A three dimensional map –likely to be the first 3D map in Samoa - was launched yesterday to help in the rebirth of nature, says Vailuutau Lave, a representative from the village of Solosolo.

The 3D map or model shows a “better view” of the landscape from Lauli’i to Falevao – some 14 in all. It is the outcome of a Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) workshop.

The Forestry Division of the MNRE brought in about 80 participants including special consultants Kenn Monddiai and Patrick Vuet from Partners with Melanesiato help lead the workshop.

Vailu’utau says it gives them a great understanding on how to change the environment.

“The environment was beautiful back then but now it’s different,” he said. “The 3D map gives us a better understanding of where we are and what we need to do to improve our environment.

“Now we can make it beautiful again by targeting locations which were affected by climate change and work on those areas.

“It is also very useful for us as we live in mountainous areas where it is targeted by floods and other disasters.”

MNRE Chief Executive Officer, Taulealeausumai La’avasa Malua said the 3D map creates a better view.

“You can only see a view like this from a plane but what they have done is create a bird eye view.”

Taule’ale’ausumai highlighted the different views which are visible by observing the 3D model but he also mentioned the importance of the map.

“It’s a decision making tool.”

He said each village can now make their decisions easier based on the 3D map.

“If one family sees that their house is in a dangerous location or if they are close to the river, then they can move their house to a safer location.”

“It’s very useful in times of disasters as you can plan which location is secure.”

The 3D map is like no other map, says Taulealeausumai.

“You can understand and everyone can understand it.”

He added that other maps are hard to understand but with the 3D map, everyone can locate where they live without difficulty.

The 3D map was adopted from the military strategies.

“These maps are used in wars to make decisions on destinations and their missions but we have applied it in for a different use.”

He also acknowledged and applauded the great work from the villages.

The 3D map is planned to be put at a place where everyone can study it but it is hard as there are 14 villages and only one map.

Taulealeausumai said the map can be divided for each village “or they can create their own 3D maps as they studied and created the map.”

In a MNRE press release this is a bid “to address development challenges and increase resilience to climate change through enhancing the integration of local knowledge in adaption planning and implementation processes.”

The Information and Communication Technology they are talking about is a new form of mapping called Participatory 3D Modeling (P3DM).

This modeling “is a community based mapping method which integrates local spatial knowledge with data on elevation of the land and death of the sea to produce stand–alone, scaled and geo- referenced relief model.”

The P3DM is part three of fourof the Integration of Climate Change Risks and Resilience into Forestry Management in Samoa (ICCRIFS Project) which cost $4,930,000.
They were focusing their discussions on many changes in the weather nowadays and the way locals have been coping with seasonal weather patterns and other changes so far not recorded in human memory.

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