Mapping Papoutsa using GPS to map a historic trail in Ayios by sofiaie


									Mapping Papoutsa: using GPS
to map a historic trail in Ayios
Theodoros Agrou, Cyprus                                                                   Dr Robert Barratt
The	 following	 article	 discusses	 the	 challenge	 to	 locate	 and	 map	 a	 religious	 and	 historic	 trail	
in	 the	 village	 of	 Ayios	 Theodoros	 Agrou,	 Cyprus	 (map	 1,	 photo	 1),	 using	 Global	 Positioning	
System	(GPS)	technology.	This	was	a	community	education	initiative	formulated	with	the	Ayios	

Theodoros	Agrou	Friends	Association	in	January	                                            1
2006,	 to	 try	 and	 map	 a	 long	 lost	 religious	 trail	
from	the	Greek	Orthodox	village	church,	Panayia	
Kivotos,	to	the	summit	of	nearby	Mount	Papousta	
(photo	2).	In	previous	times	this	trail	was	walked	
every	Tuesday	after	Easter	Sunday	by	the	whole	
village,	including	children	(photo	3).	No	one	knows	
exactly	 when	 this	 ceremony	 started,	 or	 indeed	
the	 last	 time	 it	 was	 walked.	 The	 church	 dates	
back	to	the	16th	century	and	possesses	a	unique	
religious	icon	that	dates	back	to	the	17th	century;	
the	 villagers	 carried	 the	 icon	 to	 the	 summit	 for	
worship	(photo	4).

This	 participatory	 project	 was	
undertaken	in	August	2006	with	three	
senior	members	of	the	village	and	two	
teenage	boys	(both	have	grandparents	
living	 in	 the	 village	 but	 their	 parents	
left	the	village	in	their	youth,	like	many	
others).	 One	 of	 the	 boys	 had	 heard	
of	the	trail	and	its	significance	for	his	
village	 but	 had	 never	 walked	 the	 trail	
before.	 One	 of	 the	 senior	 members	
of	the	village,	Nikitas,	acted	as	guide,	
recalling	the	trail	from	his	youth.	As	the	                                                             2

20	     							mapping news	Issue	31	Winter	2006	            	
                                                         Ayios Theodoros Agrou
                                                         The	 village	 of	 Ayios	 Theodoros	 Agrou	 lies	 in	 the	 Pitsilia	 region	 of	 the	
                                                         Troodos	mountain	range,	with	a	resident	population	of	around	100.	This	
                                                         is	the	third	highest	village	in	Cyprus,	lying	approximately	1	000	m	above	
                                                         sea	 level.	 The	 village	 nestles	 at	 the	 foot	 of	 Papousta,	 approximately	
                                                         1	552	m	above	sea	level	and	one	of	seven	high	peaks	in	the	mountain	
                                                         range.	The	village	can	be	reached	by	good	roads	and	is	approximately	
                                                         50	km	 from	 Lefkosia	 and	 30	km	 from	 Limassol.	 At	 the	 heart	 of	 the	
                                                         village	there	are	now	only	three	churches,	Saint	Theodor,	Saint	George	
                                                         and	Panayia	Kivotos;	there	used	to	be	seven.	

                                                         The	population	of	the	village,	like	others	in	Cyprus,	has	declined	over	
trail	has	not	been	used	since	the	early	1970s	           the	years	as	young	people	have	left	the	village	to	find	work	in	Lefkosia	
we	were	unsure	whether	we	would	be	able	to	              and	Limassol.	Consequently,	the	village	now	has	an	ageing	population	
locate	 it,	 and	 indeed	 whether	 or	 not	 it	 would	   and	 a	 declining	 agrarian	 economy.	 Many	 village	 families	 now	 live	 in	
still	be	intact	and	passable	on	foot.                    the	cities	and	return	to	the	village	in	the	summer	to	their	former	family	
                                                         home,	 many	 of	 which	 have	 become	 vacation	 residences.	 Today	 the	
  4                                                      village	 is	 facing	 the	 challenge	 of	 preserving	 its	 cultural	 heritage	 and	
                                                         surviving	as	a	viable	community.	The	village	formed	its	Ayios	Theodoros	
                                                         Agrou	Friends’	Association	in	the	early	1980s.	The	Association,	whose	
                                                         membership	 includes	 mostly	 village	 family	 members,	 many	 of	 whom	
                                                         now	live	elsewhere,	is	active	in	community	regeneration	projects	and	
                                                         fund‑raising.	For	example,	it	has	built	a	thriving	coffee	shop	and	a	new	
                                                         cultural	centre	and	has	engaged	in	tree	planting	and	other	social	events.	
                                                         The	village	is	keen	to	develop	a	sustainable	economy	based	on	some	
                                                         form	of	tourism.	Some	nearby	villages	have	established	agro‑tourism,	
                                                         encouraged	by	the	Cypriot	government.	Agro‑tourism	is	promoted	by	
                                                         the	Cyprus	government	and	involves	tourists	in	experiencing	traditional	
                                                         village	rural	life	styles	(	It	is	
                                                         thought	that	this	project	might	support	the	village	to	develop	its	own	
                                                         tourist	 economy	 whilst	 preserving	 its	 cultural	 heritage.	 For	 example,	
                                                         it	 is	 hoped	 that	 hotels	 in	 nearby	 villages	 might	 add	 this	 trail	 to	 their	
The	trail	originally	started	at	the	village	church	      current	portfolio	of	walking	trails	for	visitors.
(photo	 5)	 and	 followed	 village	 paths	 to	 the	
mountain,	then	traversed	the	south‑east	side	              6
of	the	mountain	to	the	summit,	returning	on	the	
north‑east	 side	 of	 the	 mountain	 back	 to	 the	
village.	At	the	summit	there	is	a	semi‑circular	
stone	site	known	as	the	church	(photo	3).	If	the	
trail	and	summit	church	could	be	found,	it	was	
then	 intended	 to	 generate	 a	 digital	 waypoint	
and	photographic	record	of	the	route.	Later,	a	
stand‑alone	virtual	tour	of	the	route	would	be	
created	for	the	new	village	cultural	centre.


