This profusion of local data opens up unprecedented scientific possibilities for more detailed monitoring of the practices and representations of individuals and the contexts in which they evolve, within local territories. These developments should make it easier to respond to a demand for more detailed and more individualised observation on the part of actors in decentralised territorial policies, as well as to citizens' desire to gain a better understanding of the living spaces in which they live. However, they also raise delicate questions that refer to several dimensions, not only methodological (cross-referencing of heterogeneous and often 'siloed' data) but also theoretical (notably on the notion of local level, the relevant levels of observation of local phenomena, which are not necessarily confused with the spatial resolution of data dissemination), of a legal nature (access to individual data, confidentiality, commercial value of data, etc.) as well as of a political nature (decision support for public territorial actors, private economic actors, citizens...).
With a strong methodological component, this structuring axis is characterised by the diversity of the themes addressed, which are reflected in past actions. Its objective is to circulate questions and innovations (in terms of concepts, methods and/or tools) between researchers, teacher-researchers, doctoral students and engineers from the various CIST teams. It is also a question of giving an opportunity to CIST's structuring themes to cross their approaches when they question the collection, manipulation and valorisation of local data.
The activities planned for 2019-2023 are structured around three sub-themes.
A first sub-theme addresses the issue of making local data of an increasingly diverse and heterogeneous nature and format consistent.
Starting from open access data, the aim is to set up a common analysis grid of what the new local data disrupt within the processing chain usually allowing to go from local data to local territorial information: in terms of acquisition and collection, data pre-processing (data quality analysis, formatting constraints), processing (crossing between generic data and data coming from the digital revolution, between numerical and textual data, etc. ) and uses (construction of indicators for decision support, reflection on the visualisation of 'tangible data' for the general public, etc.).
This sub-theme considers issues of data representativeness and focuses primarily on metropolitan examples, as an extension of the Grandes métropoles project, but may address other territories depending on the investment of researchers and engineers from other areas (e.g. cross-border, land artificialisation, coastal territories, etc.).
The privileged terrain of these reflections is constituted by a data set common to the different themes addressed in a few large metropolises. While these cities are affected by accelerated dynamics of social, economic or environmental recomposition, which call for the implementation of new observation and visualisation systems, the linking of elementary data using different spatial resolutions or temporalities is increasingly complex.
Launched by the Local Territorial Information theme in 2015, the project aims to set up a database of local and comparable data in some of the world's major metropolises, with a dual purpose:
- Feed the questions raised in the initial project of the theme (on the coupling of heterogeneous data, on the uses of local territorial information)
- Feed inter-theme work from a common "sandbox"
A third sub-theme examines the new contexts of production and use of local data linked to participatory citizen initiatives and the multiplication of citizen-sensor initiatives. A special example will be developed from the AirCitizen project on the individual uses of air pollution data in cities. It will be a question of thinking upstream about the involvement of individuals in the manufacture of sensors and in measurement campaigns, as well as imagining downstream several possibilities for the graphic and cartographic restitution of these data from a web platform fed in real time by the sensors' measurements. This last point raises issues of various kinds, ranging from the visualisation of low-density point data to the representation of data for the general public. The issue of citizen-sensors also touches on the legal context of the production of these data and the normative frameworks for the protection of these individual data.