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03 Jan 2012

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Ethno-Mapping: New Discipline for Mapping the Human Story

Added by Category: Daily Intelligence Brief, General


Knowledge from our elders is often lost over time. This leaves new generations to forge for themselves without any historical insights as to where they came from, which ultimately impacts the future. One researcher is changing all of this with a new discipline called ethno-mapping that will allow us to map and cull from historical data from our ancestors. And, yes, GEOINT plays a major role in this new area of learning. Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey, the first Polynesian Explorer and female Fellow in the history of the National Geographic Society, is at the forefront of this new movement to essentially map the human story.

Dr. Lindsey was recently interviewed by Maui Magazine about her visionary approach of tying GEOINT into past cultural studies. Here are some key excerpts from that Q&A interview:

How would you describe your Map of the Human Story?

Lindsey: My field of study is cultural intelligence—the knowledge that has existed throughout the world and across millennia. We are alive at an age when there are still elders whose wisdom is available. The goal is to marry that ancient wisdom to twenty-first-century technology; to create a cultural repository that people will continue to contribute to, so it is always dynamic and evolving.

We’re looking to imbed media of all kinds—film, photographs, audio, text, maps and animation—into this repository; it will make for a much richer, much more inclusive way for the world to tell its story. I’ve been working with photographer Lisa Kristine. She is utterly gifted and a joy to work with. We’re traveling around the world over the next twelve months, photographing, filming and recording. I hope to have enough documentation to launch the Map of the Human Story, as well as an exhibit and book.

We have never before been in a position to be as connected as we are now, to be able to report in real time and forecast the human condition. That’s part of why I am working with Google. The only way for us to dissolve the illusory boundaries that separate us is to share our stories, to see that people we perceive as foreign, as enemies, as challenges to our society.

Kudos to Dr. Lindsey for marrying innovation and technology with historical studies. And, as this story reinforces, mapping can play a key role in virtually any educational discipline. Read the full interview with Dr. Lindsey here.

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