Module M07 - Project Structuring and Initial Reconnaissance

Unit M07U03: Visiting Communities


In virtually all regions, villagers are receptive – even enthusiastic – to the idea of producing maps of their territories; what they lack is a methodology for doing this. Once a formal decision has been made to move forward with a mapping project, there is approval for the design phase to begin. This is one of the tasks of Module M07, and Unit M07U03 deals with this at the community level. It includes the phase in which the Core Team travels to the project area to work collaboratively with the local actors to outline in greater detail how the project will function: the methodology, the villagers’ role, the project structure and the project outcomes.

Unit objectives / expected outcomes

After the completion of the Unit the trainee will be able to:

  • list the reasons for early community visits;
  • explain why it is important to:
    • reduce the natural distance in human relationships;
    • explain the mapping methodology;
    • establish trust;
    • ensure ownership and participation;
    • allow free, prior and written informed consent;
  • draw conclusions on community input as an essential part of project design.

Content outline, main topics covered and suggested sequencing

This Unit focuses on the topics listed below:

  1. Visiting communities; (PPT No. 1) (40 min)
  2. Building on fears and expectations (Exercise No. 1) (1 hour)
  3. Maps: what, why, where, who, when and how (Exercise No. 2 and PPT No. 2) (1hour and 20 minutes)

Components of the Unit


Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in printed format):

Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in digital format)



3 hours

Additional trainer resources

  • Mac Chapin & Bill Threlkeld (2001). Indigenous Landscapes: A Study in Ethnocartography. Arlington, VA, Center for the Support of Native Lands.
  • Mac Chapin & Bill Threlkeld (2009) Mapping Indigenous Lands: A Practical Guidebook. Arlington, VA, Center for the Support of Native Lands.

Equipment needed

Beamer, computer, marker pens, A5 cards in three colours, pin boards and pins (or a wall and masking tape), masking tape, large sheets of craft paper, paper maps, if PPT No. 2 is not used.

Additional downloads