QHAPAQ ÑAN | Inventario geo-fotográfico de las rutas incas.

Inca road system: geo-photographic and documentary inventory

Qhapaq Ñan, a geo-photographic and documentary inventory of the inca road system (2007-2012)



Qhapaq Ñan.org is a geographic data base comprising geolocalized photos, videos and testimonies across 3500 kms of Inca roads, along the Qhapaq Ñan. The base is designed to i) provide a broadly accessible pedagogical tool ii) focus on landscapes and elements of human geography iii) enabling collective work by different contributors.

The website includes:

  • a geographic inventory of landscapes and contemporary life focusing on the expression of cultures and societies along the Qhapaq Ñan in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina : pictures, oral histories, landscapes...
  • a corpus of photos, audios and videos oral histories taken duly annotated, documented, commented and indexed, freely accessible to all by means of a multi-criteria and updatable search engine;
  • a Google map of GPS localized data available for the first time on the net.

The inventory

The inventory of the network of pre-columbian paths and Inca road system is divided into ten categories:

  • Cardinal points (GPS localization with four photos -North 360°, West 90°, South 180°, East 270°- taken  every 12 or 15 kilometers along 3,000 kilometers);
  • Four geographical settings  ("Natural space", "Rural space", Industrial space", "Urban space"), each classified  according to landscapes, settlements, technologies, means of communication, transport infrastructures and public utilities, (energy,  telecoms,  water).
  • Four items  related to human activities ("Human beings", "Construction and civil or religious architecture", "Artefacts", "Archeological or heritage sites") describing Andean cultures and societies in their environments: types of informal economy, life scenes, public infrastructure, beliefs, etc.
  • A section giving testimonies of people living in the regions surveyed (priests, miners, farmers, guides, students...), as well as group life scenes (masses, pilgrimages, street protests...): so far about twenty hours of audio recording and video.

 The inventory also includes:

  • For each pictures and sounds, annotated, documented, commented and indexed sheets  with date of recording, location, main ecosystem, and, eventually, key words, GPS localization data and altitude, short description of the Qhapaq Ñan and how far it is used today, name of the authors and a detailed presentation of the local context and issues. 
  • A google map of the Qhapaq Ñan showing several hundreds of geo-referenced points.

Geographic database : here.

Oral histories, recordings, and contemporary life

Thanks to sound and testimony recordings, we intend to present a diversified and non homogeneous representation of the inca roads system, differing from the predominant state supported patrimonial approach, which tends to isolate the roads from their social and cultural context. The idea is to put the spotlight not on the Qhapaq Ñan per se, but rather on oral histories, social and cultural lives of the people living there and on their relationships to their environment.

These thirty hours of interviews and sounds recording (priests, miners, students, musicians, children, painters or farmers, as well as religious ceremonies, community radio programs, speeches at village markets or pilgrimage sites) were recorded by Sébastien Jallade. Part of this work was used for the documentary film, "Qhapaq Ñan, la voix des Andes".

  • All the oral histories and recordings : here

© Qhapaq-Nan.org - Sébastien Jallade. All rights reserved, texts, photos, images and sound, 2010.