In the fall of 2022, I began splitting my time in research and mapping of Ethnic People Groups between the needs of ALTECO in South America and Gospelink in 16 countries across several continents. To accommodate the massive new demands, my focus on the Amazon jungle region has had to narrow (become more refined) somewhat. I worked out as a goal with our South America team that for the first half of 2023 I would identify and complete comprehensive lists of all currently known tribes across each country in the region. This is part of a larger project I have been developing for several years which is a map of every tribe. Not just a map, but a map within a GIS connected to databases that with the click of a mouse on a specific tribe in a specific region displayed on the screen will show all of the most current, relevant data about that particular tribe – “pop-up” window as you may. One of the biggest challenges I faced with this is in how to share the information with our team, as it would all be based on my desktop. Due to very limited operating budget (I have to personally raise funds to cover both my salary and all research-related operating costs), I could not afford to pay a subscription for a secure online GIS mapping system. The benefit of such a platform extend beyond secure sharing of sensitive data. It would also allow team members to update and edit data from the field, in realtime. Fortunately, ALTECO was recently able to shore up funds for me to set up and run a subscription with Mango Map (mangomap.com), an effective tool for this purpose. And with this, starting in April 2023, mapping the region has been given a great boost.
The graphic below is a screenshot of data that I uploaded to Mango Map for Colombia. Visible are the locations of each of Colombia’s tribal groups, color-coded by their level of access to the gospel. Also shown are blue dots that represent field surveys that have been conducted on those areas. Click a dot and the field survey data appears. Our goal with Mango Map is to merge our surveys with the map information, and thus streamline the process of mapping and understanding the realities of each tribe in every location. Again, this is a mammoth task, but it is important and it has to start somewhere. I am grateful that we now have such a resource with which to proceed.