Greatest Living Space Symposium April 2013


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Open Source Software for online mapping. A presentation by the MAIN Trust describing and demonstrating the use of community data in online maps

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  • This project to provide online GIS for community groups was developed by the trustees of MAIN Trust working with Taranaki community groups. 50% of the funding came from DIA, under the Community Partnership Fund, and the Digital Strategy, in 2007.
  • A quotation from Thomas Meredith, founder of Public Participatory GIS, 1998, in ‘Empowerment, Marginalization, and Public Participation in Community-Based Biodiversity Conservation: Mexican and Canadian case studies of spatial information management’: “Community groups have access to many forms of data and information that are qualities of the community itself and are therefore not available from any source other than from the community. Traditional ecological knowledge, local spirituality, aesthetic and amenity values are relevant examples” This photo is of George Fuller, a former curator of Pukekura Park New Plymouth. He was an inspiration for our project as he had cupboards full of records, letters, slides and typed documents. We needed to digitise these and relate the information spatially, as there were references to structures and plants in the Park. Without digitalisation and keeping abreast of curatorial methods, there is a real danger of generational amnesia as community histories are lost. The changeover in council and government staff who do not leave their knowledge in an accessible format is also a problem. In 2007 the cost of providing this community data online using the only available ESRI Arc products was prohibitive, so we had to develop our own system using Open Source Software. We have paid particular attention to digital standards and compatibility as we wish community data to be accessible and useful. Community groups are supportive when provided with opportunities such as using OSS, as they are often open to experimentation and can act in a nimble way without red tape to impede them.
  • All of these records have information about places which can be spatially related using a GIS. Examples are - field notes about penguins sighted on Bell Block beach, typewritten pages which have been digitised, word documents which can be tabulated, spreadsheets and databases, images (a child is GPSing a penguin nest box, and penguin footprints at Richmond Towers beach), sound files and videos of events.
  • The Trust works with Bright Sparks (an electronics education organisation for schools) to use dataloggers in penguin nest boxes, and live feed video cameras in penguin burrows. These penguin chicks are about to fledge. Visitors to the Port in New Plymouth can see the live video feed when the nests are occupied. We have also used surveys and community opinion to indicate how the public views events or proposals related to a geographic location.
  • This diagram shows how the various digital records (resources) may be stored anywhere in the world, then accessed and related through our dedicated server to provide an interactive map to viewers. Responses and opinions may be reflected or assessed, or more data added by contributors. The map showing is a system we have set up using information from the Puke Ariki Library Museum in New Plymouth.
  • The publicly available maps may be found on Those organisations with live GIS maps will have a link through their ‘View Map’ tab. Some of the demonstrations of tools are not open to public view.
  • MAIN Trust NZ is a national charitable Trust. This demonstration showed work from TERRAIN, the Taranaki group.
  • Website:
  • Greatest Living Space Symposium April 2013

    1. 1. Use of geodata in opensource GIS programs Greatest Living Space Symposium Greatest Living Space Symposium April 2013
    2. 2. The community groupsGenerational amnesiaCommunity groups can beresponsive and nimble Greatest Living Space Symposium April 2013
    3. 3. The following are examples of a variety ofsources of community data which we use in online GIS Greatest Living Space Symposium April 2013
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    7. 7. Demo of live mapping sites using Open Source Software• Puke Ariki - a sample map relating research held in Kete New Plymouth, “Word on the Street’• Pest trapping data entry and analysis for community groups• Trapping results from Egmont National Park• Penguin sightings – show how records may be added by the public, and then the results queried• Information about and images of the Te Henui River Greatest Living Space Symposium April 2013
    8. 8. With acknowledgement to Taranaki Regional Council for the aerial imageryOther projects MAIN Trust NZ has running online:• Login-specific editable layers for land use change• Seashore transect species entry for schools and researchers• Site mapping of plants and cultural values• Ecosanctuary projects• School tree planting Greatest Living Space Symposium April 2013
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