MadAtlas: The Critical Atlas of Madagascar

Maps are powerful tools for bringing order to the world. The project to create a Critical Atlas of Madagascar was born out of the idea of highlighting the power relations inherent in the whole process of cartographic production. In Madagascar, these power issues are particularly clear if one considers the history of forest mapping. From colonisation to the recent extension of protected areas for biodiversity conservation and community based management zones, the map serves the state or powerful NGOs, and very little the inhabitants who do not have control over it. Today, malagasy public institutions and inhabitants suffers from a lack of reliable data, tools for and access to cartographic information adapted to a context of digital precarity. Meanwhile new actors are emerging, as digital mapping platforms led by private actors from the Nords; or collaborative cartography, such as osm.

The Critical Atlas of Madagascar is project carried out by four research and teaching establishments in Madagascar and France (the University of Fianarantsoa in Madagascar where it will be based, the University Gustave Eiffel and the University Bordeaux Montaigne in France, the IRD and its agency in Madagascar), in conjunction with various public malagasy institutions. It will be an international scientific journal of critical cartography, publishing maps, as diverse as possible in their scales, the areas concerned, their methodologies, their technical supports and their subjects of analysis. It also intends to publish map reviews and a toolbox of cartographic methodologies. Special attention will be given to certain topics, such as social and gender inequalities, which are not often addressed at a detailed scale.