                                                         Rediscovering a historic trail
                                                         Due	to	the	terrain	and	high	temperatures	(sometimes	over	34°C	in	August)	
                                                         the	walkers	started	at	7	am	just	after	daybreak	and	took	2½	hours	to	
                                                         complete	the	trail.	Each	person	was	assigned	a	different	responsibility.	
                                                         These	included	first	aid,	waypoint	input	into	the	GPS,	photography,	trail	
                                                         finding	 and	 hazard	 awareness.	 Data	 recording	 of	 elevation,	 heading,	
                                                         distance	 travelled	 and	 travel	 time	 were	 also	 taken.	 There	 are	 many	
                                                         poisonous	 snakes	 in	 the	 area	 and	 so	 each	 person	 carried	 a	 walking	
                                                         stick.	Also	there	was	loose	material	on	the	slopes	and	so	in	places	the	

                                           mapping news	Issue	31	Winter	2006	                  21
  7                                                          8

walkers	had	to	slide	down	sections	of	the	trail.	
Some	sections	of	the	trail	were	still	in	evidence,	
although	 others	 were	 now	 overgrown	 (photo	
7)	or	covered	in	loose	rock	(photo	8)	and,	so,	
difficult	 to	 locate.	 Nevertheless,	 the	 guide	
was	 able	 to	 successfully	 navigate	 the	 trail	 to	
the	summit	and	the	stone	church,	with	some	
minor	deviations	from	the	original	trail	on	the	
descent.	The	route	was	demanding,	including	
steep	 and	 unconsolidated	 paths	 (photo	 9),	
and	 highlighted	 the	 annual	
challenge	 that	 must	 have	                                         9
been	 faced	 by	 the	 village	
community.	 There	 were	
incredible	 views	 of	 the	
Troodos	 mountains,	 the	
surrounding	villages	(photo	
10)	 and	 the	 coast	 to	 the	
south.	 The	 fauna	 and	 flora	
observed	 include	 some	
rare	 species	 of	 plants	 that	
are	 only	 found	 in	 this	 part	
of	 the	 island:	 aoratos	 and	
latzia;	villagers	are	proud	of	
the	fact	that	latzia	can	only	
be	found	in	Cyprus.	

A	 hand‑held	 GPS	 supported	 by	 a	 magnetic	
compass	 was	 used	 to	 record	 140	 waypoints	                      10
along	 the	 trail,	 at	 every	 significant	 turn	 in	 the	
route,	 and	 each	 was	 assigned	 a	 number.	 At	
each	waypoint	elevation,	heading,	trip	time	and	
distance	travelled	was	recorded.	A	camera	was	
used	 to	 photograph	 views	 from	 some	 of	 the	
waypoints.	 The	 trail	 was	 approximately	 8km	
long.	 This	 includes	 village	 footpaths,	 mountain	
paths	and	tracks	and	now	some	metalled	roads.	
The	climb	from	the	village	to	the	summit	is	554	m	
and	took	the	group	one	hour.	The	descent	took	
1½	 hours.	 As	 there	 are	 no	 publically	 available	
digital	 maps	 of	 Cyprus,	 the	 waypoint	 data	 was	
downloaded	and	overlaid	over	a	Google®	Earth	
image	(Google	Earth	images	1,	2	and	3)	and	will	
be	 published	 to	 the	 Internet.	 The	 photographs	
have	been	linked	to	the	waypoint	data	using	the	
Google	Earth	software.	Google	Earth	provides	a	
clear	 3‑D	 image,	 which	 can	 be	 manipulated	 to	
provide	endless	perspectives	of	the	topography.	

