video production on Participatory 3D Modelling is intended to assist researchers, project implementers, NGOs and GIS practitioners in bringing the power of Geographic Information Technologies to the grassroots. Participatory 3D Modelling integrates conventional and spatial information like contour lines and people's knowledge to produce stand-alone, scaled and georeferenced relief models. These have proved to be user friendly and relatively accurate data storage and analysis devices and at the same time excellent communication media. This video shows the various steps involved in producing a 3D Model. A detailed discussion of the method can be found in the accompanying book Participatory 3D Modelling: Guiding Principles and Applications. So far, P3DM has been successfully used in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam in diverse situations and for different purposes, but all dealing with territorial and natural resource management issues, including: Supporting Traditional Knowledge Collaborative Research and Planning Protected Area Management Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation Conflict Resolution Indigenous Peoples' Rights Information and Education. The functionality of the method is based essentially on the fact that it facilitates discovery learning visualises knowledge improves communication and stimulates cohesion among community members. It is important to understand that a Participatory 3D Modelling exercise should be conceived only as a component of a broader, long-lasting intervention having a clearly defined goal. Never do a 3D Modelling exercise just for the sake of gathering data. You will generate a lot of expectations and disillusions among participants. The manufacture of the model itself is a relatively demanding exercise and we would like to show you how to do it. Hands-on! To show the construction of one of these models we had filmed an exercise done in November 2001 in Vietnam at the headquarters of the Pu Mat National Park The exercise involved more than 120 people. Students and teachers from local schools were responsible for the construction of the blank model. 80 representatives from ethnic minority groups living inside and around the park acted as key informants. Park staff and government officials joint the facilitators in their task. The actual construction is the combination of months of preparation, that included: Selecting the area Gathering information Doing a stakeholder analysis Conducting consultations Mobilising the community Procuring supplies, and looking after the logistics. Procurement is one of the critical aspects of 3D Modelling. You need items which will allow informants to reproduce real-world features at a given scale through clearly identifiable symbols. The relief model is made by overlaying, custom-cut layers of cartonboard. The thickness of the carton reproduces the contour interval at the desired scale. Differentiating among horizontal and vertical scales gives the opportunity to enhance the perception of slope. Push and map pins are used to represent point data like households, social infrastructures, landmarks and others. Paint is used for symbolising areas including land use and cover water bodies like lakes, marshes and the sea. Yarns are used to show linear data like roads, trails and boundaries. To work at scale, you need a series of measuring or scaling instruments. These include, a calliper a scale ruler, plumb line, compass, steal measuring tape cut-outs of numbers and letters and a quick reference guide. The base map has to be prepared with precision and adequate referencing. Two copies are needed. Other supplies are needed in sufficient quantities to keep all participants busy. The construction of blank models is best entrusted to students. They are briefed on the mechanics of construction before the actual work. They are then divided into 3 working groups that will trace, cut and paste the different layers. The exercise requires at least 3 facilitators skilled in cartography or GIS, environmental, land use and community work. The first activity consists of assembling the base map. The map is then glued on a tailored made table. It must be emphasised that map, table and carton sheets should have exactly the same size. To transfer the single contour lines from the base map to the carton board you need a large carbon paper. The best way is to assemble it on the spot making sure that its size matches the one of the map. Once completed, the carbon paper is placed between the base map and one carton board. This allows you to trace a selected contour line. The traced contour line is used as a guide for cutting out the single layers using cutters, short solid scissors or coping saws. The layers are then marked with the correspondig elevation and the North orientation. Particularly in mountain areas the higher the elevation the more segmented each layer will be. Depending on its complexity and segmentation you may resort to maintaining temporary bridges or to independently assembling selected portions of the model. A geographic referencing system is needed to avoid misplacing the various layers. Long nails are placed through the table to correspond with selected landmarks such as mountain peaks or hill tops. The second base map is perforated to match the nails placed on the based table. This allows to perfectly locate succeeding layers. Small paper cut-outs are glued on the edge of the carton layers to strengthen the model and smoothen the slopes. The use of water-based glue is recommended and it has to be diluted to allow easy spreading without soaking the carton board. Determining the correct dilution, and this depends on the quality of the glue available on the market, is one of the key factors affecting the quality of the model. Watery glue will cause the carton board to weaken and the single layers to partially collapse. This alters the desired vertical scale. It is important that layers are gently compressed on top of each other so that the resulting surface is flat. The first task has now been