Developing an Indigenous monitoring platform

Project start date: 01/01/2023
Project end date: 30/12/2026
NESP funding: $400,000 (GST-exclusive)

Indigenous rangers across Australia protect, manage and monitor vast areas of land and sea Country. Unfortunately, there is limited guidance to inform rangers on what tools to use for monitoring, how to optimise their monitoring methods and how to manage their monitoring data while ensuring sovereignty of their Indigenous knowledge. This project is developing a digital platform to guide and support Indigenous practitioners on the protocols and technologies they can employ to best carry out and evaluate their on-Country monitoring and management programs.

This project was primarily conceived in consultation with Indigenous practitioners to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their on-Country management activities to protect natural and cultural values and mitigate threats. The project is addressing deficiencies in the capture, curation, storage and analysis of information and the use of this information to report on the environmental, economic, social and cultural outcomes of on-Country activities. These issues are pivotal to ensuring ongoing support for and, ultimately, growth of Indigenous land, water and sea management programs.

Australian Indigenous Rangers at work on Cape York. Rangers at work on Cape York. Photo: Gina Zimny.

Key research areas

This platform will enable ranger groups and other Indigenous practitioners to produce and deliver outputs that affirm the exceptional quality and quantity of their on-ground activities. This will support the Australian Government’s objectives to continue to support and ultimately grow Indigenous ranger and associated Landcare programs. This project is doing that by:

  • developing an Indigenous-tested toolbox of monitoring protocols and technologies, accompanied by guidance from Indigenous practitioners on how, why, when and where to deploy the tools
  • building and honouring established Indigenous monitoring projects by making them available to new Indigenous practitioners
  • validating the methodologies and technologies used by and recommended to Indigenous practitioners to ensure they are fit for purpose and culturally appropriate
  • supporting the development of methods for the enduring storage, management and analysis of monitoring data where Indigenous practitioners maintain sovereignty over their data and how it is used, in keeping with the principles of FPIC (free, prior and informed consent), CARE (collective benefit, authority to control, responsibility and ethics) and FAIR (findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability).
Ryan Barrowei and Justin Perry preparing a camera trap for installation. Photo: Michael Douglas.
Ryan Barrowei and Justin Perry preparing a camera trap for installation. Photo: Michael Douglas.
  • Kakadu ranger looks at a dashboard displayed on a tablet. Photo: Microsoft.
  • Larrakia Rangers in Darwin. Photo: Larrakia Rangers.
  • Indigenous rangers collecting ghost nets. Photo: Glenn Campbell.