Abstract: This project comes from a concern that Tangentyere Council had with the ABS census count of people living in town camps: 973 in August 2001 (ABS 2002). The council had long believed that the census counts were extremely low. The use of this ‘official’ population has affected the level of services for people in town camps, resources for Tangentyere Council, the ability to lobby for services and continues to deny the existence of the town camps and their residents. This concern, and issues associated with visitors to town camps, had been discussed by the Tangentyere Council executive for some time and a submission was developed in conjunction with the Centre for Remote Health (CRH) to conduct research into population and mobility. The proposal was put to the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (DK-CRC) and funded in May 2004. The research model used was a development from previous research undertaken by Tangentyere Council. The aim of Tangentyere Council has been to develop a research model that ensures Aboriginal direction, ownership, participation and accountability back to Aboriginal people.