It’s Day 1 of our 3-day Walk With Us project at Mamawmatawa Holistic Education Centre in Constance Lake First Nation. What a cool group of Grade 9’s! Students learned how to capture 360′ imagery today and will be heading out in the community tomorrow morning to take pictures of their hometown to contribute to the northern Ontario coverage on Google Maps.
As you can see from the map above, the province of Ontario’s Street View coverage is sparse, particularly in the northern regions. This is an opportunity for youth to contribute to these gaps in service, and positively affect change for all who use Google Maps for directions and place-based education.
They will also be interviewing Elders to learn more about Constance Lake, share stories and record Cree language to integrate into a virtual tour, as they will be developing a virtual tour of the community as a class! The students hope to showcase their work at the year-end Art Show, and possibly even Constance Lake First Nation’s 75th anniversary next year.
Walk With Us, made possible by CreeGeo and Mushkegowuk Council, will be heading to Constance Lake First Nation the week of March 25th.
Constance Lake is not currently represented on Google Maps’ Street View. Students will be taking 360′ pictures of their community and creating virtual tours of their hometown using Google’s Tour Creator. They will be connecting with elders in their community to learn more about Constance Lake and its history in order to share with others!
I attended Google Earth Outreach’s Geo for Good conference for the first time in October 2016. This workshop is intended for nonprofit mapping and technology specialists (of which I am not – I am just fortunate to be able to learn in these fields); and Google Earth Outreach is a program that helps provide nonprofits and public benefit organizations with knowledge and resources to visualize their cause and tell their story in Google’s mapping tools. I had the opportunity to attend again in 2018, and met Tawanda Kanhema. Originally from Zimbabwe, Tawanda has lived and worked in the Bay area, California for the past 10 years and recently traveled back to his home to put Zimbabwe on Google Maps/Street View.
We chatted about where I am from (northeastern Ontario), and where I work (CreeGeo/Mushkegowuk Council Information Services). I remember talking about the importance of the Winter Roads to connect remote communities in the colder months (in warm months, they are fly-in), and lamenting the fact that Wetum and James Bay Winter roads were not on Google Street View (not to mention any of the communities). If these roads were on Google Maps, it would afford anyone using this service to be a virtual tourist, and take a virtual drive up these roads from anywhere in the world. Not only that, but my hope would be to provide education to others about why these roads are integral to Mushkegowuk communities, and as a thank you to all of the people who work hard to maintain these roads during its season.
With some planning, this project is coming to fruition on Monday, March 4th. We leave Timmins Monday morning and will be on the road visiting the communities of Moosonee, Moose Factory, Attawapiskat, Kashechewan and Fort Albany throughout the week. We have welcomed community members to share stories about the winter road and will also show students the equipment being used and hopefully ignite some curiosity! Thank you to the above communities and to Mushkegowuk Council for allowing us to engage in this opportunity.
Wetum Road / James Bay Winter Road Street View project travelers:
Tawanda Kanhema – Photographer, Kanhema Photo
Alan Sanchez – Filmmaker, Sanchez Media LLC
Melissa Lavoie – CreeGeo
Ed Sutherland – CreeGeo
Michaela Paradis – CreeGeo
Dr. David Pearson – Professor, School of Environmental Sciences, Laurentian University
See the Twitter post below for our travel schedule!
CreeGeo visited Fort Albany’s Peetabeck Academy School today to deliver a workshop with Mrs. Reuben’s Gr. 7/8 class. We learned about GPS, how it works and what it does, and students also learned about traditional uses of plants with Elder Joseph S. Sutherland. We traveled to the Youth Site, where ceremonies and gatherings are often held, and students used their GPS units to mark the waypoints of these plants out on the land. They also pointed out rabbit tracks, a few rogue “mush cranberries” and various structures as we were walking – check out our My Maps below to follow our tracks! #CreeGeo #MushYouth
Walk With Us will be visiting Taykwa Tagamou Nation on Saturday, June 23rd to capture Street View imagery of the community! We’ll be meeting in front of the band office at 1:00 pm, so if you’re in the neighborhood, please say hello and learn more about the Walk With Us project. WWU thanks Chief Bruce Archibald and TTN for hosting us! Stay tuned for Street View and a virtual tour.
Last month, I visited the community of Kashechewan in my new role with Mushkegowuk Council. I had the opportunity to meet two amazing classes, one at Francine J. Wesley Secondary School, and the other at St. Andrew’s Elementary School. These students were natural mappers, problem solvers and critical thinkers as we learned some beginner coding with the Sphero SPRK+, and during a Geo Walk where we captured images of Kashechewan using tablets from the CreeGeo department. The aim of the day was to create a floor map, complete with streets and landmarks, and have Sphero navigate/roll around the community using the programs students built.
Click on the Adobe Spark Page below to take a tour of Kashechewan and see some of the students at work/play!