Smart Technology Shares Indigenous knowledge

17 July 2012 ~   A University of Newcastle research team will explore the potential of smart technology to share the thousands of years of Indigenous knowledge and understanding of Australia’s landscape, plants and animals.

University of Newcastle researcher, Dr Mark Harvey, said the depth of Indigenous knowledge of the Australian environment could not be appreciated in many situations because it was recorded almost entirely in text format.

Words alone cannot communicate spatial relationships, for example, when explaining the importance of the distribution of place names across an area or the associations between biological species in certain ecozones.

The research project is designed to develop and evaluate new ways to reproduce and archive the rich Indigenous cultural heritage, such as 3D mapping and satellite photo-imaging on mobile phones.”

Researchers will work with prospective Indigenous and non-Indigenous tourism operators to develop technological tools to share the Indigenous information with the community.

Smart technology has the potential to transform the way Indigenous heritage is shared across a range of industries including tourism and education,” Dr Harvey said.

Using smart technology a group of tourists could be walking in the middle of the Kimberleys and through satellite imaging on their phones experience an audio tour of the artwork on the trail.

In a Sydney classroom, a teacher could take students on a virtual tour of the Daintree rainforest using a computer program that gives perspective to where various vegetation grows.”

The project will work with an Indigenous community in Pine Creek in the Northern Territory; and two indigenous communities in southwest Victoria.

The  three-year  research  project  is  supported  by  a  $105,000  Linkage  Grant  from  the Australian Research Council. The project is in collaboration with the University of Ballarat and the Surveyor-General of Victoria.