Tô no Mapa is a cell phone app that allows users to map the collective territories on which they live. It was developed by two Brazilian NGOs, the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) and the Institute for Society, Population and Nature (ISPN), with support from the Cerrado Network. The app was built through the dialogue between many civil society organisations and local communities, with the aim of creating an unprecedented map containing information about rural and traditional peoples and communities in Brazil. Additionally, it aspires to support the drafting of public policies as well as to back other initiatives from associated movements, networks, and organisations.
On the app, it is possible to demarcate territories of traditional communities, peoples, and family-scale farmers across the different biomes of the country in real-time. Furthermore, it allows users to pinpoint how each area is used and places where conflicts have emerged or that are under any kind of threat.
Tô no Mapa is a tool that intends to be a political instrument, to provide support in the struggle to upkeep the social and territorial rights of traditional peoples and communities.
Tô no Mapa offers traditional communities, peoples, and family-scale farmers all over Brazil more visibility, the ability to conduct conflict monitoring, to expand community members’ knowledge of their own territories, as well as spread awareness about their existence and their ways of living, empowering and strengthening their territorial struggles.
Tô no Mapa was initially devised to attend to Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) living without visibility in official maps within the Cerrado biome. However, the app is open, free of charge, and can be used by IPLCs from all biomes. Thusly, we will be able to create an even more complete map encompassing all the traditional peoples and communities of Brazil.
Indigenous, Quilombola, small-scale animal husbandry-based communities (“comunidades de fundo e fecho de pasto”, in Portuguese), Ribeirinho, Geraizeiro, Fishermen, Vazanteiro, Araguaia Retireiro, Sempre-viva pickers, Babassu coconut-breakers, family-scale farmers, and any other traditional people and community. Decree no. 8750/2016 lists 29 civil society segments as part of the National Council of Traditional Peoples and Communities (CNPCT). Territories located in urban settings can be mapped as well, to account for situations in which the city has grown to surround the territory, the community was displaced or decided to constitute its territory in urban areas.
The app can be downloaded onto your cell phone, via the app store of your device. There is an Android version, available on the PlayStore, and there will soon be an iPhone version, available on the App Store. All it takes is to type “Tô no Mapa”, hit the search button, find our logo and download it.
Watch step-by-step videos here.
After downloading it onto your cell phone, open the app and follow the step-by-step instructions as they appear on the screen, submitting the requested information about your community.
To register, it is necessary to see the area where the community is located on the map. If you are within the community’s limits with internet access, the location identification will be done automatically. Otherwise, it is necessary to have an internet connection to see the community’s territory on the map.
After making sure that the community’s region is being shown on the map, submitting information to the app can be done even without internet access. All you have to do is to save the information as you go along. When the registration is concluded and ready to be submitted, reconnect to the internet, attach the required minute, and click on the “Send to Tô no Mapa” on the side menu. You will receive a message confirming the data submission.
Once the registration is completed, you can hit the “Share” button to send the report to members of your community. After that, go to “Settings” and write down the Safety Code. Keep it safe. You will need it to access the app again to edit information, if needed, or to add a new community. The app team will receive the community registration, verify the submitted data, and contact you soon thereafter.
The app allows the user to set the limits of the territory in different ways: by marking specific points on the map, by sending KML files already containing that information, or by physically going through the territory with a GPS tracker.
Watch the step-by-step videos here.
It is important that the information submitted be discussed between the members of the community and that there be a common understanding about the limits of the registered area, and the inclusion of areas of use and conflict. At the end of the registration, the user must attach a minute from the meeting, in PDF or JPEG formats, that proves such an agreement within the community. If you need a template for the Meeting Minute, click here.
If your document is longer than one page, submit the first page to the slot assigned to the minute and add the remaining pages to the slot assigned to send photographs of the community.
The app allows for the inclusion of points indicating areas of use, such as “roça” (plots of land used for small-scale, subsistence crops), animal husbandry, fishing, and other relevant characteristics about the territory. It is also possible to indicate places where any types of conflict occur, be it land invasion, mining, or any other threats.
