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October 2014 is Map Your Indigenous Community Month 
Show your support & improve Google Maps!


Whether you're helping a newcomer navigate your neighborhood, finding the fastest route across campus, or searching for local businesses, maps support the most practical daily activities. Beyond navigation, a map is a mirror of the places we live, and within its lines there are innumerable stories, histories and future possibilities just waiting to be shared with the world. As it stands today, indigenous communities are often underrepresented in the world of digital maps - and it's time to make some changes.

In partnership with the National Indian Education Association, Google Map Maker, Google Earth Outreach and the Google American Indian Network are proud to present Google's Map Your Indigenous Community Month this October, 2014.

Map Your Indigenous Community Month is a chance for indigenous peoples to take ownership of how their communities are represented on Google Maps, Google Earth and Google Maps for Mobile. Using Google Map Maker, you can add to, edit and improve your local maps by mapping college campuses, medical centers, tribal offices, local roads, historical landmarks, and everything in between! With your help, let's build the most comprehensive, digitally preserved maps of indigenous lands across the globe.

If you're interested in participating in this month of mapping, you can:

Welcome to Google Map Maker

Why take part in Map Your Indigenous Community Month?

Nobody knows your neighborhood better than you. Using Google Map Maker, you can share that knowledge, and ensure your home is accurately represented to the rest of the world.

You can map any location-based information about public infrastructure in your community that the public should be able to search for and find on Google Maps, such as businesses, medical facilities, roads, schools and more.

How to take part in Map Your Indigenous Community Month


One of the best ways to enrich local map data is to join with other members of your community by hosting a MapUp. A MapUp is an event in which a group of people come together to improve the places they know and love on Google Maps by using Google Map Maker. MapUps can focus on the map of a neighborhood, region, or even for a particular feature such as hiking trails or your college campus. MapUps can be hosted at a local community center, library, or incorporated into a classroom lesson!

This October, indigenous community members around the world will be hosting MapUps throughout the day - working together to build the most comprehensive maps imaginable.

Together, you and members of your community can add and improve everything from local businesses to roads, driving directions, parks, schools, health facilities, and more. Map Maker currently supports Inukitut, Inupiaq, Kalaallisut, Hawaiian, Cherokee and Navajo (and we're adding more languages all the time) so you may even be able to add place names in your community's native language! See the FAQ for more information about mapping in native languages.

Learn more about hosting your very own MapUp here!

Courtesy National Congress of American Indians Youth Council

How Google can support you to host a MapUp:

If you’re not already a mapping guru, don’t worry. The Google Map Maker team is here to help teach you everything you’ll need to know about getting started with Map Maker, as well as hosting a MapUp mapping event in your own community. We've even got fun giveaways to provide at your event!

We’ll be hosting several Map Maker tutorials for anyone who would like to learn more about hosting a MapUp. More details about upcoming tutorial will be coming soon!

Register HERE to host a MapUp during in Map Your Indigenous Community Month!

Important Dates:

September 14, 2014: Deadline to register to indicate your interest in hosting a MapUp for Indigenous Mapping Day.

Mid-August - September 2014: Google Map Maker tutorials hosted online:

October 2014: Map Your Indigenous Community Month!

Courtesy Brian Thom, University of Victoria and Cowichan Tribes
Courtesy Brian Thom, University of Victoria and Cowichan Tribes


If you're not able to host a MapUp, you can still participate in Map Your Indigenous Community Month by mapping during October. Register your pledge with us so we can provide you with the training and support to map on your own!

Register your pledge to map HERE!

Who can lead a MapUp?

To host a MapUp for Map Your Indigenous Community Month, we ask that you be affiliated with the indigenous community whose area you plan to map. This includes community members, representatives of the local government, members of community-based colleges, or organizations providing services to the community. 

If you do not meet these criteria, please refer to our FAQ to see how you can still use Google Map Maker to improve your local maps.

 Why use Google Map Maker?

Nobody knows your neighborhood better than you. Using Google Map Maker, you can share that knowledge, and ensure your home is accurately represented to the rest of the world. You can map any location-based information about your indigenous community that can be publicly searchable and found on Google Maps.

What should we map?

Google Map Maker is intended for mapping locations which should be public knowledge and useful to users of Google Maps, such as locations related to public infrastructure (businesses, government offices, roads, rivers, etc.). There may be some locations in your indigenous community that are private or potentially sensitive - such as sacred sites or plant harvesting sites - that your community would not want shared on Google Maps for the public. We suggest that you talk to your community leaders first before mapping anything that could be considered sensitive! You may also want to consult the Map Maker guidelines for indigenous communities distributed by the National Congress of American Indians in 2013.

 Can't join in the fun this October? 

Or maybe just too eager to get started? Don't worry - you can use Google Map Maker 365 days of the year to enrich the map of your local community! Start by pledging to improve your community's map this October! 

 Want to view your community's cultural sites or other geographic information on a 

map, but you don't want to contribute this data to the public Google Maps? 

While the contributions you make using Google Map Maker are public and visible to more than a billion Google Maps users worldwide, there are a variety of other Google mapping tools (Google Earth, Google Maps Engine Lite, etc.) that you can use to create and visualize your own private data on top of Google Maps and Google Earth. When you create and view your own maps using these tools, you don't contribute that data to Google and you can decide whether you'd like to keep your map private to you, share with specific individuals, or make it public. 

If you're interested in creating and viewing your own maps, there are online resources available to do just that! Learn how the Surui tribe of the Amazon used Google Earth created a map of their cultural heritage using Google Earth, read how the Stz'uminus First Nation is using Google Earth and Google Maps Engine Lite to map traditional villages and landmarks, or follow Wild South's interactive Google Earth tour through the history of the Cherokee people of North Carolina. 

To learn how to create maps yourself, head to the Google Earth Outreach website for our online tutorials. And - if you register to host a MapUp - you'll receive a training packet that also includes a lesson plan about creating your own maps with Google Earth!

Still have questions?

Refer to our FAQ to find out more about what to map, how to get started, and to address any other questions or concerns you may have about mapping your community.

MapUps Make a Difference: Google Maps goes to the Arctic Community of Cambridge Bay

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