Ngok Dinka Abyei area community mapping project

Author: Peter Poole


In connection with arbitration proceedings between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLMIA), I was instructed by the SPLMIA to train Ngok Dinka in the Abyei Area to gather the raw data necessary to prepare a community map. This community mapping project was developed to produce an accurate map depicting a sampling of the historical and cultural places of importance to the Ngok Dinka in 1905. Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping technology was utilized in the project to provide geographically accurate locations for the landmarks identified by Ngok Dinka elders so that Ngok historic use and occupation could be positioned on a map. By landmark, I mean settlements, cattle camps, burial sites or other examples of traditional occupation and use of the land.

The objective of the program was twofold: (1) to harness the historical and cultural knowledge of the members of the Ngok Dinka about a representative portion of their ancestral lands; and (2) to use scientific methods to record the location corresponding to that information to produce an accurate and reliable map of selected Ngok Dinka landmarks from 1905 in the Study Area. Based on the information gathered by the community, the maps depicting the occupation and use of ancestral lands in the Study Area by the nine Chiefdoms of the Ngok Dinka were produced by an external cartographer.

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