Jul 04, 2017

Brazil: Indigenous Lands Integrated in Google’s Applications

Photo Courtesy of Carrie [email protected]

On 2 July 2017, Google announced the integration of Brazil’s indigenous territories into Google Maps and Earth. In collaboration with FUNAI, Brazil's National Indian Foundation, the names and borders of certified indigenous territories in Brazil Brazilian were added to both applications, and can now be seen on them by searching the name of the ethnic group living there. According to Google and FUNAI integrating indigenous territories into its maps underlines how indigenous communities play a crucial role in preserving the biodiversity and cultural wealth of Brazilian Amazon. The maps now show the deforestation level of other parts of the Amazon compared to the level within these territories. 

The article below published by The Economic Times

In a bid to prevent deforestation and preserve culture, Google on Sunday announced the integration of Brazil's indigenous territories into its maps.

In partnership with Fundacao Nacional do Indio (FUNAI), Brazil's governmental agency overseeing indigenous affairs, Google Maps and Earth now represent Brazilian indigenous territory labels and borders in a way that reflects the landscapes known to the local communities.

"On Google Maps and Earth, you can now see the names of certified indigenous territories in Brazil, search for indigenous territories using the name of the ethnic group living there and see how forests are maintained in these areas compared to other parts of the Amazon," Raleigh Seamster, Program Manager, Google Earth Outreach, said in a blog post.

Brazil has one of the world's most diverse populations, with more than 500,000 indigenous people living on 472 territories certified by the government -- representing 13 per cent of Brazil's total land.

Most of these territories are in the rapidly-changing Amazon region, the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world.

Deforestation has had a devastating effect on indigenous people and the local economy, destroying biodiversity, and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

Google said that integrating indigenous territories into its maps is an essential step in accurately reflecting the world and showing how the indigenous communities play an important role in preserving the natural biodiversity and cultural richness of the Brazilian Amazon.

"By defining Brazil's indigenous territories we can show the world the role these communities play in maintaining global socio-biodiversity," Artur Nobre, Presidential Advisor, FUNAI, said in a statement.

This update builds on other work by Google Earth Outreach to support cultural preservation and land management.

A similar update was announced earlier this month for Canada.