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Designing maps to support native title negotiation and arbitration in Australia

Turk, A.G., Mackaness, W.A. and Tinlin, W. (1995) Designing maps to support native title negotiation and arbitration in Australia. In: 17th International Cartographic Conference (ICC '95), 3 - 9 September 1995, Barcelona, Spain.



An understanding of the space around us (spatiality) is fundamental to our consciousness and in the explanation of heritage• the idea that a map represents both the world we live in and our experiences of it For example, the visual language of Aboriginal maps represents a synergistic amalgam of the metaphorical, metaphysical and material worlds. Thus maps can be said \0 be representations that facilitate an understanding of things, concepts, conditions, processes or events in the human world and provide a way of ordering our knowledge of our environment

Our research is concerned with the exploration of these concepts in the context of the design of maps arid other graphics to support negotiations and legal proceedings regarding native title land tenure claims in Australia. This paper reports progress on the muHidisciplinary research project at Murdoch University, involving the principal disciplines of information systems, cartography and law. The research project is examining how information systems may be best utilised to support the variety of (often competing) interests of the various parties involved in native title claims. It also addresses important methodological issues relating to the analysis, design and evaluation of information systems which accommodate users w~h different cultural backgrounds. Spatial representations of various kinds (including maps) can help bridge the .cultural gap and support the empathetic process so critical to successful negotiation and arbitration.

The design of appropriate maps and other graphics to support negotiation and arbitration procedures reiated to native @e claims needs to be considered within the context of the information systems in which they are used. In turn, the design of the information systems must be based on an understanding Of the decision making environment within which they are Situated and the characteristics of system users. This requires the detailed analysis of the procedures used and the roles of the various people involved. This process enables a clear understanding of the purpose of each graphic (or graphic sequence) to be developed and hence its deSign in the most cogent and effective manner. The paper reports on research findings regarding the use of trad~ional and innovative procedures for the design of information systems; and maps and other graphic products. The relationship of these procedures to Aboriginal concepts of place and representational style is also explored.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Conference Website:
Notes: Poster
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