Digital cartography offers exciting opportunities for recording indigenous knowledge, particularly in contexts where a people's relationship to the land has high cultural significance. Canada's north offers a useful case study of both the opportunities and challenges of such projects. Through the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre (GCRC), Inuit peoples have been invited to become partners in innovative digital mapping projects, including creating atlases of traditional place names, recording the patterns and movement of sea ice, and recording previously uncharted and often shifting traditional routes over ice and tundra. Such projects have generated interest in local communities because of their potential to record and preserve traditional knowledge and because they offer an attractive visual and multimedia interface that can address linguistic and cultural concerns. But given corporations' growing interest in the natural resources of the Arctic and the concomitant rise in government concern about claims to Arctic sovereignty, such maps may also be of interest to a broad range of actors and for a variety of purposes. Because these projects rely heavily upon, and record, oral knowledge, and because they convert such knowledge into highly malleable and easily disseminated digital content, they raise challenging issues around informed consent, intellectual and cultural property, and privacy. This article identifies and examines these issues and describes the collaborative and interdisciplinary research established to identify and address the use of traditional knowledge in digital cartography.

Additional Metadata
Keywords cartographie autochtone, consentement éclairé, cybercartographie, cybercartography, indigenous mapping, informed consent, intellectual property, privacy, propriété intellectuelle, savoir ancestral, traditional knowledge, vie privée
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.3138/carto.48.3.1685
Journal Cartographica
Citation
Engler, N.J. (Nate J.), Scassa, T. (Teresa), & Taylor, D.R. (2013). Mapping traditional knowledge: Digital cartography in the Canadian north. Cartographica, 48(3), 189–199. doi:10.3138/carto.48.3.1685