Informe de la Noche de la Geografía

Informe de la Noche de la Geografía

For the third consecutive year, geographers gathered on April 5th, 2019, for the Night of Geography (also called GeoNight). Stemming from France in 2017 and with support from EUGEO since the 2018 edition, the proposition of celebrating the geography discipline has drawn large crowds of students, teachers and researchers throughout Europe, Africa and Oceania. The original plan remains the same, simply  consisting in gathering people in one place in order to promote the geographical discipline in a recreational and open fashion. Targeted towards a wide audience, the events are, in most cases, free of charge. They combine scientific presentations, debates, walks as well as plenty of games aiming to show the playful side of geography. Shows and live performances are also organised at universities, in cultural buildings, in restaurants or even bars. In 2019, many countries and cities joined the GeoNight.

This year, Italy has been the country organising the most events (51), thanks to the Associazione Geografi Italiani (https://www.ageiweb.it/nottedellageografia2019/). and many Italian Universities. The events also took place in many countries including France (http://www.cnfg.fr/actualites/nuits-de-la-geographie/), Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania, Croatia, Ireland and New Zeland. In these countries, numerous events were carried out and attracted diverse crowds. Where organised, the events have become hugely popular:« In Italy it has been a great experience (51 events, 31 cities): the public loves this event and it is now becoming a… tradition! ». Hungary was also largely present with about 20 events organised throughout the country. In New Zealand the Night of Geography was taken up by three of the six branches of the New Zealand Geographical Society – Waikato, Manawatū, and Canterbury. The three branches that did run events all chose somewhat different strategies that fitted in with local circumstances. 

This year, we have also benefited of the support of the association “CartONG”, based in Chambéry (France). This association is specialised in the humanitarian mapping/cartography. In addition, the “Missing Map” event was paired with the GeoNight events, allowing a worldwide exposure. This is an international project that partners up well-established NGOs and local associations with the goal of mapping data coming from satellite images onto OpenStreetMap, a free and collaborative spatial database. This is called “mapathons”. These local initiatives allow to map areas that are not well-represented. On April 5th2019, 17 mapathons were organised simultaneously at the Université de Saint-Louis (Dakar, Senegal), in Bamako (Mali), in Calavi (Benin), in Lomé (Togo), in Antananarivo (Madagascar), in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo), in Paris, Lyon, Grenoble, Chambéry, Beauvais, Brest, Besançon, Pau, Perpignan (France), in Heidlberg (Germany), and in Milan (Italy)(http://www.cartong.org/fr/news/retrouvez-nous-3e-edition-nuit-de-la-geo).  The coordination was jointly managed by the CNFG and EUGEO  (http://www.eugeo.eu/nuitgeo-geonight.html ). Marion Lacroix (Master géomatique, Université de Cergy-Pontoise, France) has also created a collaborative map, showing most of the events organised worldwide (http://umap.openstreetmap.fr/it/map/world-map-of-the-geonights-2019_294736#3/20.47/-3.69).

The 4th edition of the Night of Geography will take place on April 3rd 2020. We hope that more countries, cities, national societies, and local and student associations will join us to the promotion of the geography discipline. This network will contribute to enlist all stakeholders and partners for the centenary of the International Geographical Union in 2022. Please contact IGU Vice President Prof. Nathalie Lemarchand from Paris for further details.

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