Since more than 10 years, after the Waldteufel « Bases de données pour les géosciences » (1999) report, the CNES and the CNRS have driven the creation of thematic data poles to make easier the use of sciences Earth spatial data.

The evolution of scientific practices – with apparition of more and more integrated approaches, the availability of a growing number of observation data, technologies (treatment capacities, virtualization of the infrastructures, etc.), and of the institutional context have conducted to the creation of the inter-organisms Reflection Group on data poles in the course of 2012.

These works have concluded to the necessity to ameliorate the structuration of services of distribution and treatment of the Earth observation data (spatial and in situ) with the creation of 4 national data poles in the field of ocean, atmosphere, land surfaces and solid Earth sciences.

These poles will have the following functions :

  • Provide a single access portal to data and products with high added value used in the scientific activities
  • Distribute tools and software of data manipulation and processing
  • Provide expert support on the use of data
  • Host shared resources (data processing services; execution platform software; documentation; archiving; etc.)
  • Provide collaborative tools (forum, wiki, etc.)
  • Contribute to the animation of the concerned scientific community

The need for a thematic cooperative platform in the field of solid Earth has been underlined for years in France. From the year 2008, a scientific prospective led by the CNES with the scientific community concluded the relevance of the creation of a thematic center designed to federate the solid Earth scientific community especially on the field of shape and movements of the Earth’s surface. These conclusions were then approved during a scientific prospective workshop in March 2009 in Biarritz, France.
From early 2012, alongside the work of the Reflection Group, a study was initiated to design, with the scientific community, the perimeter, structure and functions of such a thematic center. It was launched by the CNES and the CNRS with the active participation of the IGN.

This study named ForM@Ter (Formes et Mouvements de la Terre) from March 2012, relies on the contributions of scientists from more than 20 French Earth science laboratories