SPHEROGRAPHIA » WP2 Virtual globes

Virtual globes: : state of the art, history, aesthetics and uses


WP2 is organized in 3 closely related subtasks. First, it establishes an inventory of virtual globes (2.1). This inventory aims to place in its historical context theses scientific images in the narration of global changes and the emergence of virtual globes and to question their performativity on the imaginary (2.2). The analysis of their use in public actions15 allows us to evaluate the political effect (2.3).


2.1. Inventory of virtual globes. The completion of an original and collaborative inventory to qualify the virtual globes involved in various contexts is done via the deployment of a Web platform. A standard document, defined by the team, feeds a database that serves as a corpus for the analyses of the other subtasks. The contexts of production and use (scientific, documentary, fictional, etc.), the thematic contents (sources), the technical and semiotic modalities of visualization, and the discourses associated with these visuals are some of the items collected. A moderated crowdsourcing platform is set up with the support teams and then made available. Widespread communication encourages collaborative data collection. This task will initially be fed by project work integrated into the GeoNum masters degree curriculum. An internship will consolidate all the information collected (III.3).

2.2. Aesthetics and imaginary. From the corpus of WP2.1, a comparison between contemporary globes and global 19th environmental images is proposed. It is completed by aesthetic, semiotic analyses of their iconographic dimension. A series of interviews with public (NOAA, NASA...) or private (Google, Resource Watch...) producers to decipher their references and objectives leads to a discourse analysis.

2.3. Uses for public action. From the corpus of WP2.1, an analysis grid of images used in public action is developed. Statistical and lexical analyses allow us to study the place of virtual globes in context of their usage. Factor analysis and classification methods are considered in order to study a possible clustering of our corpus for classifying the different visiotypes. Lexicometrics analyzes the discourses associated with the visuals, both in the geoweb, the gray literature and the interviews and compares the various corpora. Statistical and textual analysis (Iramuteq, R) are used to study trends over time.

Résultats attendus

The WP2 feeds the project's website with:

  • A catalog of virtual globes with a typology created with statistical and lexicometric analysis, as well as visual representation of the results. The whole is made freely available via an online dashboard and a gitlab instance.
  • An input form to report the existence of uncounted items
  • Publications associated with the analyses conducted on this corpus.