The role of geospatial technologies for integrating landscape in language

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Advances in the semantic web allow indigenous peoples to seek a greater voice on the Internet that reflects how they structure their knowledge of landscape. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – computerized mapping and spatial databases – is used to develop a culturally protected area for the Cree in northern Quebec, Canada. We first characterize GIS and then describe several GIS applications, many of which related to epistemologies and ontologies of the land. We focus on one specific application: geospatial ontologies for hydrography. We found that GIS could store and organize landscape related language and this storing and organizing allowed for mapping and modeling information. GIS was useful for ontology representation, but its utility depended on the stage of ontology development.


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