México Indígena Project
Bowman Mexico News Release
Dobson Statement on Oaxaca
AGS Ethical Guidelines
Antilles GIS Project
Colombia GIS Project
AGS Explorers' Globe
AGS Educational Tours
AGS Media Center
Updated March 3, 2009
AGS BOWMAN EXPEDITIONS
Jerome E. Dobson
In the last issue of Ubique I wrote about our Bowman Expedition to Mexico in 2005 and 2006. This time I’ll write about our new Bowman Expedition to the Greater and Lesser Antilles.
As you may recall, the existing Mexico Indigena Project was established as the prototype for a much larger concept whose ultimate purpose is to combat geographic ignorance in all sectors of society. At full funding, AGS would send a geography professor and two or three graduate students to every country in the world for a full semester each year, with teams rotating on a five-year cycle so that each country is understood by five separate teams. Each team would collect open source GIS data and conduct one research project of the investigator’s choice. Allies at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, marketed the concept and funded the prototype. Now, a major step has been taken toward implementing the concept beyond its initial prototype.
First, let’s give credit where it’s due. We are able to proceed mainly because of the phenomenal success of the prototype led by my KU colleague Peter Herlihy in collaboration with Derek Smith of Carleton University and Miguel Aguilar Robledo of the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí. Last year they conducted fieldwork in the Huasteca Region of Mexico, this year in Oaxaca State. I’ll report on their project again later. For now, I’ll simply say that their results stunningly prove what geographers can do anywhere in the world to learn about foreign lands and people, establish relationships with people and institutions, collect unclassified information, and build open source geographic information systems (GIS) that can be employed by any other investigator, regardless of discipline.
Now, we are pleased to announce that a partnership led by the American Geographical Society has won an award for fieldwork throughout the Antilles Region. The proposal was submitted competitively to the Federal Government. The award amounts to a total of $255,598 and covers funding for one year with renewal likely for a second year and possibly for a third.
The project will be designated as the Bowman Expedition to the Antilles in honor of Isaiah Bowman, the Society's Director from 1915 to 1935. The region presents an unusual challenge because it contains so many island nations. We have addressed this need by engaging experts from eight different universities. Over three years, recipients of Bowman Expedition funds will include the following institutions and tasks:
*** Kansas State University has accepted primary responsibility for building and maintaining a multi-resolution, open source GIS database for the entire Antilles Region.
*** Virginia Tech will conduct a comparative analysis of water resource issues in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
*** LSU will focus on land-use and land cover dynamics as they relate to tourism, the dominant economic sector in the Leeward segment of the Lesser Antilles.
*** Miami and Hofstra Universities will compare and contrast rural economic conditions, land use change, and job prospects in three independent countries of the southern Lesser Antilles.
*** Indiana University will conduct field-based research to investigate the consequences of rapid urbanization in Trinidad and rapid coastal zone tourism-related development in Tobago.
*** The University of Kansas will coordinate the effort among participants, report to AGS, and interface onsite with the sponsor.
The third Bowman Expedition is to Colombia, and details are available online at AGS Bowman Colombia project.
Additional proposals have been submitted and others will be submitted for Bowman Expeditions to other world regions. We'll keep you posted as the program advances.
The American Geographical Society’s Bowman Expeditions seek to improve geographic understanding at home and abroad: Spotlight on México Indígena
México Indígena was the first Bowman Expedition and is the prototype for all subsequent expeditions. From 2005 through 2008, we worked in two indigenous regions of Mexico, studying the effects of changes brought on by Mexico’s
massive new land tenure program. We put geographic tools in the hands of the communities to help them use the power of GIS and maps to support their property claims and cultural rights, educate their youth, and plan conservation and
community development strategies. Read the complete news release in English and in Spanish and view photos of the researchers and community
leaders in the field.
The Bowman Expedition to Mexico was featured in an article in the Lawrence Journal World (KS) on Monday, October 23, 2006.