22	     							mapping news	Issue	31	Winter	2006	                	
    How to use Google Earth

    1.	 Connect	your	GPS	(Garmin®	or	
        Magellan®)	to	your	PC.
    2.	 Upload	your	data	to	Google	Earth	
        Plus.	You	do	need	to	subscribe	
        to	the	Google	Earth	‘plus’	option	
        ($20	for	the	year).	Follow	menu	
        prompts	from	Google.
    3.	 Assign	images	to	each	waypoint.
    4.	 You	can	rotate	the	image	route	
        through	360	degrees.
    5.	 Save	different	views	of	your	route	
        to	file	(see	examples).                               2

Future plans
This	 trail	 is	 culturally	 important	 to	 the	 village	
and	 has	 wider	 significance	 for	 the	 island	 of	
Cyprus	 and	 the	 Orthodox	 Greek	 Church.	
There	 seems	 to	 be	 increasing	 interest	 in	
walking,	 establishing	 significant	 cultural	 and	
nature	 trails	 in	 Cyprus	 and	 across	 Europe,	
for	 example,	 with	 the	 development	 of	 the	
European	 long	 distance	 path	 E4	 in	 Cyprus	
(Cyprus	 Tourism	 Organisation,	 2005).	 The	
village	 Cultural	 Centre	 plans	 to	 produce	 a	             3
stand‑alone	 virtual	 presentation	 of	 the	 trail	
and	 hopes	 that	 in	 the	 future	 tourists	 and	
people	from	village	families	will	follow	the	trail	
and	 perhaps	 reinstate	 the	 Easter	 tradition.	
Before	 this,	 the	 Village	 Association	 wishes	
to	 be	 involved	 in	 restoring	 the	 trail	 to	 make	
it	 safe,	 providing	 signposts	 along	 the	 way	
and	 producing	 educational	 materials.	 Since	
this	project	the	Association	has	met	with	the	
Minister	from	the	Ministry	for	Agriculture	and	
Natural	Resources,	to	discuss	the	implications	
for	reinstating	the	trail.	The	GPS	data	from	this	
project	will	be	made	available	to	the	Ministry.             a	hand‑held	GPS,	digital	camera	and	an	Ordnance	Survey	map,	you	can	
                                                            record	and	create	your	own	trail.	Google	Earth	adds	a	3‑D	perspective	
In	the	light	of	the	success	of	this	project	there	is	       and	the	ability	to	view	the	trail	from	different	directions	and	elevations.	
discussion	to	generate	a	street	map	of	the	village,	        This	work	would	contribute	to	pupils’:
and	of	the	footpath	trails	that	historically	linked	        •	 local	citizenship	through	community	participation;
Ayios	 Theodoros	 Agrou	 with	 the	 surrounding	            •	 local	historical	and	geographical	knowledge;
villages.	 Before	 the	 car	 arrived	 in	 Cyprus,	          •	 spatial	and	mapping	skills;	and	
villagers	 regularly	 walked	 between	 villages	 for	       •	 ICT	skills	through	the	use	of	mapping	technology.
trade	and	social	purposes,	for	example,	there	is	
a	well	known	walk	to	Agios	Ioannis.	                        Acknowledgements
                                                            I	would	like	to	thank	the	following	
                                                            •	 Ayios	Theodoros	Agrou	Friends’	Association.	
Ideas for schools                                           •	 Michalis	Sideris.
This	project	could	be	replicated	by	schools	that	           •	 Nikitas	Ioannou	(trail	guide),	Panikos	Komodromos,	Kypros	Panayiotou,	Christos	Christoforou.	
have	an	interest	in	local	community	participation.	         •	 Manolis	Kroussaniotakis.
                                                            •	 Ordnance	Survey	for	technical	advice	and	publication	support.
Teachers	 may	 be	 interested	 in	 working	 with	           •	 Constantinos	Sideris	is	the	chairperson	of	the	Ayios	Theodoros	Agrou	Friends.		
pupils,	families	and	other	members	of	the	local	            	   Association	and	for	further	information	can	be	contacted	at
community	 to	 research	 and	 locate	 significant	
historic,	religious	and	nature	trails,	and	sites	of	        References
interest	to	the	community	here	in	the	UK.	The	              Cyprus	Tourism	Organisation	(2005)	European	Long	Distance	Path	E4	and	other	Cyprus	
                                                            Nature	Trails,	Cyprus	Tourism	Organisation.
methodology	is	relatively	simple;	with	the	use	of	

                                                  mapping news	Issue	31	Winter	2006	                        23

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