Get access

Producing an Indigenous Knowledge Web GIS for Arctic Alaska Communities: Challenges, Successes, and Lessons Learned


Wendy R. Eisner, Department of Geography, University of Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0131, USA. E-mail:


A traditional knowledge “Iñupiaq Web GIS”, based on a five-year study and containing observations and environmental knowledge of Iñupiat communities indigenous to Arctic Alaska, was incorporated into a Web-based platform. The website, “Arctic Cultural Cartography,” was created to be an open portal through which the password-protected “Iñupiaq Web GIS” could be accessed. We discuss the process of developing the web GIS including the incorporation of user-friendly features such as links to interactive maps, video clips of interviews, discussion boards, and the integration of popular web interfaces such as Facebook. We also discuss short- and long-term goals for the further development of the GIS, its potential as a sustainable, participatory online database for sharing pertinent ecological knowledge, and challenges in achieving optimal community involvement given constraints imposed by remote locations with limited bandwidth.