31/12/2015

LandMark: Safeguarding land rights through community mapping

 

LandMark is the first global mapping platform that outlines the boundaries of indigenous and community lands, as well as providing information on how secure their tenure rights are.

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Image: A screenshot of LandMark illustrating indigenous lands in Australia with formal documentation

According to the project's website, "most Indigenous Peoples and local communities and their lands are not represented on official maps and as a consequence, are invisible to the world". The LandMark project seeks to reverse ensuing threats of dispossession, by facilitating a formal means of documenting land and resource ownership.

The platform utilizes a bottom-up approach; community level data is crowdsourced from the Indigenous Peoples and communities themselves, and then mapped to illustrate each unique land tenure situation. These community level data include land boundaries, whether they are formally recognized by the government, and if they are held under customary tenure arrangements.

Given that each Indigenous Peoples and community possesses its own identify and legal status, the project utilizes the following globally recognized typology to allow for the most consistent comparisons of status as possible:

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National-level data is then used to cross-reference and verify each community's land claims, through a review of the amount of land held or used by Indigenous Peoples and communities as a percentage of the country’s total land area, and an assessment of national land and resource rights laws for each country.

The platform is being constantly updated as more information is sourced from communities, or made available by national sources. Recent updates include datasets on indigenous and community Lands nomadic tribes in Iran, the indigenous lands of Malaysia's Sarawak Peoples and global indicators of the legal security of indigenous and community lands.

Explore the LandMark project further here.

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