The University of Victoria Ethnographic Mapping Lab provided the teaching resources for this activity. For more please go to
We’re going to use Google Earth to have a quality conversation about land-based cultural practices. It’s so detailed and immersive, it’s a better tool than the topo map. But the caution is that you have to have the conversation in a way that it’s adequately documented.
Use the slides below to learn how to use Google Earth for Ethnographic Mapping
- Pair up and interview each other about special places.
- Draw polygons and points in Google Earth on-the-fly.
- Be sure to document the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, and WHEN for each point.
- Organize your information into folders.
- Use Custom Icons for ethnographic mapping
- Add photos.
- Alternate who is interviewing whom (you can do one section of the individual worldviews questions below at a time and then alternate).
- Save your work!! Email your map to the interviewee.
- Make a tour.
The Importance of Place in Shaping Worldviews
What factors go into shaping an individual worldview?
First is family and local culture
- Where do your ancestors come from, i.e. what country or part of the world?
- Where were your grandparents born (all four of them)?
- Where were your parents born (if this is different from where grandparents were born, examine why)
- Where were you and your siblings born?
- What place in the world do you identify with in terms of identity?
What are the nonhuman influences in your life?
- What is your favorite place in the world?
- Where is your favorite tree, body of water, place to relax, etc.?
- Where was your favorite place to play (or hide) when you were 5 years old? 10 years old? 15? Today?
- Who were the most important animals in your life?
- Where did you see the most interesting, unusual, or otherwise, animal you have ever seen?
Spiritual Elements and beliefs help shape your thinking
- Where are the spots that are sacred to your beliefs located?
- Where are your personal sacred places?
Suggested ReadingSébastien Caquard & William Cartwright (2014).
Narrative Cartography: From Mapping Stories to the Narrative of Maps and Mapping. The Cartographic Journal. The World of Mapping. Volume 51, 2014 - Issue 2: Cartography and Narratives