Cedar Heritage App – Spring 2018 upgrade

A new Cedar Apps features and fixes code push started in April with a focus on improvements to the Heritage App. We are extending the Community Map functionality, and continue to align Item fields with best practices standards (see links below).

Stay tuned for new web Documentation and PDF Guide in the coming months.

Best practices references:

These standards should be used in conjunction with procedures for digitization, which include digitization specifications, file naming, metadata, and quality assurance.

CCIRA Indigenous Laws Project App Tour – Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nations

CCIRA Indigenous Laws Project App Tour – Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nations

For the Indigenous Mapping Workshop 2016, Rosie Child and Charles put this video together:

In the summer of 2015, Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nations joined the Indigenous Laws Project spearheaded by the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance. Funding was found to hire 5 KX community researchers to work with 3 lawyers and assorted records management experts. A secure web application was built to house the resulting interactive database, a “Digital Archive”, of Collections, Items, Places and Case Briefs. As of Fall 2016, more than 1900 KX Items have been cataloged and ‘tagged’ using 50 different research fields—such as title, author, era, LUP theme, sensitivity, location, etc. These Items include maps, letters, charts, interview transcripts, books, photographs, reports, paintings, and carvings. The Items are grouped into 40 Collections, and have been collated into 29 Case Briefs. In addition, 201 Places have been identified.

A brief tour of the App starts with…

  • An Items page for browsing the catalog (e.g. find all letters that refer to fishing camps)
  • A search page allows for search of all Items, indexing research fields and full text of uploaded files (pdf, doc)
  • An interactive map shows where all the named Places are located, and when drilling down into a Place, one can see a list of all Items and Briefs that refer to that Place

The Highlights of the Project are… We now have well trained community researchers able to do complex records management, file scanning, and basic legal review. The App is used daily by the community researchers. Items cataloged and Briefs researched have been used in a recent court case. Additionally, we have created a ‘school’ role in the App and allowed community students access for research projects.

For more information on the project, please contact Vern Brown or Rosie Child at Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nations.

SCGIS Conference Presentation

SCGIS Conference Presentation

In June 2016, Charles went to the Society of Conservation GIS Conference in Monterrey, California to speak about Cedar Box Apps. Scroll down to view the video of the talk. Or view the slides at

Marine stewardship in British Columbia is increasingly complex, contextualized by our First Nations? strong rights and title positions, and evolving co/management regimes. Small teams of fisheries managers, planners and technicians are being tasked with monitoring, assessment and planning tasks that would normally be the remit of well-staffed provincial departments. Over the last 10 years, First Nations stewardship managers have been searching for information systems that bring spatial analysis more efficiently and seamlessly into the day-to-day operations of all staff. Several decision-support systems have emerged using web-GIS technologies to address this challenge.Technically, these systems consist of: geodatabase back-ends (commonly PostGIS) and an HTML/JS/CSS front end, spatial libraries, and PHP or Python code. All of the systems do two key functions: (1) help to manage large cultural and ecosystem geodatabases, and (2) provide tools to mobilize the geo knowledge base in specific contexts such as: project/permit impact assessment, cumulative impacts assessment, compiling evidence to support legal cases. The geospatial analyses thus are varied: from proximity reports, to spatial modelling and visualization, to spatial key-phrase searches. Each system goes some way towards providing necessary efficiencies to stewardship office staff, but gaps remain. For example, the following features would be useful when incorporated: secure links to government databases, incorporating management tools outside of conservation (fee-simple lands, environmental management), mobilizing knowledge for schools, managing field survey data, and stewardship staff time-tracking and billing.

FYI: Also participating were ~20 young international scholars doing amazing work around the world:

New fields added to CedarBox Development App Project Workflow Tab

New fields added to CedarBox Development App Project Workflow Tab

We’re rolling out a few changes to Cedar 7 installations this month. Some are behind the scenes improvements to MailHarvest and file attachment listings.

However, some changes will be a little more obvious:

New Workflow Fields

We’ve been working with Central Coast Nations referrals coordinators (Vern, Peter, Dani, Andrea) and with Aaron Heidt (Marine Use Planner with the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance) and Craig Outhet (North Coast Skeena First nations Stewardship Society) to get rich MaPP planning maps into Spatial Reports. We did a training session for this purpose in Vancouver on April 13th.

As part of that initiative, we’ve added extra fields to the Project Workflow tab. You can see them highlighted in yellow below.

In addition, the stewardship team at Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw wanted some extra date fields for process tracking. These are highlighted in red.

new cedar7 workflow fields
New cedar7 workflow fields
Nuxalk Dawn

Nuxalk Dawn

Stretching in the early morning light before a morning run last week in Bella Coola, I took this photo of a Nuxalk totem pole facing telephone lines. I was thinking about the privilege we have to be helping build data management capacity in this ancient, and at the same time, youthful community. Besides running and a little fly-fishing, my time in Nuxalk Territory was split between assisting with cultural data cataloging and review for the NX Indigenous Laws project, and working with the ‘Projects’ team on efficient tracking and analysis of development applications, including Crown referrals.

