MITI successfully holds workshop on Observatories and Geographic Information Systems at the Paris Île-de-France Regional Centre

The first training session of the Euro-Mediterranean Paris Île-de-France Regional Centre of the Metropolis International Training Institute (EMRC-MITI) on the theme of “Observatories and Geographic Information Systems: Monitoring, Evaluation and Decision Support Tools” was held from 9 to 13 December 2013 at the Institute for Urban Planning and Development of the Paris Île-de-France Region (IAU îdF).

This workshop comprehensively addressed the topic of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The training programme, developed by a panel of international experts, revolved around the Basics of Observation and Observatories; Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Concept, Operation and Use; Observation and Urban Management at the Municipal Level; Territory Observation and GIS: From a National to a Regional Level; and Thematic Case Studies on Decision Support Tools. This first session mainly targeted decision-makers and community leaders (elected officials and executives) of the Metropolis network.

Technical and strategic tools, essential for observatories, capable of mobilising and pooling a range of human, financial and institutional resources for the same project, GIS are conducive to structuring land management and facilitating decision-making with a view to implementing effective public action.

Laboratories of local partnerships, GIS are part of a context of networking and coordination by integrating technological innovations as well as all the stakeholders in the territory in order to foster its sustainable development. They allow the city in all its facets (physical, social, economic and environmental) to be understood, providing local decision-makers and citizens with a proactive tool for the urban planning of their city or metropolitan region.

Veritable citizen information tools, GIS also cover interactive mapping tools (the IAU’s Visiau), allowing greater citizen involvement in decision-making and projects implemented by elected officials, and contributing to local democracy.

This first training session of the Paris regional centre of MITI focussed on the work of the IAU îdF, particularly at regional level (RGIS), presenting the work carried out on the Regional Master Plan (SDRIF) for the Île-de-France Region for 2030 and the IAU’s Visiau interactive web mapping applications. The maps presented in the different Visiau allow many new areas to be covered: planning, housing and urban policies, economic activity, transportation, built heritage, natural and technological risks, the environment, sport, health, etc., and are accessible to authorities, organisations and companies upon subscription. Technological advances and map modelling thanks to 3D applications make these tools increasingly refined and accurate (interactive and, at times, recreational models; story maps, etc.).

The IAU îdF also presented the key stakeholders and partners of the geographic information systems which participated in the five days of training: the National Geographic and Forestry Information Institute (IGN) ,which constitutes the point of reference for geographic information in France and seeks to establish a single point of information on urban planning. The company ESRI France (, one of the leading designers and providers of mapping tools, which works in conjunction with the IAU, among others, was able to present their work and projects (ArcGIS), as well as APUR, the Paris Urban Planning Agency which analyses changes in the urban landscape and society and works on theme-based observatories (climate, the environment, the metropolis of Paris, the Atlas of Grand Paris and the Paris region, etc.).

The workshop was completed by a visit to the extension of La Défense district and the city of Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine Department), as well as a presentation of the Pavillon de l’Arsenal (a centre for information, documentation and exhibition for urban planning and architecture of Paris).

The training session brought together 12 participants, which included representatives from the cities of Rabat, East Jerusalem (Palestine) and the Dakar region and facilitated an exchange on the respective practices of these cities but, in particular, their specific needs in order to improve their current GIS equipment and to help them put urban observatories within their communities in place.

The next workshop of the Paris regional centre of MITI will take place in April 2014 and will address climate change. Information on this workshop will be posted soon on our website.

Download the presentations here (only available in french):


"Observatories and GIS: tools for assessment, monitoring and decision support" by Chantal Pinchon, Director of Resources and territorial knowledge

"The use of geographic reference data in urban studies" 

The information obtained from aerial photographs


What is GIS? Uses and contributions to a metropolitan Scale by Gaëtan Lavenu,Responsible Technology Watch / Geo-Evangelist

You can find the entire workshop programme of the METROPOLIS International Training Institute (MITI) network in Cairo, Mashhad, Mexico City, Paris and Seoul for 2014 on

See the pictures of this workshop here.

About the IAU îdF

Foundation chaired by the President of the Île-de-France Regional Council since 1982, the IAU is a resource centre on sustainable regional development which aims to put forward and ensure the monitoring of planning and development policies, exercising foresight and strategic planning in order to better anticipate the changes to come. The IAU has shared its expertise for the last 40 years: its experts have undertaken more than 350 missions in the framework of multilateral or local contracts, decentralised cooperation agreements in the Île-de-France Region and international urban networks such as METROPOLIS. The IAU îdF is a reference point as regards land use models, national and metropolitan development plans, theme-based or methodological support tools (urban planning, transport, environmental assessment). For further details, please see