Supports d’information

23 août 2012


Ci-dessous des documents supports de présentation de la suite Cairo et de ses spécificités comparativement à d’autres outils ou portails d’information statistiques localisées (un document argumentaire détaillé et un document de synthèse sous forme de slides, en français et en anglais)

Français Anglais
document détaillé Presentation SuiteCairo complete lls.odt SuiteCairoTools V1.odt
version courte Presentation SuiteCairo version courte lls.odt
synthèse sous forme de slides Maquette de presentation en SLIDES.odt slides presentation SuiteCairoV1.odt

Sommaire du document détaillé en français et en anglais

Aperçu de la SuiteCairo

Les spécificités de la SuiteCairo

  • Un outil de travail professionnel
  • Un outil d’exploration et de ciblage des contextes territoriaux
  • Un outil de scénarisation de données

Des méthodes robustes et accessibles à la compréhension de tous

  • Façonnage, valorisation et partage des métadonnées et des requêtes
  • Visualisation des données et export des données incorporées
  • Un outil adapté aux situations de travail déconcentrées avec des sources fragmentées et hétérogènes

Les outils

  • La SuiteCairo
  • GaïaMundi
  • La Rose des Vents
  • PageCarto
  • Le réseau de Sites « filleuls » de GaïaMundi

Relations avec les outils d’information statistique localisée existants ou en développement

  • Relation avec les Systèmes d’information géographique.
  • Relation avec les banques de données en ligne dotées d’interfaces de visualisation.
  • Relation avec les portails collaboratifs, de construction et de partage d’information (tel que le projet info-dev de l’ESCWA sur le développement).

SuiteCairo, une approche systémique .

View of SuiteCairo 1

Characteristics of SuiteCairo 3

A professional tool 3

·  Robust methods within everyone’s reach 4

·  Valuation and sharing of data, metadata and requests 4

·  Data viewing and export of incorporated data 5

·  Particularly suited to deconcentrated working situations and use of fragmented and heterogeneous sources 5

SuiteCairo Tools 6

·  SuiteCairo 6

·  GaïaMundi 6

·  WindRose  7

·  PageCarto 8

·  The GaïaMundi network of platforms sub sites 9

Relating to existing or developing localized information tools 9

·  Relating to geographic information systems (GIS) 9

·  Relating to online databases with visualization interfaces 11

·  Relating to collaborative portals for processing and sharing of information (for instance the ESCWA infoDev project on development) 12




Supporting localized data access and exploitation in collaborative working processes : creating rationales based on the coupling of maps and comments, mobilizing large registries of localized data


SuiteCairo is a tool dedicated to working on localized data, specifically the study of their relations within each territory, relations that are staged in scenario processes on geographical maps

SuiteCairo is a context analysis tool and/or a device to target territorial contexts, designed for collaborative working processes (collaborative survey, thematic study by actors groups…)

Characteristics of SuiteCairo

·  The tool enables to combine[1] (rapprochement) cartographic data and to stage scenarios based on localized statistical data

·  The tool supports efficiently collaborative working processes (conducting collaborative surveys, increasing and consolidating shared knowledge and interpretations, interactive designing, metadata capitalization)

·  A powerful device to share data along networks, to share cognitive resources and technical resources

·  Highly pedagogical output formats with a large dissemination capacity : PageCarto issues (executable, on the net or on any fixed or detachable device, such as USB drives, …)

·  The tool can be used in a number of working processes : standalone, small or big organizations (almost no organizational threshold effect), online use as well as offline on a fixed station, and/or on a local net and/or on a Webserver

·  Fast and easy to use. May be implemented gradually as needed. Complete proficiency is possible after 3 to 5 days of training, depending on technical and scientific backgrounds of users.

·  No purchase cost of a software, rights of reproduction and transformation according to GNU GPL licenses.

A professional tool

SuiteCairo enables to gather and combine, in a dynamic and interactive cartographic way, localized statistical data, harvested from heterogeneous sources. Henceforth, SuiteCairo suits most efficiently data mining activities (on the spot access to large data registers) and collaborative or participative working processes.

A powerful exploring device, particularly efficient to :

·  Analyze multifactorial situations, taking into account contexts (contextual configuration of factors) and heterogeneity of data sources, data that are disaggregated at the local level

·  Target local and regional contexts, identifying components of the phenomena that are analyzed

·  Articulate different scales (world, region, sub region, …) and detailed geographic levels (Country, governorates, districts, cities, neighborhoods)

In this, SuiteCairo is a powerful tool towards territorial contexts targeting

It also provides a way to stage data scenarios :

·  while connecting relevant data configurations and co presence, building therefore a set of rationales.

