Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

What Is GIS?

A geographic information system (GIS) is one of the methods used to gather, store, and analyze special data.[1]  It is a useful tool for creating, storing and organizing ICH data that can be used in ICH management, programs and policies. This data can be used to build maps, and different data sets can be layered on top of each other to display several kinds of information, depending on what you want to use the map for, for example, you can overlay a data set containing sacred sites on top of a map of your territory.

In the context of ICH, having a GIS mapping program is important for collecting and storing information about your community’s ICH, such as where important resources are on your traditional territory. Having a mapping program in place is also useful for consulting with industry and government, land use planning, treaty or land selection, and forestry or resource management planning.[2]

As mapping needs are broad, there may already be a mapping program in a band council department or another organization in your community. Working with other departments to build and manage a mapping program is beneficial for cost sharing and capacity building.

GIS Resources

Disclaimer: As of December 3, 2021, all links work, but this may change. If a link doesn’t work, try searching for the name of the funding in your search engine. Email us to let us know about a broken link and we’ll fix it as soon as possible.

  • Aboriginal Mapping Network: A network that provides tools and resources on mapping by and for Indigenous communities. Map makers can find information about data sources, training resources, funding opportunities and relevant, timely news stories.
  • Kwusen: Software solutions that support communities in field data collection as well as management of research data and consultation tracking. Designed for Indigenous knowledge and land-use research related to environmental impact assessments.
  • ESRI Canada: A company that provides services and tools for GIS and mapping
  • QGIS Open Source GIS: A free, open-source GIS system
  • Google Earth: A computer program that renders a 3D representation of Earth based primarily on satellite imagery

GIS and Mapping Services

  • Inlailawatash offers GIS training, assessment and strategy development and other services to help communities get started with their own GIS programs.
  • The Firelight Group also offer mapping and GIS services, working with communities to build maps and training community members in mapping.

Data Set Resources

Workshops and Post-secondary Institution Training for GIS

[1] What is GIS? ESRI.

[2] Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources. Good practices guide: Success in building and keeping an Aboriginal mapping program. Geoconnections: Natural Resources Canada.