Conceptual and Methodological Advances
Edited by Henk A. Becker and Frank Vanclay
Chapter 13: Using Geographic Information Systems for Cultural Impact Assessment
Luciano Minerbi, Davianna Pomaika’i McGregor and Jon Kei Matsuoka Introduction Geographic information systems (GIS) are technologies encompassing telecommunication, information processing and spatial imaging (Pickles, 1995). Potentially this technology can beneﬁt indigenous and rural communities by facilitating access to existing data and by generating new data which can be used for social impact assessments (SIAs). In contrast, there is a discussion about whether GIS increases the information monopoly of those already in power. As with most innovations, especially in the ﬁeld of information and social accounting, both potentials may occur. With GIS being rapidly adopted throughout the world, a movement to increase community participation in planning can democratize the use of GIS and make it relevant to SIA. There are a number of applications of GIS within SIA. Conventional geo-coded data can be layered over population data to study interdependence, proximity, ranges and access to resources. The data can also be associated with social indicators for a given community. GIS mapping can also be linked to SIA data in the study of changes over time. The cumulative impact on indigenous people, and the resources they need for their livelihoods, can be shown by overlaying maps depicting resources at diﬀerent points in time. For this purpose, maps showing population, land ownership, land use, carrying capacity and vegetative cover can be generated by participatory methods such as resource mapping, transect walks and calendars of seasonal activity patterns, and by collecting local histories (Harris and Weiner, 1998). There have been eﬀorts...
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