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04 Mar 2013



Cultural Mapping Consultancy

Project summary

The Cape York NRM group required mapping of traditional boundaries for the purposes of advancing partnerships between “on ground” traditional owner groups and natural resource management programs. These maps would be a framework for the NRM body to collaborate with people who have traditional land management responsibilities, especially those still living on or working on land that they “speak for”, through the establishment or continuation of Indigenous Reference Groups.

The aim of this project was to improve Natural Resource Management on Cape York Peninsula by ensuring that people who speak for country are always aware of various plans and proposals for it, whether it is for a fire management project, an environmental legislation, an animal survey or an agricultural trial. The project enabled Traditional Owners to outline their own clan estate maps for Natural Resource Management planning on the Cape York Peninsula. 

The approaching of people from IRGs to outline the maps was not and is not the mapper’s responsibility, rather that responsiblity is the conversion of this information into shapefiles. 


  • Indigenous Reference Groups can find out avout seek out information about projects that include their country, and organisations looking to implement large-scale projects have information on which to communicate their proposals to the right people beforehand. 
  • Broad-scale information available to the Cape York NRM body regarding fire, weed outbreaks or threatened species information can now be communicated to people who have responsibility for that area, at a scale that makes sense to them.
  • Clan estate boundaries have more relevance to patterns of topography and flora and fauna associations than western tenure boundaries and therefore better for management planning, this mapping is now available. 
  • Decision makers can now see the “reach” of Cape York NRM and especially the Indigenous Reference Groups on the ground. 

Steps Conducted:

  1. The obtainment of hard copy topographical maps (1: 50 000 or 1:100 000) for the relevant area. 
  2. The collation of information via the Indigenous Engagement Co-ordinator, this was able to be recently obtained by mapping from traditional owners, and the execution of actual “sit down” time to look at and draw on base maps, and collating existing data from a range of sources.
  3. Mapper transcribed the drawb boundaries to shapefiles in GIS software.
  4. Hardcopy, GIS and Google Earth maps were made available for distribution back to relevant Traditional Owners, and Cape York NRM body.

Project location

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