Web-GIS-based Conservation Tools for First Nations' Stewardship
Charles Burnett1,2, Vern
Brown3, David Schmidt4
& Erin Latham1,4
1. University of Victoria, Geography
2. GeoMemes Research Inc / CedarBox.ca
3. Kitasoo / Xai’xais Nation
4. Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nations
Society for Conservation GIS 2016 Annual Conference,
June 22-25, 2016, Asilomar Conference Center, Monterey CA
7. "We're looking at science in a new way. We take traditional ecological
knowledge and local knowledge and merge that with the best available
western science." - Douglas Neasloss, Stewardship Director, Kitasoo Xai'xais
Integrated Resource Authority
photos: burnett, Spirit Bear Research Foundation7
8. From Planning to Operations
“Per-project, I need
report with a
analysis, and email
and files lists.”
“I need access to
the maps and
multimedia files to
teach our culture.”
“I need a mobile
tool to record
“I need a better way to
track emails & files. I
hate data entry!”
“I need a better way
of doing interviews
and for digitizing our
making dozens of
9. Information System Use Examples
1. What is the potential impact of a proposed heli log-
drop permit? [Crown referral]
2. What is a good location for a kayaking tourism
company day anchoring site? [Economic /
3. What records do we have in our cultural database for
“roe on kelp” for a report to support a legal case.
Where do these records point to? [Legal research]
4. How can we mobilize our cultural data for our staff
training and schools? [Education]
5. How to we get our field data into the decision-
support flow? [Data management]
10. Operational Requirements
How could we operationalize EBM in these
1. Consultation tracking & analysis
2. Conservation / Economic development
3. Legal briefs research
4. Education & training
5. Ecosystem field data management
And with what geo-tools?
11. Other Tool
• Securely accessible in-
community and out
• Access by non-technicians
– e.g. Email/files harvesting
• Map driven
• Workgroup friendly
– e.g. shared contacts database
• Files access & Search
• Desktop GIS links…
• +30 more needs...
Software As A Service
e.g. Consultation Tracker
Desktop Tool Chain
e.g. MS Access, Excel +
Software as a Self-Service
e.g. ESRI ArcGIS API, JScript + coding
e.g. Open source frameworks,
libraries + coding
13. NAS for Backups
- Project records
- Heritage records
- Files sharing
- Mobile forms
- Mapped drive
- Mapped drive
- Android App
PHP/Drupal Web App System Schematic
Desktop GIS &
21. Highlights of Web-Based Tools
• Easy projects logging
• Email harvesting
• Files harvesting
• Encourages good Documents
• Fits with signed BC/FN
• Easy to upload Protocol
• 1-click map reports
• Easy Shapefile (other) upload
• Drill down into planning,
culture and ecosystem layers
• Quickly and accurately find out
what is near a potential
– Salmon streams
– Other ecological data
– Other cultural data
22. Schema and code availability?
Cedar 7 (PHP/Drupal)
• Try the demo at cedarbox.ca
• Read about challenges &
• Code is freely available
– E.g. mail harvest
– E.g. spatial reports
• Let’s share!
Cedar 8 (Python/Django)
• Under very active
• Already in use:
– Haida (Heritage App)
Nations (Development App -
July roll out)
• Under development: mobile
field forms, documents
Stewardship staff in: Metlakatla Nation, Gitga’at Nation, Nuxalk Nation,
Wuikinuxv Nation, Kitsumkalum Nation, Haisla Nation, Haida Nation Council,
Heiltsuk Nation, Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation, Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nations
Dan Cardinall, Coastal First Nations - www.coastfirstnations.ca
Aaron Heidt, Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance - www.ccira.ca
Rosie Child, Spirit Bear Research Foundation - spiritbearfoundation.com
Greg Sebastian & Adam Valair, GeoMemes Research Inc – www.CedarBox.ca
A week of wildlife
Spirit Bear Research Foundation
25. Addendum: Geomark
Machine to machine ‘project locations’ spatial
data transfer, location stripped of metadata
Thank you Soc Cons GIS organizers for this chance to speak and learn
Introduce my co-authors
Vern Brown: Spirit Bear guide and referrals coordinator
David, Resources Director
Erin, Aquaculture coordinator and GIS technician
Start with context: 2 years ago, in northern BC nation, working on GIS and land information systems, knock on door, helped carry in boxes of binders and DVD of GIS data for an environmental impact assessment of ONE project, a natural gas pipeline and LNG plant. These communities have data challenges!
