CE55 - Sociétés et territoires en transition

From virtual globes to map blanks A cartographic immersion in narrating the story of global change – SPHEROGRAPHIA

Submission summary

In a fairly short time, virtual globes have become a key medium for the visualization of global change, promoted by scientific, political and NGO interests alike. Taking this as a starting point, SPHEROGRAPHIA proposes to reflect on the unequal geo-digitization of the world in terms of spatial justice through a two-pronged study: First, concerning the creation of such globes, to unravel the socio-technical processes that participate in the cartographic story relating to the Anthropocene and to reveal the disparity of their data; and secondly, concerning the effects of such devices, in order to decipher their performativity on both the imaginary and the political commitments of those who promote or feed them. The aim is to question these global environmental images in order to shed light on their uncertainties and the 'blank spaces' that they manipulate explicitly or implicitly. The ambition is also to study how, in the era of post-sovereign cartography, transnational coalitions are taking place in an attempt to make specific regions visible on these globes. The example of the Guiana Shield will serve as a case study. The scientific challenges are methodological (designing a method and a tool for visualizing data deserts), theoretical (integrating the informational dimension into work on spatial and environmental justice) and epistemological (rethinking critical approaches to cartography). The originality of the project is to use a subject that has not yet been fully articulated (virtual globes) in order to address the issue of informational equity of territories by combining a multi-scalar approach (spatial analysis, discourse analysis, geo-visualization, participatory observation, art/science creation) associating geography and geomatics, but also history, semiotics, and both the plastic and digital arts.

Project coordination

Matthieu Noucher (UMR 5319 PASSAGES)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CRH Centre national de la recherche scientifique
EVS Centre national de la recherche scientifique
LETG Nantes Université
PRODIG Université Panthéon-Sorbonne Paris 1
LISST Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès

Help of the ANR 245,035 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2022 - 36 Months

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