The Igliniit Project: Combining Inuit Knowledge and Geomatics Engineering to Develop a New Observation Tool for Hunters

  • Shari GearheardEmail author
  • Gary Aipellee
  • Kyle O’Keefe


This chapter provides an overview of the Igliniit project, an International Polar Year (IPY) project that took place in Clyde River, Nunavut, from 2006 to 2010. As part of the larger IPY projects, SIKU and ISIUOP, the Igliniit project brought Inuit hunters and geomatics engineering students together to design, build, and test a tool to assist hunters in documenting their observations of the environment. By combining a global positioning system (GPS) receiver, a mobile weather station, a personal digital assistant (PDA), and a digital camera, the hunters and engineering students in Igliniit co-developed and piloted a system that allows hunters to contribute to environmental research in an active way, through the regular use of their environment, documenting observations and experiences in context, as they happen. Despite hardware problems and the challenges of using such technology in Arctic winter, the data collected by hunters provide detailed, dynamic, geo-referenced information about the environment that could otherwise not be collected. With continued development, this technology could be useful in many different regions and applications for understanding the environment and human–environment relationships over time and space. The approach, of supporting local people in their own activities year-round and outfitting them with a simple but powerful tool to document their environmental observations, proves a promising method in future community-based environmental research and monitoring, with applications as well in land use planning, resource management, hazards mapping, wildlife and harvest studies, and search and rescue operations.


Inuit Trails GPS Collaborative research Geomatics Traditional knowledge Sea ice Environmental monitoring Nunavut 



We would like to thank the community of Clyde River and the Nammautaq Hunters and Trappers Association for their collaboration and support on this project. We are extremely grateful to our primary funder, the Government of Canada International Polar Year Program for making this project possible. Thank you to the Clyde River RCMP for providing warm workspace and to the Nunavut Arctic College for much needed meeting space. Thank you to Igor Krupnik and Claudio Aporta for useful comments on earlier versions of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shari Gearheard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gary Aipellee
    • 2
  • Kyle O’Keefe
    • 3
  1. 1.National Snow and Ice Data CenterUniversity of Colorado at BoulderClyde RiverCanada
  2. 2.InterpreterClyde RiverCanada
  3. 3.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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