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Sharing environmental data

Partager l'information environnementale

Issues of open environmental data in Latin America

Enjeux des données environnementales libres en Amérique Latine

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Published on Friday, February 24, 2012 by Loïc Le Pape


Le séminaire « Partager l'information environnementale » propose de dresser un premier bilan des questionnements et débats liés à la diffusion de données environnementales en accès libre, dans la perspective d'une analyse de l'impact social et territorial de ce processus d'importance croissante. Articulant études de cas de diffusion et réflexions méthodologiques sur la mesure des impacts sociaux et territoriaux, ce séminaire porte prioritairement sur l'Amérique latine, mais est ouvert à des contributions d'autres continents. Il se tiendra à Porto Alegre du 23 au 24 août 2012 (Brésil).



Several convergent factors explain the current rising phenomenon of open environmental data diffusion. Permanent innovations in techniques are accompanied and driven by an increased demand by citizens to be informed about their environment, the recognition by states of a right to information, as well as an acceleration of environmental changes and the associated risks and conflicts they convey. In consequence, we can observe the multiplication of online biodiversity observatories, websites about environmental conflicts, geographical information systems, spatial data infrastructures and several other kinds of free-access databases or open environmental data. Due to its novelty and magnitude, this process has not yet been sufficiently analyzed, and several of the issues at stake for society have not yet been evaluated. What are the characteristics of free-access environmental information and its similarities and differences with other kinds of information? What are the dissemination strategies adopted by those who have decided to share their data and their technical options (kind of website, type of software…)? Is the social impact of the information diffused measurable? To what extent is this diffusion changing citizens’ perceptions of environmental problems, the development of environmental public policies and the possibility of exerting social control over these policies?

The seminar “Sharing Environmental Information” proposes to bring together people of different fields interested by the scientific, institutional and social implications of open environmental data. To start addressing some of the above mentioned questions, it is necessary to bring together the institutions in charge of data release, the potential users of this data and researchers from several disciplines. It is also necessary to encourage exchanges of specialists in seemingly separated themes (biodiversity, pollution, social conflicts, land use, etc.), or in different data formats (geographical data, statistical data, journalism, etc.), who together contribute to creating the “supply” of open data.


This event is an invitation to discuss the issues relating to the diverse Latin American initiatives to release open environmental data. How can the projects that diffuse environmental data be adapted to heterogeneous social and environmental contexts? Which technologies or data formats are best suited to inform citizens about environmental questions? How can transnational information systems be designed? How has the internet changed access to environmental information on the continent? What are the consequences of open data for environmental democracy and justice?
Our objective is to bring together people of several Latin American countries, to exchange and discuss experiences, with the participation of members of European institutions dedicated to environmental information. We will also present the preliminary results of the Baguala project, on the social uses of environmental data in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and France.


We invite all people or institutions interested to send a proposition for the seminar linked to at least one of the following axes:

1. Detailed presentations of open environmental data diffusion

Description of the project’s history, its technical and organizational aspects, its current applications, its evolution and its future prospects. This axis includes specific online projects (environmental observatories, spatial data infrastructures or gateway websites about a particular environmental theme) and more globally data release policies.

2. Methods of analyzing the supply of open environmental data (available data on the Web)

Presentation and/or comparison of methods of analysis, studies of the spatial heterogeneity of the territorial coverage of open data, identification of gaps in information relating to specific themes or territories, characterization of emerging actors in civil society who produce and release open data.

3. Open data and environmental governance

Public policies on open data release, political challenges in building open databases, ways of determining which data may or may not be released, role played today by open data in public environmental policies, new social uses of open environmental data.

4. How to measure the social impact of open environmental data?

Methods of measuring the social impacts, case studies, characterization of the main types of open data users, differentiation of the impacts according to the kind of data (spatial, statistic, iconic…).


We invite researchers, public or private institutions linked to issues of open data and users of these data (NGOs, consultants, associations, etc.) to propose a paper, related to the questions and the four axes detailed above.

Proposals (summarized in up to 450 words) will be accepted until the end of March 2012.

  •  Contact : Pierre Gautreau:
  • The scientific committee will establish a pre-program at the end of March 2012. To participate as a speaker, we invite you to send an extended summary of your paper (14,000 characters, not including spaces) for the 15th of July.
  • Papers may be presented in Portuguese, Spanish or English.
  • Extended summaries of the selected papers will be published on the Baguala project website. Following the seminar, the scientific committee will select a group of papers to be presented to a scientific journal or as the proceedings of the seminar.


Participation in the seminar as a speaker is free of charge. To attend the seminar as a member of the audience, the cost is 60 Reais. Please email for advance registration as a member of the audience.


  • Heinrich Hasenack (Universidad Federal de Rio Grande do Sul).
  • Gabriela Merlinsky (Universidad de Buenos Aires).
  • Pierre Gautreau (Université Panthéon Sorbonne).
  • Yuri Sandoval (Universidad Mayor de San Marcos)
  • Arilson Favareto (Universidade Federal do ABC, São Paulo)
  • Richard Raymond (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris)
  • Matthieu Noucher (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Bordeaux)


  • End of March 2012: selection of papers.
  • End of June 2012: establishement of the first accepted participants list.
  • 15th of July 2012: deadline for sending extended summaries by the accepted participants.
  • 30 of August: deadline for sending the complete manuscripts of accepted participants.


  • Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
    Porto, Portugal


  • Saturday, March 31, 2012

Attached files


  • open data, environment, latin america


  • Pierre Gautreau
    courriel : pierre [dot] gautreau [at] univ-paris1 [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Pierre Gautreau
    courriel : pierre [dot] gautreau [at] univ-paris1 [dot] fr

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« Sharing environmental data », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, February 24, 2012,

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