In recognition of ten years of groundbreaking and innovative work, the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) Canada is pleased to present the 2008 Award for Special Achievement in GIS to the Aboriginal Mapping Network (AMN), hosted by Ecotrust Canada.

“At ESRI, we are always deeply impressed by the innovation of our users,” says Jack Dangermond, ESRI President. “We want to recognize the efforts of these individuals with our Special Achievement in GIS Award. This recognition is well deserved for how they’ve applied geospatial technology to address the needs of their industries and communities. They are defining GIS best practices.”

The AMN (www.nativemaps.org) is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. Since its inception the AMN has established itself as a leader in online geographic information, delivering new resources and tools to help Indigenous peoples manage vast amounts of geographic and traditional knowledge for natural resource management, planning, court evidence, and economic development.

“The Aboriginal Mapping Network’s mission to mitigate the geographic and professional isolation faced by many Indigenous knowledge practitioners has a worldwide appeal,” says Gregory Kehm, Ecotrust Canada manager. “Originating from the coast of British Columbia, the Network has seen a remarkable international expansion in the last few years. The AMN is honoured to be recognized by ESRI/ESRI Canada with a Special Achievement Award.”

Highlights of this decade of achievement include:

  • over 1,300 registered users to connect and share information in a worldwide social network
  • organizer of international practitioner conferences and community-based mapping workshops
  • nearly 25,000 discrete website visitors every month
  • a web-based legal resource toolkit that helps First Nations respond to development proposals on their traditional lands and waters
  • an online tool that can integrate local indigenous spatial data with public spatial data to help First Nations respond more effectively to third party land development referrals
  • publication of Chief Kerry’s Moose: A Guidebook to Indigenous Land Use and Occupancy Mapping in partnership with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
  • publishing a funding guide, A New Trail, for First Nations to finance their GIS and planning activities.

The ESRI Special Achievement Award is the second for Ecotrust Canada. It won the award in 2004 for work the organization did with the Council of the Haida Nation to establish the Haida Mapping Office.

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For further information, please visit www.nativemaps.org or contact Gregory Kehm at Ecotrust Canada at 604-682-4141 x231 or gregory@ecotrust.ca.

About the Aboriginal Mapping Network

The Aboriginal Mapping Network (AMN) was established in 1998 as a joint initiative of the Gitxsan and Ahousaht First Nations and Ecotrust Canada. Over the years the network has grown from its humble beginnings as a knowledge sharing forum for local First Nations technicians, leaders and decision makers to become a valuable strategic resource for practitioners of traditional knowledge mapping around the world. The AMN now has a mandate to support aboriginal and indigenous peoples facing similar issues, such as land claims, treaty negotiations and resource development, with common tools, such as traditional use studies, GIS mapping and other information systems. It is financed, facilitated and hosted by Ecotrust Canada.

About Ecotrust Canada

Ecotrust Canada is an enterprising nonprofit whose purpose is to build the conservation economy in coastal BC. It works at the intersection of conservation and community economic development promoting innovation and providing services for communities, First Nations and enterprises to green and grow their local economies. For further information, please visit www.ecotrust.ca.

About ESRI Canada

Established in 1984, ESRI Canada is a Canadian owned company specializing in geographic information systems (GIS) solutions. ESRI Canada distributes the world’s leading GIS software including solutions from ESRI Inc., Miner and Miner, I.S.M. International Systemap Corp. and Azteca. ESRI Canada also provides professional services including consulting, training, technical support, and enterprise GIS implementation. ESRI Canada is a leader in providing world-class enterprise GIS solutions for many industries including public works, land management, utilities, defence, public safety, business demographics, education, natural resources and transportation. ESRI Canada has fifteen regional offices across the country, with headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. For more information, please visit http://www.esricanada.com or call 1-800-447-9778.