Terrafact, based in Sault Ste. Marie, formed a partnership last year with the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve to offer 3D mapping services that detail forestry resources. Through the collaboration, trained First Nation technicians have done mapping for the Ministry of Natural Resources, private forest owners, First Nations and municipalities.
Wikwemikong’s staff are mapping their own forests on reserve and establishing the new island claim area for the legal survey of islands in northeast Lake Huron, using state-of-the-art GIS and 3D remote sensing software.
“This will be the first time a First Nation in Canada actually creates their own digital survey boundaries for a land claim settlement in house without contracting out the imagery processing, GIS and remote-sensing analysis,” said Norm Assiniwe in a news release. Assiniwe is an MNR-certified enhanced forest inventory photogrammetrist with the community’s Department of Lands and Natural Resources (DLNR).
“Wikwemikong is also training other First Nations in these skills as well as implementing it into the curriculum at their schools.”
The First Nation will be using the new technology to map cultural heritage sites, abandoned and leaking oil wells, aquatic and terrestrial species at risk and invasive species, and emerging land forms.
John Manitowabi, the DLNR’s senior manager, said the department is receiving inquiries from Indigenous groups in Canada, Tasmania, Chile and Peru to train people in mapping techniques.