Approximately 250,000 Aboriginal people live in British Columbia, 5.4% of the total BC population as recorded in the 2011 census: First Nations, Metis, Inuit
There are approximately 205 First Nations in BC and a few dozen Nations that live close to the coast
In the last 20 years the change in who controls BC lands and waters has changed markedly, from a status quo of Indians ignored on reserves to inclusion in conservation and resource extraction planning and co-management.
This is due to Court cases, Land Claims, Interim measures and modern-day Treaties.
The result: the Crown (government) has a duty to consult; and Nations are more and more moving into co-management
What’s the conservation prize?
Imagine rich salmon streams weave through valley bottoms that provide food for magnificent creatures such as orcas (killer whales), eagles, wolves, black bears, grizzlies, and the rare Spirit bear.
one of the largest tracts of temperate rainforest left in the world
2 million hectares, 20,000 square km (BC 950,000, so 2%) ~8000mi2, larger than land areas of Hawaii or New Jersey
home to thousands of species of plants, birds and animals
lush rainforest stand, 1,000-year-old cedar trees and 90-metre tall Sitka spruce trees.
The Kermode bear (Ursus americanus kermodei), also known as the "spirit bear" (particularly in British Columbia), is a subspecies of the American black bear living in the Central and North Coast regions of British Columbia, Canada.
This colour is due to a double recessive gene unique in the subspecies.
The Great Bear Rainforest is a land of fjords, islands and great river estuaries. It’s world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. Bears and wolf packs thrive as they have for millennia. Explore the wildlife, the waterfall-filled wonder, and the human history of one of earth’s most spectacular coastlines – “the last stand of the great North American rainforest,” according to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Great Bear Rainforest is a wild and remote region of islands, fjords and towering peaks, stretching south from Alaska along the BC coast, past Haida Gwaii to roughly Campbell River on Vancouver Island (which isn't part of the forest). Covering 32,000 sq km, this is the last major tract of coastal temperate rainforest left anywhere.
What is the human resources dimension?
Small offices of marine biologists, foresters, GIS technicians, field technicians, and managers – all looking for efficiencies… for tools to help them guide good decision-making
The Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP) is a co-led process between 18 First Nations and the Government of the Province of British Columbia that developed plans for marine uses on B.C.’s North Pacific Coast, now and into the future.
The MaPP initiative was formalized in November 2011 through a Letter of Intent between the provincial government and First Nations organizations.
The MaPP planning teams completed four sub-regional marine plans and are completing a regional action framework. The sub-regional plans provide clear recommendations for the management of marine areas, uses and activities.
Planning for ocean health and marine uses
Informed by scientific, traditional and local with input from Stakeholders, Scientists, Genral Public
Uses an EBM framework (which integrates Human well-being, Ecological integrity, Governance [including collaborative management])
Produce Sub-Regional Plans and a broader regional planning document
Will recommend ways to enhance marine management, including protection and provide economic opportunities
Results intended to
Improve and & inform decision-making
Reduce conflict amoung marine users, and
Foster sustainable development and marine stewardship
An ecosystem-based management (EBM) framework provided the foundation for the development of the marine plans. EBM focuses on human well-being, ecological integrity and governance. The framework was informed by local and traditional knowledge and by input and advice from scientists and stakeholder advisory committees.
Ecosystem-based management is a long-term, integrated approach that recognizes humans are part of and have significant influences on their environments. It is a shift away from conventional management paradigms that are often jurisdictional, short term and consider humans to be independent of nature. An ecosystem-based management plan includes adaptive management strategies and trade-offs, whether between ecosystem services, management strategies or other components of the plan, that are made as explicitly as possible.
MaPP is an example of a Software as a Service (SAS) web-mapping tool that is extremely useful for marine planning.