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Siam Mapped' and Mapping in Cambodia: Boundaries, Sovereignty, and Indigenous Conceptions of Space

Citation: Society and Natural Resources, 2002, 15, 1, 65-78

This article explores differences and similarities between the introduction of mapping into Thailand in the beginning of the nineteenth century and efforts to map customary land use in Cambodia at the end of the 20th century. The comparison suggests that indigenous conceptions of space have been overwhelmed by the need to have a location that can be recognized by political power. That mapping should not stop with the delineation of boundaries but needs to be carried to its conclusion in the recognition of the bundles of overlapping, hierarchical rights that define property. Finally, who does the mapping is not as essential as who controls the maps. Imbedded within the context of who makes and controls maps is the challenge of balancing the need for community participation?with implications for lower levels of technology and accuracy?against the need to establish legal rights to these lands?with implications for more sophisticated technology and greater accuracy.

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