·  Saving the working process through hypertexts links storing together comments, rationales and maps, on Webpages linked to the maps

Hypertext pages and linked maps open up to :

·  Capitalize work and support network sharing

·  Development through iterative work

·  Disseminate results in highly pedagogical forms, supporting a simple unfold of complex rationales on data

Robust methods within everyone’s reach

·  Classification of map areas are based on quintiles rather than on absolute values

·  Data represented by punctual icons, proportional or not, are superimposed on data represented on the base map

·  Maps are interactively coupled with graphs (histograms, multiple bar charts, line charts, radar plots)

·  Imbedded geographic scales and levels

This means that these methods, through the scenario staging processes, enable to :

·  Unfold forms of inductive analysis based on co-presence of phenomena and comparison of configurations of factors which characterize these co-presences for each area

·  Produce and display highly pedagogical outputs

Valuation and sharing of data, metadata and requests

The back office environment provides as much for the quality of the metadata processing and exploiting part, as of the technical data processing part

Display menus for variables serve as requests within data files, as well as within computed data, indicators labels. Henceforth, one can always retrace the computation process and identify data sources.

Data may be exchanged, through either the Internet or an Intranet, as well as metadata and display menus (including labels, requests and computation, initial data and metadata) constituting as a whole the variable. Any source or processed data, available in a map can be used as necessary by all networks members.

Powerful search engines make it easy to locate data within the platforms network.

Platforms may be dedicated to data resources for the whole network (for instance platforms where to deposit all the exploitation of a population census,).

Data viewing and export of incorporated data

The WindRose interface of SuiteCairo makes for an easy search for data within all linked platforms and allows display on a map as well as storing in a working file.

Through the WindRose data may be transferred, with its initial metadata via a txt. file, compatible with spreadsheet software such as Open Office, Excel … (Unicode UTF-8 text, TAB as a separator).

These features make of WindRose a tool in itself, which can be rendered available to the public.

WindRose also provides for dynamic graphs (processing bar or line charts, radar plots, by “drag and drop”). Users may therefore explore and initiate working processes using WindRose only, which is particularly useful when entering collaborative working processes and detailing indicators considered relevant by the group.

Particularly suited to deconcentrated working situations and use of fragmented and heterogeneous sources

SuiteCairo being portable, providing linked platforms and access to all data through the WindRose, particularly suits the working environments of professionals who analyze territorial contexts using data :

·  Collected from heterogeneous and/or fragmented sources,

·  Available only at certain levels (data that do not exist for all areas, or are not completely comparable, or are specifically processed for the purpose, for instance attendance rate of local services)

While still being able to compare to other contexts and rearticulate them with larger scales, mobilizing more standard indicators and data.

Hence, other professionals analyzing the same contexts or using the same data may use processed and validated data, without having to go again through the whole process of searching, validating, and processing data and indicators, as is too often the case.

Metadata and documentation files in WindRose provide all information on data and its range limitations. Access to platforms enable to inventory uses of the data, and therefore to build rationales and clarify uses of a given data as an indicator.

SuiteCairo Tools


Suite Cairo aggregates three Web applications, under a GNU GPL license : GaïaMundi, PageCarto, and WindRose. Their integration within SuiteCairo widely widens the possibilities and uses of each separate tool, especially through the Sea Serpent interface which connects platforms and enables data sharing.


GaïaMundi provides for an easy cartographic combination (rapprochement) of data, streamed from heterogeneous sources. Hence, it supports work capitalization, data resources sharing and the equipment of collaborative working processes (shared diagnosis, exploratory investigations, collaborative and inclusive processes, contextualization for actors groups on a common territory,)


GaïaMundi main character trait resides in the coupling of a map and a comment. Links within the comment text activate statistical maps coupled with the hypertext.


This enables to stage scenarios, defined as sequences of decomposed and interactive rationales, especially adapted to build pedagogical forms of display for complex phenomena, in other words, to propose ways of navigating through maps and associated data.


The tool is especially dedicated to conduct inductive search through data and animate collaborative and inclusive working protocols. Through a few clicks, large registries of data are mobilized, using simple and intuitive semiotics, which makes for an easy access for non-specialists.



GaïaMundi also is the matrix for the other Web applications of SuiteCairo : PageCarto and WindRose. The GaïaMundi platform integrates functions to generate PageCarto modules (display interface of statistic cartography, very intuitive, light and portable), and to provide input for WindRose (search and display interface, supporting sharing and exports of localized statistical data).


WindRose [2]  

WindRose provides for three main functions :

1 – Access and swift display of the localized statistical data available on the platform and the platforms network

WindRose presents two interfaces integrated within one Web page :

·  An intuitive search engine



·  A cartographic data visualization interface



With these interfaces, investigations are conducted within WindRose to tackle issues, viewing data on chosen maps (available geographic level comprehend world, Arabic countries, Europe, France at Iris, municipal, and district levels).


