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Geographic Information Technology and local spatial knowledge

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I had the first idea for CyberTracker when I was ... ...on a hunt with traditional hunters in Botswana in the Kalahari, ... ... who hunt with bow and arrow. While hunting, their gather and enormous amount of very detailed ... ... information about animal behavior from animal tracks. I realized that if we could capture that information, ... ... it could be of enormous value for research and wildlife monitoring in general. The problem being that the best trackers can't read or write. So, that's where we developed the CyberTracker for hand-held computers and GPS, ... ... to enable non-literate expert trackers to capture the observations they make in the field. One of the fundamental problems with the technology is ... ... that technology itself very seductive in the sense ... ... that the technology can become more important than ... ... the traditional knowledge and the systems of communities. I think the important thing is to recognize the opportunities that technology can give us ... ... but not to lose sight of the social and the cultural-heritage issues that are really ... ... what we need to address. The technology gives us enormous opportunities ... ... to revitalize traditional knowledge systems that... ... would otherwise die out without the tools that we have. I think the important thing about this training kit is that up till now, ... ... if you look at the application of the technology like GIS, ... ... it has always been done by the specialists who come from outside, ... ... and communities have never really been empowered ... ... to map their own knowledge in the way that would empower themselves. I think one of the most encouraging examples that I've encountered is ... ... when Karl Bernardia, one of the master trackers in Karoo, ... ... said to me that the CyberTracker would enable him ... ... to record the data so that his children will one day ... ... be able to see what he is doing, and furthermore, ... ... that even his own son has now said that he would like to become a tracker. That is quite important, because the youth these days... ... see no more value in tracking. But the moment you use technology to add value to tracking, ... ... it suddenly becomes a modern tool that's ... ... becoming relevant for their own future.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 44 seconds
Year: 2010
Country: South Africa
Language: English
Producer: CTA
Director: Giacomo Rambaldi
Views: 221
Posted by: giacomo on Feb 25, 2010

Louis Liebenberg, founder and developer of CyberTracker technology shares his views on the importance of maintaining local knowledge at the forefront and to beware of the fact that technology may seduce users at the cost of dis-empowering local knowledge holders. Louis further highlights the role of the "Training Kit on Participatory Spatial Information Management and Communication" in empowering the grassroots.

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