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Geography in the spotlight in 2016

Denise Pumain
Cet article est une traduction de :
Une année pour la géographie
Autre(s) traduction(s) de cet article :
Un año para la geografía

Texte intégral

12016 will concern geographers for several reasons. The academic year 2015-2016 was designated by the United Nations as the International Map Year. The International Council for Science, a non-governmental organization that gathers over 30 international scientific bodies, has also proclaimed that 2016 would be the International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU). This polysemous notion has the advantage of being understood as both an "international agreement" and a "worldwide understanding". The IYGU mainly refers to the second meaning but also implies the first one as its goal is to promote interdisciplinary and multiscale research on the interactions between the local and the global, whilst encouraging political initiatives that cleverly face global challenges linked to climate change, ecological transition, food security and population movements. Being experts on all forms of territorial intelligence, as the geographers who participated in the last conference on complex systems in Phoenix in September 2015 claimed to be, geographers are in the midst of all this.

2Although they did not come in numbers to the numerous events associated to the successful COP21 in Paris in 2015, they should be more present in the discussions that will be led by the International Union of Geological Sciences in 2016. The issue at stake will be to decide whether the Anthropocene should be considered as a geological era. Without going into the controversies over the beginning date of this period (the Neolithic age? the first contacts between Europe and America in the 15th century? the first industrial revolution? the mid-20th century nuclear age?) or over its indicators (atmospheric CO2? waste layer age?), let us note that considering it as such would formalize the links between natural and human sciences by placing these at the heart of scientific research. Will the audacious initial project, that of "covering the world" ("Couvrir le monde", by Robic et al., 2006) with "traditional geography", be revisited more efficiently by using the new tools of the digital age that transform our world by connecting all its components very rapidly and that allow us to study and represent its capacities to adapt?

3That the world evolves at various paces with growing inequalities highlights more than ever the social and political influence of geography, the same way that the explosion of data and the concomitant difficulties to select pertinent information remind us of our responsibility to communicate peer-reviewed results based upon acquired knowledge. In 2016 we also shall celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Cybergeo, created in April 1996; these principles pervade its editorial policies.

4The journal team wishes you a wonderful, fruitful and peaceful year!

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Denise Pumain, « Geography in the spotlight in 2016 », Cybergeo : European Journal of Geography [En ligne], Éditoriaux, mis en ligne le 14 janvier 2016, consulté le 19 septembre 2018. URL :

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