2 – Export of selected data and of their initial metadata

.txt format compatible with main software such as Open Office, Excel… (Unicode UTF-8 Text, Tab separator)

3 – Data transfer to GaïaMundi platforms maps

And to PageCarto modules (being generated via the GaïaMundi platforms).


PageCarto is, like GaïaMundi, a Web application to combine statistical data and maps. It is mainly dedicated to publishing purposes.


It relies as well on the couple « maps + comment hypertext » and on dynamic data staging display (scenarios).



It aims at being the pedagogical and simplest issue of the SuiteCairo, suiting swift consultation by non-experts. Its main treats are :


·  Easy use : almost a Post It

·  Being portable : PageCarto doesn’t require a server. Accessible in local, when placed on a desktop or on a USB drive, or on line, easily integrated in a Web page, pasting a single Html code line.

·  Four display options are available : simple or advanced, reduced or full screen size. A collaborative version also exists (collaborative online scenario staging)

·  Basic technical requirements for its production


Designed for online publishing, PageCarto is also a powerful pedagogical and animation video tool for collaborative and inclusive working processes.

The GaïaMundi network of platforms sub sites

Extensions of GaïaMundi, produced through 3 clicks, sub sites are :

·  Autonomous working online spaces which provide for commented maps production dedicated to a group, using resources stored in the GaïaMundi platform : maps, data, and other cognitive resources. Sub sites display the same functions as GaïaMundi in producing, online, hypertexts of interactive commented maps.

·  Publishing spaces for thematic work (for instance dedicated site of a workgroup, …)


Relating to existing or developing localized information tools

Relating to geographic information systems (GIS)

While sharing common characteristics with a GIS, SuiteCairo is first and foremost a working tool for localized data, designed for the study of their relations and to stage these relations in scenarios of mapped data. Therefore, SuiteCairo is a tool for contextual analysis and, or, territorial contexts targeting.

Issues may then be tackled

·  Either starting with data, discussing what they mean as indicators, using geography and knowledge to introduce contrasts and understand their range (what the data tells us when confronted to geographic contexts). It’s mainly the initial purpose of WindRose.

·  Or starting with the geography, looking for local contexts, and their specific combination (rapprochement) of data, given the issue that is dealt with (inductive and exploring protocol)


In practice, reflexive processes use both ways. It is therefore to best equip this kind of double way reflexive process that the GaïaMundi core of SuiteCairo has been designed. Data characterizes a territory given how other territories behave and how data combine in each of them. Conversely, a territory, being a known context, gives an understanding of how data can become relevant indicators for a given phenomenon.

In this two ways perspective, functionalities enabling use of large registries of data, making it easy to choose the adequate ad hoc geography (levels, areas …), and to stage scenarios, have been particularly developed.

Indeed, SuiteCairo is first and foremost an investigation or publishing tool, best fitted for collaborative working processes, hence, also designed as an animation tool.

SuiteCairo provides for specific functions :

·  High interactivity for accessing and using data, dynamics in display interfaces, making it a powerful collaborative working tool, and also a publishing tool.

·  A dedication to metadata, research on metadata and their designing

·  A scenario staging and capitalization process via the hypertext and links to maps

·  The coupling of maps and graphs

·  Very easy to use back office working modules

·  Portability and interconnecting capacities, ensuring easy access to large resources of maps, data, and swift display of network working production, as well as a framework for mutual development in data and meta data

For the SuiteCairo designers, in practice, relations to geographic information system rely on the cooperation between the teams using both devices. SuiteCairo is positioned either in a feedback loop, before the GIS, or after it, as front office device, dedicated to field or on the spot work, while the GIS is rather used as a back office device.

·  Upstream, SuiteCairo is a mean to investigate data, exploring contexts given specific issues, hence identifying relevant data to be exploited through the geographic information system

·  Downstream, staging data issued by geographic information systems and confronting them in collaborative working processes produce a feedback, and hence helps targeting data to be integrated and links to other registries of information in the GIS.

Downstream, furthermore, the PageCarto modules are interactive and pedagogical forms of staging part of the GIS information. They also provide for a wide publication.

In decision making contexts, or when, in a field of expertise, data is incomplete, missing or of contested reliability, collaborative working processes contribute with qualitative information, context clarification, which consolidates, increase or put in perspective raw data scopes.

On a technical level, most export formats of GIS may be converted in GaïaMundi formats (map background layers in polygons, data files referenced to maps), and conversely, for data and later map versions.

Automatization of the process is easy for the export and data converting using an ad hoc PLS.

Relating to online databases with visualization interfaces

What’s the use of WindRose, which at first may be used as a downloading and visualization tool ?

WindRose is first and foremost a framework for sharing data among SuiteCairo platforms users (searching and visualization of data aiming at transferring them to the platforms). Beyond a comparison of technical performance, three specifications must be outlined :

Let’s discuss the public purpose of data disseminating devices and hence the nature of date that are disseminated. World Bank data, as well as data issued by other public institutions worldwide, may be qualified as reference data[4]. SuiteCairo platforms only broadcast part of these data, and always in a limited way and linked to specific issues, given need of the network users.

