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­a, Google Creating Digital Maps to Help Preserve Cultural Heritage of Russian Community

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Kamchatka on a Russian map.

Researchers are working with Google Earth Outreach to develop digital maps of places that hold cultural and historic significance to people in Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.


University of Arizona researchers, in partnership with Google Earth Outreach, are developing interactive and engaging digital maps of locations that hold cultural and historic significance. The researchers' primary focus is preserving the Itelmen language spoken by the indigenous communities from Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.

They are developing specialized Google Maps that will have information specific to the Kamchatka communities, such as hunting areas. Eventually, the maps also will include information on natural resources and other culturally significant sites. "The maps will include many elements, and they will be based on the needs and recommendations of the indigenous community," says Oregon State University professor Drew Gerkey, who collaborated on the project.

The researchers also hope to build capacity in the community to teach people in Kamchatka how to use the technology.

The digital maps will be used as a device to foster dialogue between local and outside experts where previous strategies have failed, notes University of Arizona researcher Benedict Colombi. "Using these tools to make a cultural map will allow the community to create a map that accurately reflects their traditional landscape, and will encourage dialogue and sharing of knowledge between generations," says Google Earth Outreach program manager Raleigh Seamster.

From UA News (AZ)
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