Issue 4 | December 2017

Long-standing partnership on community-based monitoring

A whaling crew establishes a camp on the shorefast ice during spring whaling in Utqiaġvik Alaska. Photo credit: Matt Druckenmiller

For nearly 10 years, ELOKA has had the privilege to work with Arctic communities to build the Seasonal Ice Zone Observing Network (SIZONet), a project coordinated at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. SIZONet collects observations from local Alaskan hunters and records them in the online application maintained by ELOKA. Observations include the hunters’ reports of sea ice conditions, animals encountered, weather observations, locations, and photographs. Beginning in 2006, records of observations were collected in a Microsoft Access database. In 2011, work began to move SIZONet content from a desktop database to supporting an online application. This improved data entry and made records more accessible. The updated application was released in May 2012. The interface has recently undergone a few upgrades under the ELOKA IV award, with new observers and locations added, an updated appearance of the website, the ability to view and download full-resolution photographs, and the ongoing addition of new data elds as observers expand their observations. Visit the online SIZONet interface to view the observations of Indigenous Knowledge holders spanning coastal Alaska from Utqiaġvik in the north to Kwigillingok in the south, and to learn more about the project.

In the fall of 2016, the robust SIZONet interface became the basis for an online application on native Greenland hunters’ observations of important subsistence species. ELOKA sta repurposed the SIZONet codebase to create a separate online interface allowing viewing of species data and conservation recommendations in the prototype PISUNA-net application, available to view in both English and Greenlandic. The PISUNA-net Observation Database is a collaboration between the Greenland Ministry of Fisheries and Hunting, Qaasuitsup Municipality, Greenland Fishers and Hunters Association, ELOKA, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Nordic Agency for Development and Ecology (NORDECO).

INTAROS community-based monitoring workshop series

The second Integrated Arctic Observing System (INTAROS) Community-Based Monitoring Series workshop will be held in Quebec, Ontario, Canada, on December 11 and 12, 2017, at the Quebec City Convention Center, concurrent with ArcticNet’s Arctic Change 2017 conference. These region-specic workshops bring community-based practitioners together to exchange experiences and identify priorities for observing, network building, and data management and sharing. Between 10 to 12 active community-based monitoring and observing programs have been organized from northern Canada with the intention of building collaboration. Workshop feedback and results will inform INTAROS about potential future activities, and how best to include community-based observations within this broader spectrum of the Arctic.

The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council led the first workshop in Fairbanks, Alaska in May 2017. Future workshops are being planned in Europe and Russia for 2018.

The National Data Integrity Conference

On October 5 and 6, 2017, Colorado State University hosted the National Data Integrity Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado. In its broadest use, data integrity refers to the accuracy and consistency of data stored in a database, data warehouse, or other construct. This year’s theme, The Human Side of Data: from the societal impacts to everyday practice, attracted a diverse group of experts to present on the biggest challenges facing those who work with data. ELOKA Co-PI Colleen Strawhacker’s session addressed measuring the value of Indigenous Knowledge data sets with the current focus on quantitative metrics “data reuse” and "data citation." In her session—How do we measure value in data reuse? Nuancing Ethical Data Sharing and Attribution for the Social Sciences and Indigenous Communities—she provided data set examples important to small communities, and addressed data ownership and sovereignty with regard to data sharing and reuse. Read more about this session here.

Ongoing collaboration with the Kangiqtugaapik (Clyde River) Community

Sea ice in Clyde River
Sea ice forms in the bay near Clyde River. Photo credit: Peter Pulsifer

During the first two weeks of November, ELOKA team member Peter Pulsifer travelled to Clyde River, Nunavut, to work with and learn from the team at the Ittaq Heritage and Research Centre. In the fall of 2015, Ittaq launched an online atlas project on Clyde River’s environment to make it accessible and useable to a diverse audience. In partnership with ELOKA, project colead Mike Jaypoody presented a preliminary version of the atlas at the Arctic Science Summit Week in Prague, Czech Republic, in April 2017. Currently available to the community, the atlas is under continuous development, will be released more broadly in the future. Peter looks forward to visiting Clyde River again at the beginning of 2018.

Arctic Change 2017 Conference

Quebec City Convention Center
At dusk, Quebec City’s Convention Center lights up. Photo credit:

ArcticNet’s Arctic Change Conference is being held at the Quebec City Convention Center, from December 11 to 15, 2017. Arctic Change will bring together leading Arctic researchers, graduate students, Northern community representatives, government and industry partners, and stakeholders from all elds to discuss emerging global challenges and opportunities arising from climate change and modernization in the Arctic. The conference is expecting 1500 participants, making this one of the largest international Arctic research conferences ever held in Canada. PI Peter Pulsifer and staff member Noor Johnson will represent ELOKA, with Pulsifer presenting a keynote at the conference.


The northern lights shine above Bear Lake, Alaska. Photo credit: Unknown

ELOKA fosters collaboration between resident Arctic experts and visiting researchers to facilitate the collection, preservation, exchange, and use of local observations and Indigenous knowledge of the Arctic. ELOKA provides data management and user support to Indigenous communities to ensure their data and knowledge are managed, visualized, and shared in an ethical manner in order to work toward information and data sovereignty for Arctic residents.

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Last Updated: 
Wed, 02/28/2018