South East Landcare mapping training

What's possible when motivated volunteers drive the sharing of skills and knowledge.

South East Landcare mapping training

What's possible when motivated volunteers drive the sharing of skills and knowledge.

Capacity to Deliver -


The issue

District landcare networks in the South East (SE) had repeatedly identified digital mapping as a challenge for both volunteers and staff in their development of on-ground projects.
Support for landcare groups from Local Land Services and other project partners varied with access to mapping software and staff capacity.
Some group members had moderate skills; however, they had not had the opportunity to share their examples & experiences due to ongoing Covid restrictions making face to face gatherings even more difficult in our vast geographical area.

The solution


South East Landcare (SEL) was committed to increase the capacity of Landcare groups to use mapping for their operations.  

A survey was circulated asking landcare groups to identify how well groups use mapping and for what purpose. We also asked all coordinators, plus anyone else involved in mapping in Landcare what their experience was with platforms such as Google Maps, Google Earth Pro, Six Maps, QGIS & ARCGIS.

We asked how they included spatial data in their spreadsheets and if they had a recent successful mapping project, they would be willing to share. This helped to identify the level of skill and time commitment that people had for mapping & how best to support each other.

The data from this survey was analysed by the SEL mapping sub-committee and it sparked a series of 5 training sessions, held over the next 6 months, led by the community for the community.

The impact

Alex Sherley (Local Land Services GIS delivery support team) led the first of the Zoom sessions for 14 people in September 2021. He introduced the GIS geographic information system; a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth's surface. This was a targeted session for people with some understanding of GIS to see how Land Map processes work for Local Land Services & how landcare could fit into this.

Subsequent sessions were held over the next 6 months; attended by 13-16 people each time. Volunteers with considerable experience led the discussions, using real Landcare projects as examples. Participants were expected to download software & prepare themselves between sessions, with plenty of time for questions during the training.

The training started with basic demonstration of points, lines & polygons and how they work in different mapping technologies or systems, then progressed to an introduction to Google Earth and a tutorial using Google Maps & QGIS.

Key facts

  • South East Landcare now has a live interactive digital map in a shareable form clearly highlighting the boundaries of District Landcare networks that all of the coordinators and volunteers have access to.
  • The greatest learning was that these Mapping skills had always been within our community.
  • The Regional Community of Practice was able to identify the people in our landcare groups with experience & knowledge who were generous with their time & happy to share with others.