For instance, a SuiteCairo platform network dedicated to food insecurity will use World Bank data, as well as from the FAO, Unicef … Collected data will nevertheless be placed within a wider range of data, comprehending sources, levels, geographic areas that are not available for all countries, or regions. Such data cannot be published on Web sites dedicated to reference data. For such cases, WindRose displays systematically cross-referenced information : scale and geographic level of detail, on one part, data content on the other.

Available data within the network that can be accessed through WindRose may therefore be redundant. For instance data, on the same subject, but from various sources, some data being reference ones, other not. Each network contributor has therefore to give all necessary information on metadata, so as for each user to know the benefits and limits of each source before using them.

Let’s outline on that matter, that in the current practice of States, governorates … and measure systems they use, the heterogeneity of measure systems and their incompleteness is the norm, not the standardization.

At a technical level, WindRose may be connected to publishing devices such as the World Bank’s, using an ad hoc PLS (The World Bank provides, on line, for all coded libraries necessary to access its databases). Nevertheless, in the SuiteCairo platforms, these connections would also be dispatched given specified issues, not only for one data source, but for a number of them. Later versions of SuiteCairo will provide for the necessary PLS.

What must also be outlined is that the platform network is first and foremost a space for resources to be shared, commented, and increased for the whole network. Each network can interconnect with other networks and hence widen the common resources scope and the impact of the shared works. Such a sharing process (mutualization) avoids that each user be forced to reproduce the technical process at his or her level (data identification, downloading, processing, integration in a platform, menu, computed variables and graphs creation). Users have therefore a wider power of investigation, but also spared time for rationale production[5].

Relating to collaborative portals for processing and sharing of information (for instance the ESCWA infoDev project on development)

In a certain way, a thematic platforms network might be found in the background of thematic portals, such as infoDev. Such portals may then house a collaborative space, dedicated to sharing, exploiting or re-exploiting the network resources, using analyses, new publication in data cartography, graphs, …

Conversely, even with sophisticated functions, such portals compared to SuiteCairo does not provide for the systemic effect of WindRose.

The systemic approach is of value because all users contribute and learn from a common production space. One’s action has to take others into account and on the reverse. But the important point is also that this type of tool acknowledges the fact that producing knowledge on contexts and given issues takes, necessarily, a granular form. The team producing this contextualization work are situated ; knowledge is situated given territories and data and information equipment but also given missions, team roles, working places (administration, field work, …), in given times. That has to be acknowledged by choosing to make system with this granularity. Following this logic, technical and methodological standardization (context of the Web sites providing reference data) will not be chosen. On the contrary, one will privilege securing situated work, making them easier, not only with shared resources, but also by sharing the most adequate methods for non-standard contexts.

Another systemic aspect is the relation between a professional and a field and the data used on a subject. In this relation, with the tool and resources of a network such as SuiteCairo, having access to a large data range, easy to use, enables the professional to consider multiple paths of analysis, while being constantly in a “body to body” relation to data, which is so important in the knowledge production.

One value of the network is also to share this type of relation to data, which from one to the next, create a collective expertise of very high value, because it secures the use that can be made of data, while enlarging the perspective of this use by professionals. This expertise is also important for it brings feedback on data processing institutions, aiming to optimize collecting and disseminating processes on subjects that are complex to measure.

[1] Rapprochement of data is based on the following principle : when considering data as relevant indicators of phenomena, superimposing or rapprochement of data on one territory gives way to characterizing this territory by the co-presence of these phenomena. The value of territorialized data rapprochement resides in mobilizing heterogeneous sources of data. Data rapprochement enables to study localized relations between phenomena. By staging scenarios of data, complex sets of localized relations between phenomena may thus be decomposed.

[2] (For further information, see the mutualist data project for an open, free and reasoned access to public localized data supported by, using WindRose)


[3] Any PageCarto may be displayed under four formats : « Normal », “searching” with access to data menu and maps adjustments, “Reduced” to be pasted in Web pages, and “Full size” to be used with full screen, maximizing the map size for video use.

[4] Such data are reference, partly because of their scientific and technical processing and validation (normative dimension of the reference) and partly because of their being institutionalized (official dimension).

The two dimensions are not always clarified and specified, and anyway, do not warrant for the data scientific reliability (for instance poverty statistic surveys – issue of the poverty indicator or in consumption surveys which, in some countries, under or overestimated the reality of phenomena).

[5] Let’s outline that professionals are few to use  inductive investigation methods because of technical costs and because data are difficult to access. Making this possible at lesser cost is a significant progress provided for by the integrated device « network of platforms + WindRose ».