Iris, Clyde and Nicole, researchers in the NXIL project, diligently worked their way through a dozen documents on the day I worked with them, including: cataloging photographs from a collection at the Canadian Museum of History, a set of published stories, and a digitized audio tape interview from the 1980s.

On other days, Megan,  Angel and Andrea on the development/referrals side reviewed a draft internal projects protocol and procedures manual, practiced logging projects, and explored several applications (referrals and pre-referrals) spatially using the CedarBox Development App. We also explored the Live-Link between the DevelopmentApp and QGIS (see article here).

I couldn’t help but think CedarBox was playing a small part in the age-old governance cycle: gather, share and protect knowledge <-> record, understand and steward activities on the land/waters.

Technical note: While in Nuxalk we upgraded the Nuxalk CedarBox server to 16GB of memory and 4TB of hard drive space. We also helped set up their shared drive (running off a big network attached storage, NAS). All part of our current wise practices set-up for First Nations Stewardship offices.

Respect to:



Wuikinuxv Nation July Training

Wuikinuxv Nation July Training


Susan B and Charles reviewing Wuikinuxv standard Projects procedure
Susan B and Charles reviewing Wuikinuxv standard Projects procedure

In July 2015, Greg and I visited the beautiful village of Wuikinuxv alongside the Wannock River in Rivers Inlet. We were there to upgrade the Wuikinuxv’s CedarBox server and to provide training on two apps: Cedar Development App (for tracking and analyzing Crown referrals) and CCIRA Marine Indigenous Laws App (for archiving and reviewing historical documents for laws content).

We would like to thank Susan A for inviting us in, Doug B for his support, Cherlyn for booking us into the TechLodge and making great pies (, and Dani, Jennifer and Terry for their hard work.

Live-Link: connecting Projects tracking to GIS

Live-Link: connecting Projects tracking to GIS

In a novel example of having your herring roe and eating it too, the CedarBox Team is pleased to announce that DevelopmentApp Projects can now be “live-linked” to your desktop GIS.

What does this linking between my Cedar App and my desktop GIS mean?

Let’s say you are tracking 500 project applications, and that you have uploaded location files (Shapefile, KML, Geomark, draw-on-map) for all of these. Great! You can already do basic overlap analysis in Cedar. But, to make beautiful wall maps, or to do complex analysis, you need to work in your desktop-GIS world.

With our new Live-Link add-on, these locations are now available as a layer that you can explore in Quantum GIS (free & open source) or ESRI ArcGIS.

What does it look like?

The Live-Link layer looks like any other polygon/line/point layer in your QGIS project layer list. And it can be styled with labels and colours.

Live-Link between Development App and QGIS

Figure: (left) Cedar App showing example project footprints, and (right) Live-Link data in Quantum GIS (click for larger image)

What Development Project attributes come along with the Live-Link?

Currently, only these fields come across:

  • Title
  • FN-ID
  • Cedar URL

Email to tell us what more to add at

How live is Live-Link?

The link is real-time. After adding a new project and location in the Cedar Development App, when you switch to your GIS and then zoom in or out or pan, the newly added Project will display.

Is the link two-way?

No, for now, we are only letting you edit Project locations in Cedar.

Is it secure?

Yes. The Live-Link is locked down to your office.

How do I get Live-Link?

Contact to book an upgrade.


9x Redundant = Highly Secure

9x Redundant = Highly Secure

I thought this photo was funny, and clearly someone else thinks redundancy is important!

We never want to see your business, cultural and natural resources data lost in fire, flood or theft. Redundancy is a term meaning duplication. If it is duplicated, it is safe and will always be available.

In our wise practices setup, we recommend a high level of redundancy.

Here’s a CedarBox redundancy example for files associated with each development application:

  1. On the Development email account email server
  2. In the Coordinator’s email client (Outlook or Thunderbird)
  3. Printed on paper and stored in folder/filing cabinet (labeled with FN-PROJECT-ID)
  4. In the per-Project dashboard tab: Files (e.g. in the CedarBox Development App)
    • Note1: data stored on CedarBox are stored on a two hard disk drive RAID 1 mirror
  5. On the in-community NAS
    • Note2: data stored on the NAS is stored on a two hard disk drive RAID 1 mirror
  6. (Optional) In an encrypted back-up file on (secure Canadian cloud storage)
    • Note3: data stored on the server is stored on a hard disk drive RAID mirror

That’s 9x redundancy for your important files!

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