If the community is also interested in registering itself on the Traditional Territories Platform of the National Council of Traditional Peoples and Communities of the Federal Public Ministry, this is also possible by submitting additional information and sending the form via the Tô no Mapa app itself (feature under development). The registration is then received by the aforementioned platform and the normal registering procedure takes place.
Watch videos about the main features here.
First and foremost, it is important that the information submitted on the app be discussed between the members of the community and that there be a common understanding about the limits of the registered area, as well as the inclusion of areas of use and conflict.
The community should also choose a representative to submit the information to the app and conduct the registration. They will be responsible for sharing with the community the report created by Tô no Mapa containing all the information sent to the app. At the end of the registration, the user must attach a minute from the meeting that proves such an agreement within the community. If you need a template for the Meeting Minute, download the document here.
A community leader can register more than one community. To do that, it is necessary to insert the Safety Code on the same phone used during the first registration and to make sure that the first community has been registered on Tô no Mapa. You should only start a new registration after assuring this. In the upper right corner, click on the “two arrows” and start a new registration. Follow all the steps, save the information, and click “Send to Tô no Mapa”. You can edit your information using the Safety Code and with the consent of your community.
Mapping a community on the Tô no Mapa app is done through self-reporting. This means that the very members of the community (or those authorised by it) submit the information to the app.
The information may include, besides data about the boundaries of the territory, places of use, conflict areas, basic details (such as the number of families constituting it), and the self-declared identity of the community.
Via the app, the community can export the registered map as a PDF to use in actions to uphold its rights, land management and planning, etc.
To ensure that the information submitted does indeed pertain to community territories, it is necessary to identify the registering user (via their Natural Persons Register – CPF, in Portuguese) and to submit a copy of the Meeting Minute proving that the members of the community agree to the mapping and have authorised the user to conduct it. The Meeting Minute does not have to be certified by a notary but it is important to have a large number of community member signatures.
The Meeting Minute is the document that states that you have been authorised by your community to submit their information to the Tô no Mapa app. Gather your community, discuss the boundaries of your territory and the information requested by the app, and register the meeting in a Minute. You can find a template for a Meeting Minute on our website – all you have to do is print it or copy it, fill it with the correct information, and then take a readable picture of it or scan it before submitting the digital archive to the Tô no Mapa app.
When registering your community on the app, you will be requested to submit the Meeting Minute authorising the user to add the community to Tô no Mapa. You can find our Meeting Minute template here.
To print a community map via the Tô no Mapa app, open the app’s Side Menu and click on “Share report”. You can select how you want to share the report it, be it through WhatsApp, email, or other options. After that, the app will create an A4 format PDF file that can be printed on any printer.
Data and Safety
It is necessary to identify the registering user (via their Natural Persons Register – CPF, in Portuguese) and to submit a copy of the Meeting Minute proving that the members of the community (or a majority of them) agree to the mapping and have authorised the user to conduct it. The Meeting Minute does not have to be certified by a notary but it is important to have a large number of community member signatures.
When the mapping of the community is being undertaken and the data submitted to the app, no type of verification or checks are conducted regarding the accuracy or existence of the information provided, for which the user is totally responsible. When the inserted data reaches the Tô no Mapa database, a team will verify the information. If any changes are necessary, the team will reach out to the user through the app’s own messaging service.
Personal data used to register to the Tô no Mapa app are confidential. You will not disclose your personal data to anyone. Your name, phone number, Natural Persons Register – CPF, municipality, and state will be under our watch. This personal data is only used to confirm the veracity of the information submitted and to stay in touch with you. Your community data can be made public if you authorise us to do so.
Yours and your community’s data are protected by the General Data Protection Law. In order for the information to be disclosed, since the app’s main goal is to put communities on the map and to support the creation of public policies and other initiatives promoted by movements, networks, and social organisations, you will need to authorise it during the registration.
Keep an eye out for a checkbox on your screen asking you whether or not you agree to disclose your community’s data publicly! When the data is publicly disclosed, we can combine our strength to recognise and protect territories and better articulate public policy drafting focused on your region. It’s alright if you don’t want to make your community’s data publicly available! We will keep the information safe to strengthen your community internally.
