Amazon Conservation Team Presented with the Seeing a Better World Award

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Inga mapping workshop taking place in the Yurayaco indigenous reserve in Colombia, using WorldView2 imagery courtesy of DigitalGlobe. Click to enlarge

In June, ACT received the Seeing a Better World Award from DigitalGlobe, a leading global provider of commercial high-resolution earth observation and advanced geospatial solutions. Since January 2014, DigitalGlobe has been providing ACT with satellite imagery that has allowed for drastically improved monitoring and protection of large swaths of South American rainforest and its indigenous people.

“ACT is pleased and proud to work with our friends at partners at DigitalGlobe, whose incredible technology has allowed Amazonian indigenous communities to see their territories as never before, helping them to better manage their rainforest homes,” said Amazon Conservation Team President Dr. Mark Plotkin.

Keeng Kumu, an indigenous cartographer from the village of Kwamalasamutu in Suriname, shows a Matawai elder a map of his village made using DigitalGlobe’s WorldView1 imagery. Click to enlarge

With the high-resolution images, ACT’s cartographers work with our indigenous partners in the region to create complex maps that are at the core of community development projects. Rather than conducting extensive expeditions to monitor the borders of their territories, communities can see potential threats to their land, such as mining and logging projects, by looking at a recently captured image. They can then understand how and where to conduct surveillance to prevent illegal incursions onto indigenous territory.

ACT Cartographer Brian Hettler reviewing satellite imagery with Eleukah, the Waurá chief of Ulupuene in the Xingu indigenous Territory in Brazil. Click to enlarge

The imagery-derived maps are also a way to record information and teach younger generations about the land. Using the satellite maps, local people can mark the location of animals, medicinal plants, areas designated for reforestation, and potential areas for community expansion.

“The work the Amazon Conservation Team is doing to protect the indigenous people of the Amazon is important and impactful,” said Tim Hascall, DigitalGlobe Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer. “DigitalGlobe is proud to support this organization in accordance with our purpose of Seeing a better world™.”

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