Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Nicaragua's GPSistas

"Nicaragua's GPSistas"

In Nicaragua, it is extremely important to the indigenous people that live on the coast to control the natural resources like fishery and forest products, mineral deposits and seafood. It is how they earn their livelihood so it is important that they not only have access to the resources, but own the land in which they are located.

What this team of researchers did was attempt to map the coast of Nicaragua as well as where the resources and different indigenous groups are located. Because all these groups are dependent on these resources, they were trying to find a way to make sure everyone had their fair share.

Problems they ran into were that it was hard to get electricity for charging computer batteries. Since they were on the coast, there was often cloud cover so solar energy was little to no use.   

In conclusion, they were able to create a final map with land boundaries and symbols for the resources. They did this using information given to them by the indigenous peoples. They were able to create a “basis for discussion” for the coming years when negotiating land and resources, therefore, ensuring their livelihoods.These are the symbols they used for the map. The map is how they mapped communities and you can get

Dana, Peter. (1998, March). University of Texas at Austin. Nicaragua's GPSistas: Mapping their lands on the Caribbean Coast. 185-193. 


  1. It's great to see that indigenous people trying to preserve their way of life through making a map of places that are important to them with GIS. I think it is extremely important to include indigenous people in landmarks and resources, and to be mindful of other's ways of life especially when creating borders and resources. GIS could in the future help solve problems of native people and people who live around them by mapping the sacred and important places of indigenous people.

  2. I think this represents a great use of GIS in order to allow indigenous people to continue their way of life. Was this land already in use or was it open to development? It would be interesting to see how or if these boundaries change over time if development increases. However, these boundaries and similar tactics could be used to preserve areas for use by indigenous people globally.