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Cutting-edge technology to map world's oldest living culture

Victoria University's Sir Zelman Cowen Centre and technology company Iconyx are working with Aboriginal communities to map their cultural heritage sites.

The Centre's project director, Sue Marshall, said multi-layered electronic maps were being developed in a six-month pilot with the Wadawurrung community of North-West Victoria.

The maps will include meeting places, burial sites, native vegetation and mythical sites as well as photographs, videos and oral histories.

Ms Marshall said the project would lead the way for the independent collection and management of information for Aboriginal cultural heritage sites.

She said the technology would empower traditional landowners to produce and maintain their own maps and assign permissions for various layers of information.

"They could produce a cultural tourism map for the general tourism industry or a map which contains only information for certain members of the community for the purpose of education," Ms Marshall said.

The Wadawurrung have provided access to their lands and heritage sites for the Centre to conduct research, while Iconyx will supply the technology and train six community members in its use.

"A major objective is that the community will gain knowledge and technology skills from this," she said.

Ms Marshall said contemporary sites of significance would also be mapped to reflect the community's status as a living culture.

The project is funded by the William Buckland Foundation and runs until January 2012.

  

Available for interview:

Ms Sue Marshall, project director

Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, Victoria University

sue.marshall@vu.edu.au

 

Ms Pamela Wilson Endrina, coordinator research projects

Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, Victoria University

(03) 9919 1864; 0432 207 371; pamela.wilsonendrina@vu.edu.au

 

Media contact:

Michael Quin, communications officer (research)

Marketing & Communications Department, Victoria University

(03) 9919 9491; 0431 815 409; media@vu.edu.au

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