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Participatory digital map-making in arid areas of Kenya and Tanzania (PLA 66)

Tom Rowley

Journal article

In this article in Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) 66, Tom Rowley describes a participatory natural resource management project where community representatives used Google Earth imagery to precisely identify key resources on a global reference grid.
Participants were able to navigate the satellite imagery with ease and lead the collection of data to reflect their priorities.

This allowed local knowledge to be described precisely, and therefore more useably, in digital maps. Iterative cycles of
the mapping process and exploration of satellite imagery encouraged deeper consultation of local knowledge, generating
a fuller description of key resources and usage patterns. The local knowledge mapped has been used to design byelaws and inform planning for the management of resources central to local livelihoods and the local economy, particularly in a context
of increasing climate variability, such as the drylands of Kenya and Tanzania.

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