completed. The blank model is ready to accommodate the knowledge of key informants. To do this, coding means should first be prepared. It may be hard to find custom-made water-based colours at reasonable prices. Colour powder can be used instead. Sufficient quantities of each colour must be prepared to ensure consistency in coding. Colour-coded yarns should be used before applying paint to allow for a free discussion while depicting lines and areas. Yarns are flexible coding means able to accommodate endless adjustments. The legend allows users to decode and interpret data displayed on the model. Its preparation, particularly the listing and description of different terms, will determine the usefulness of the model and the final intellectual ownership of the output. Symbols and corresponding definitions should be easily understood and include features relevant to the informants. The second group of participants is composed of people who best know the territory generally elders, indigenous peoples farmers, fisher folk, forest dwellers and others. They are oriented in front of the blank model. The discussion includes a review of the objectives of the exercise of the process of the depicting mental maps as well as the reminder to refer to the legend when choosing colours and symbols. Many people have difficulties in reading maps. This is not the case with relief models where the vertical dimension offers visible and tangible hints to memory. Informants are first asked to identify and name familiar features such as watercourses roads, mountain peaks and others. This is a critical process that follows people's natural orientation and learning mechanisms. It also allows participants to get a progressively deeper grasp of their whereabouts in relation to the model. They are then asked to outline land use and land cover with colour-coded yarns. Paint is applied only after everyone agrees on the location and identification of various features. The physical nature of the model enhances discovery learning through verbal, visual and physical experiences. It stimulates feedback promotes debate and negotiation and generates shared information in visible and tangible formats. Pins of different colours and shapes are used to locate point data. A the 1:10.000 scale informants can easily point out single households and many other features. The exercise in Vietnam involved two groups of informants working one after the other. One villager was asked to introduce newcomers to the mechanics of the exercise and brief them on his experience. For the first time in his life he spoke in front of a large audience including government officials, park staff, researchers and foreigners. This has been an important communication and community empowerment aspect of the exercise. The two groups worked together for sometimes to allow cross-checking and validation of data. To extract the data from the model, a geo-referenced grid with 10 cm intervals is placed. Each 10 cm interval, corresponds to 100 meters on the ground. Each resulting square is identified by simple coordinates based on numbers and letters. Using the resulting grid as a reference the protected area boundary can be transferred from the second base map onto the model. This provides stakeholders with a clear and factual understanding of its perimeter. This facilitates a bottom-up approach to boundary delineation and zoning, activities that frequently tend to be slow and confrontational due to unequal access to information. A professional digital camera is then used to capture data from the model through a process similar to aerial photography. High resolution pictures are shot in a regular sequence from a 4-meter distance which, at a 1:10.000 scale, corresponds to 40.000 meter elevation. The images are transferred to a GIS through direct on-screen digitising. The legend is the key for decoding data shown on the model. A model without a legend is mute and meaningless. So, make sure that you store colours' samples on blank sheets of paper. You will later cut them to compose the final legend which will be laminated and embedded into the model. At the end of the exercise group pictures are taken and each participant is given an attendance certificate. Thereafter, the module is officially handed over to the community. These are important events particularly for villagers because they are given official recognition for their role as stakeholders and custodians of knowledge. Here it is. We all have learnt a lot. The landscape of Pu Mat will definitely be engraved in my memory for a long time. I never climbed these mountains but after having gone through this exercise as a trainee I guess all of us would know better on how to walk around the area. But what is definitely more important all those participating got a broader view of the environment they are living in. People from the villages got the chance to be actors on the scene and gain the rightful recognition of their traditional knowledge. In the coming months the model will be expanded to include the entire National Park and its buffer zones. More villagers will participate as part of a collaborative process involving park staff, researchers and government officials. Increased access to information will add transparency to the process and favour learning, communication, negotiation and decision making and hopefully lead to a more sustainable management of natural resources.

Video Details

Duration: 22 minutes and 35 seconds
Year: 2001
Country: Vietnam
Language: English
Producer: ASEAN Regional Center for Biodiversity Conservation (ARCBC)
Director: Giacomo Rambaldi
Views: 2,498
Posted by: giacomo on Feb 28, 2008

20-minute video production showing the hands-on aspects of Participatory 3D Modelling (P3DM).

The video supports all practical aspects of P3DM described in the resource book "Participatory 3-Dimensional Modelling: Guiding Principles and Applications" and documents in detail an exercise conducted within the Pu Mat National Park, a protected area in Vietnam.

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