3,000 indigenous lands in Canada added to Google Maps
Published Wednesday, June 21, 2017 9:59AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 21, 2017 2:32PM EDT
Google has added 3,000 Canadian indigenous reserves and settlement lands to Google Maps and Google Earth platforms.
The search engine giant unveiled the project on Wednesday, which is National Aboriginal Day in Canada. The company said the launch is the culmination of a seven-year collaboration between indigenous communities in Canada, mapping experts and Google Canada.
The data was collected from Natural Resources Canada, Google said, as well as input and data from members of indigenous communities.
Tara Rush, who is from Akwesasne territory and works at Google Canada, said in a blog post that the launch marks “an essential step in accurately reflecting Canada to Canadians and to the world.”
The map is not all-inclusive, Google representatives said, which is why they are putting out a call asking communities that do not see themselves represented to share data.
Steven DeRoy, an indigenous cartographer who played a key role in the initiative says that the “impetus for the project was to make sure that indigenous peoples are reflected on the base maps.”
During project development, DeRoy said he worked with a team that hosted mapping workshops to train indigenous peoples on how to use maps. Naturally, he said, the first thing they would do is search for their homes.
“When they would search for their homes, the map would show up blank,” DeRoy told CTV News Channel on Wednesday.
DeRoy, who is an Ebb and Flow First Nation member said the map project is also “one step” toward reconciliation.
“Maps play an important role, they’re a tool of power and to actually see the land on the maps … it starts a dialogue between Canada, companies that are working in those areas and indigenous peoples.”
The project was launched on National Aboriginal Day.