The information is stored in a database managed by a group of institutions, comprised today of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), the Institute for Society, Population, and Nature (ISPN), and the Cerrado Network. The information stored on the database is not public and it is exclusively used in initiatives promoting the social and territorial rights of the communities. This data will not be disclosed to third parties under any circumstances.
The data submitted to the Tô no Mapa initiative falls under the scope of the General Data Protection Law (LGPD or LGPDP) – Law no. 13.709/2018.
In case you have submitted any information incorrectly, you can edit or delete your mapping and send it again to Tô no Mapa. If our team finds any issue regarding your mapping, you will be contacted through the app’s own messaging service but we will never alter the data submitted.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MAPPING
Maps are tools in the fight for rights. Many communities can’t count on maps to showcase the boundaries of their territories, their spaces of use, and areas where they face conflict. Furthermore, official maps in Brazil don’t depict an accurate reality of what happens on the field. In many cases, they show a demographic vacuum in regions that are home to many families.
It is paramount that rural communities be made visible and recognised in order to uphold their rights and guarantee socioenvironmental roles. Mapping is also an opportunity to broaden the knowledge of community members about their own territories, creating a stronger feeling of belonging and caring for their land. It is an opportunity to talk about the present uses and the future of the territory too.
Including your community’s territory on the app does not mean, under any circumstances, the legalisation, regularisation, or demarcation of the territory by the competent authorities. Nonetheless, mapping is still an important tool to establish a dialogue with society, to record the history of a territory, and it can be a first step towards having communities, especially those most threatened, consider when public policies are drafted.
Furthermore, this initiative works alongside the Traditional Territories Platform of the National Council of Traditional Peoples and Communities, created in partnership with the Federal Public Ministry to merge information about territories traditionally occupied by traditional peoples and communities. On the Tô no Mapa app itself, the user has the option of submitting the information about the mapped community directly to the platform, if they so choose.
The Traditional Territories Platform is an initiative of the National Council of Traditional Peoples and Communities (CNPCT) and the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) to merge information about territories traditionally occupied by traditional peoples and communities. To assemble this data is an enormous challenge because many communities are not included on the official government maps.
The Tô no Mapa app is integrated into the Traditional Territories Platform of the CNPCT. In this manner, the user registering a community on Tô no Mapa can opt to add some additional information and then send their registration to the CNPCT platform, where the registration is recorded following standard validation norms.
Communities opting to include their data on the CNPCT platform take an important step to officially document their own history. We hope that this information helps the Public Ministry in protecting communities and gearing society towards drafting policies and initiatives that ensure the preservation of rights, respect for the environment, and social development of rural communities across Brazil.
You do not need to use the Tô no Mapa app to register a community on the Traditional Territories Platform. This can be done directly on their website: territoriostradicionais.mpf.mp.br.
Now that you have inserted your personal information, the boundaries and data of your community onto the app, our team will:
- Confirm the documents and verify if the information is complete to validate your community’s registration. At this stage, it is important to stay tuned to the app because we will reach out to you through Tô no Mapa’s own messaging service (so keep the app running on your device).
- In our conversation with you, we might a) confirm and validate the registration or b) ask you to submit the information requested. In the event of this second scenario happening, do not worry, as small adjustments are normal to guarantee the information is correct and validate your community’s registration.
- Once your community’s registration is confirmed and validated, your personal data is protected. Your community’s data is processed and stored in our archives.
- If you have granted us permission to publicly use your community’s data during the registration process, we will canvass, conduct working partnerships, and research to promote and protect territories. If you have not granted us permission to disclose your community’s data, we will keep it confidential and use it internally in activities geared towards strengthening your community.
- Your community’s data and that of all other registered communities will be part of maps and dissemination material (studies, maps, research, articles, reports, and news items) so we can exert political pressure relating to the drafting of public policies for mapped communities and the legalisation of their territories.
It is a long-term task and we are on the move! Therefore, we have joined hands in this initiative to promote the use of the Tô no Mapa app: the more communities are registered, the greater our strength and louder our voices become in the quest to be officially recognised, valued, and protected.
Use this tool of resistance to empower your struggle too!