The last thing you’d expect an Amazonian tribe who have only recently had contact with the modern world to do is to team up with a technology giant; but that’s exactly what the Surui people have done.
The Surui tribe have partnered with Google, who they refer to as ragogmakan – meaning “messenger”, to help monitor illegal logging in their traditional lands. Google is known as ragogmakan as they hope the company’s massive reach will help to alert the world to the dire situation in their part of the Amazon.
There’s not just trees and animals at stake here, but the Surui people themselves are faced with extinction. The situation has become so bad that loggers regularly murder indigenous peoples if they get in the way – the Surui chief has a price on his head of nearly $100,000.
The Google Earth team are working with the Surui to help add information to Google Earth such as informative markers and photographs showing Surui villages, hunting ground and cultural sites and areas where they’ve found illegal mining and logging.
The Google Earth Outreach initiative gives non-profits and and community groups the training and resources to make the most of their mapping technology.
If you haven’t looked at Google Earth lately, take another peek – it’s far more than just maps; so much environmental related information can now be found by enabling special features and clicking on markers that other users have added over the past couple of years.
It’s great to see Google getting so heavily involved with environmental concerns – more leading tech companies should do so; after all – the future of their businesses also depends on a planet that can sustain a healthy economy.
Read more on the Surui/Google partnership