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Presentation : LETG

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The CNRS created the joint research unit LETG in 1996 to bring together geography research conducted at four Universities (Nantes, Brest, Rennes and Caen). Since its inception, it has actively pursued an increasingly effective process of scientific integration that optimizes member organization to achieve scientific objectives determined by the national and international priorities in its field of investigation.

LETG studies geography of the environment. With its expertise in human geography, physical geography and geomatics, its scientific program aims to contribute to knowledge on nature-society interactions through a modelling and integrative approach lying at the geographical interfaces between land, sea and atmosphere. Over successive research contracts, scientific results on different issues in this vast field of research have been obtained using a resolutely spatial and spatio-temporal approach. The unit’s command of geographic methods and tools – both significantly impacted by the emergence of the digital era in the 1990s – and the field experience gained over many years and in different environments, has led to the integration of several research groups and active participation in the progressive application of a broader and multifaceted interdisciplinarity regarding not only other Humanities and Social Science disciplines, but also Sciences of the Universe, Life Sciences and ICT.

The LETG project fully matches the INEE-CNRS scientific outlook as it focuses on several research priorities of societal interest relating to the functioning and evolution of coastal and continental systems affected by different dynamics. These include the consequences of climatic hazards on bio-/abiotic environments and on man and his activities, changes in uses and practices and their interactions with resources, and the contribution of new tools for environmental governance.
LETG’s research uses a wide range of spatial and temporal scales – the former ranging from local to global and the latter from the present (for some localized data) to the Holocene to account for long-term changes and to predict future scenarios. These scales are used in scientific themes based on different inputs from the digital processing of geographic information (image processing, spatial analysis and modelling-simulation).

The three-pronged systemic/spatial/temporal input is organized on the basis of modelling and forward-looking approaches. It uses methods and tools for data acquisition, analysis, representation and dissemination that are subject to reflective and critical analyses on their effective contribution, particularly in relation to societal challenges in the field of digital humanities.

The laboratory focuses on two specific investigative areas, which both face a variety of issues that are directly or indirectly linked to the multi-scalar consequences of climatic and socio-economically driven global changes: littoral (the sea and coastal catchment areas) and continental environments. The experiments carried out using digital innovations feed a reflective and critical approach to concepts and methods while remaining attentive to public action, hence the organization of the scientific program into three research themes:
- Littoral
- Continental Environments
- Remote sensing – Geomatics

These three themes are methodologically supported by RASTER, the French Scientific and Technical Support Network for Research.

LETG, which is attached to the Institute of Ecology and Environment (INEE) of CNRS, is present on six sites in the west of France: Angers, Brest, Caen, Dinard, Nantes and Rennes. It operates under the CNRS, EPHE, Université d’Angers, Université de Brest, Université de Caen, Université de Nantes and Université de Rennes 2.

The laboratory has developed different strategies to internationalize its research in a bid to access other schools of thought and different ways of doing things, so as to enrich its theoretical and practical approaches.

The organization of LETG, whose overall functioning is governed by an internal regulation code, is based on a committee that meets three times a year, a scientific steering committee and an annual general meeting.
The unit’s Council includes seven ex-officio members (the Unit Director and the six Deputy Directors responsible for the site), 11 elected members representing the three main user categories and two appointed members.

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