La donnée géographique aux frontières des organisations: approche socio-cognitive et systémique de son appropriation

Geographic Information Technologies are now widespread. Geomatics tools are no longer restricted to a small number of technicians but impact on all of the actors within the land management sector (planners, geologists, foresters…). Many partnerships have emerged due to the increasing number of GIS expert as well as the increasing needs of integrated land approaches. Beyond their original purpose of basic map dissemination, these groups require spatial data infrastructures in order to organize thematic data coproduction. That is the reason why a switch is occurring : from spatial data sharing to spatial knowledge sharing. In this context, the thesis intends to understand and analyse the issues of this new inter-organizational geomatics. Spatial data build a territorial reality reflecting experience and expectations of its producer. That is the reason why the issues are numerous. How can spatial data be simultaneously the result of collective negotiation as well as the object of individual representation? So, the aim of this research is to understand the role of spatial data on the cooperation process of land managers (and stakeholders in land management). In order to give an answer, we choose to study the spatial data appropriation process. This process opens the analysis of how data can be used by a group that has not produced the data itself, as well as in a multi-actor context. We adopt a qualitative, inductive and exploratory methodology called "grounded theory" to build and specify our working hypothesis throughout the research. Four iterations allow a "round-trip" process between empirical observations and theoretical analysis thus progressively exploring different aspects of explanation. A socio-cognitive approach, supported by observations, analyzes spatial data as a boundary-object in a socially and cognitively distributed actor network. Distributed cognition theory offers a framework to understand data as a cognitive and collaborative artefact. Eight exploratory case studies help to identify typical appropriation trajectories, factors and socio-cognitive processes. A systemic approach is applied to the results in order to propose an integrated and complementary vision of appropriation trajectories. The systemic framework of Eric Schwarz is used to highlight the importance of mediation process and focuses on the emergence of spatial knowledge sharing. Finally, an action agenda can be emerge from an assessment of this new way to analyze the interorganizational geomatics. This agenda comprises organisation (from consensus or compromise to an argumentative consensus process), actors (from animator to a facilitator competence) and technology (from standardizing ontologies to negociating ontologies). This research offers a different vantage point on the spatial data question. Systemic and socio-cognitive approaches suggest a new integration of knowledge and information in the context of geographical information technologies. The thesis therefore provides understanding and operation elements so that spatial data sharing can progressively evolve into geomatics learning networks, also termed "communities of practice".

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