An app for the Anthropocene – Environnement Magazine

An app for the Anthropocene – Environnement Magazine
An app for the Anthropocene – Environnement Magazine
The National Institute of Geographic and Forestry Information (IGN) launched its new mobile application “IGN Maps” on May 15. Bringing together a unique selection of extremely rich maps and data, it allows you to explore a location using several filters and can be downloaded on all platforms.

“Thanks to a selection of the best cartographic and photographic funds and a wide variety of public data, it lifts the veil on the 90% of the territory (agricultural land, forests, beaches, etc.) made invisible by the applications of digital giants “, argues the Institute. With “IGN Maps”, it is possible to know the type of cultivation of a field, the species of a forest or the composition of a beach (sand or pebbles). Its interface also includes an interactive map which allows you to explore a place from new angles: how has my territory evolved in 30 years? in 200 years? what is there to discover 15 minutes or 1 hour around me?

A whole network of contributors
This application has the particularity of relying on the geoplatform of the institute and a whole network of contributors including ministries, the National Forestry Office (ONF), communities, regional and national parks, but also services departmental fire and rescue services (SDIS)… “The application chooses to offer our fellow citizens a perspective to understand the changes in the territory, as close as possible to their places of life or centers of interest”, specifies the Ministry of Ecology, which hosted the presentation of the application on May 15.

Interactive maps
Concretely, for people who had loaded the Géoportail application, a simple update will allow them to access “IGN Maps” which replaces it. The first notable change concerns its ergonomics: the map of the location where the geolocated user is now displayed. And like its Gafam counterparts, the map now becomes interactive with the possibility of clicking on points of interest such as a town hall, a recycling center or a restaurant… to see opening hours or a telephone number, data from the OpenStreetMap collaborative platform. The application also offers the sharing of its position, a route calculator (pedestrian or road only) and the calculation of isochrones (everything accessible within 5 minutes on foot, for example).

A vision of developments on the ground
If, with these features, the application meets the standard of Google Maps or Apple Maps, “IGN Maps” offers original content. Clicking on a building allows, for example, to display data on its date of construction, the number of floors or the nature of the use. Thanks to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and the ONF, it is also possible to know the type of cultivation of a field, the species of a forest or the composition of a beach (sand or pebbles). “IGN Maps” also allows you to go back in time by jointly displaying the most recent aerial photo with shots taken 10 years, or even 60 years earlier. The same operation can be done with base maps, thus highlighting the progression of artificialization and developments created by man.

Around twenty themes
In total more than twenty layers” are available. We thus find the topo 25 map dear to hikers, the land register, but also thematic layers on agriculture, forests, environmental zoning, risks or even the sea and the coast. The application finally includes an error reporting function and a module allowing you to create your own routes.

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