Publication Project

L’Atlas Bleu – Revue cartographique des mers et des littoraux / Cartographic Journal of Oceans and Coasts is a French/English bilingual publication managed by the Nantes-based part of the LETG research laboratory (Littoral, Environnement, Télédétection, Géomatique, UMR 6554 CNRS-Universités). It is a continuation of the printed series, L’Atlas Permanent de la Mer et du Littoral, which has been published since 1994 (see History).

L’Atlas Bleu is an online, open access, (blind) peer-reviewed journal. It has two objectives: to make the results of scientific studies and research on coastal and maritime areas accessible, by presenting them in map format, and to stimulate reflective thinking about cartography.

Simply put, its aim is to foster dialogue between science and society about the communication of information in map form, and to rise to the challenge of publishing a high-level scientific journal that also shares knowledge with a more general readership.

Combining scientific rigour with distribution to a wider general audience, the journal takes the form of maps accompanied by short summaries and commentaries.

Under the headings of “A Place to Live”, “A Source of Resources”, “Risk Prevention”, “Protecting Heritage” and “Discovery”, the journal covers a range of geographical issues that affect population, occupations, environmental change and protection, spatial dynamics, and planning, but does not necessarily aim to offer a comprehensive study of any given area (a role usually fulfilled by “regional” atlases). All geographic locations and reproduction scales can therefore be considered, from applied studies of specific coastal or maritime areas to a worldwide overview of the ocean.

The main goal is to offer the reader a multi-thematic and multi-level resource, drawing on a range of research methods and locations. The intention is to invite reflection and open discussion both about the unique geographic characteristics of different environments and territories and about the features they have in common, through analysis of the spatial dynamics of our “blue planet” and by examining ways of representing these dynamics.

Articles are published in one or more of the sections on an “as and when” basis. Special editions based on specific thematic or geographic areas and grouping together articles that are already online may also be published from time to time.


L’Atlas Bleu accepts two types of contribution:

Articles: The main form of content. The journal will consider any original proposal approaching coastal and maritime issues from the perspective of cartography and/or producing map-based visuals. For this type of contribution, different forms of cartographic representation (static maps, enhanced, dynamic and interactive maps, animated maps, etc.) are, a priori, acceptable and indeed desired.

Articles are reviewed double-blind to assess their suitability for publication.

Discussions: To respond to published articles, the journal welcomes original and short texts challenging or supplementing either the phenomena represented in map form or the way phenomena have been represented in map form. Article authors are also encouraged to add their comments.

Contributions submitted under Discussions are moderated before publication but are not evaluated. Responsibility for their content rests solely with their authors.

Both types of contribution (Articles and Discussions) can be accepted either in French or English, or ideally in both languages.


L’Atlas Bleu is managed by two committees.

  • Editorial committee


This small team is responsible for the day-to-day running of the journal and works closely with the scientific committee. It is involved throughout the publication process.

Its members are:

    • Etienne Chauveau, Université de Nantes, CNRS, UMR LETG
    • Véronique Cohoner, CNRS, MSH Ange-Guépin
    • Eric Foulquier, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, CNRS, UMR LETG
    • Julie Pierson, CNRS, Université de Brest, UMR LETG 
    • Claire Portal, Université de Poitiers, EA Ruralité
    • Laurent Pourinet, CNRS, Université de Nantes, UMR LETG
    • Mathias Rouan, CNRS, Université de Brest, UMR LETG
    • Brice Trouillet, Université de Nantes, CNRS, UMR LETG
  • Scientific committee

Members of this committee come from the world of research and work in scientific fields intersecting with those covered in L’Atlas Bleu.

The scientific committee ensures the scientific integrity of articles it has evaluated on the request of the editorial committee. It also gives its opinions and advice on editorial strategy.

The scientific committee is consulted at least once a year to appraise and advise on the publications produced and on potential new editorial lines.

It also supports the editorial committee in making the journal known through its national and international networks.

Its members are:

    • Stéphane Costa, Université de Caen, CNRS, UMR LETG
    • Rodolphe Devillers, IRD, UMR ESPACE-DEV
    • Laurent Godet, CNRS, Université de Nantes, UMR LETG
    • Françoise Gourmelon, CNRS, Université de Brest, UMR LETG
    • Vincent Herbert, Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale, INRENT,  EA TVES
    • Stephen Jay, Université de Liverpool
    • Nicolas Lambert, CNRS, UMS Riate
    • Boris Mericskay, Université Rennes 2, CNRS, UMR ESO
    • Matthieu Noucher, CNRS, Université de Bordeaux, PASSAGES
    • Patrick Pottier, Université de Nantes, CNRS, UMR LETG
    • Samuel Robert, CNRS, Aix-Marseille Université, UMR ESPACE
    • Marie-Laure Trémelo, CNRS, Aix-Marseille Université, UMR ESPACE


Articles published in L’Atlas Bleu will be allocated a DOI (managed by the publication office), and listed in the journal’s HAL archive, Google Scholar and the CNRS ISIDORE database. In the longer term, further listings in international databases will be possible.


In 1994, the first edition of L’Atlas Permanent de la Mer et du Littoral was published on the initiative of Jean-Pierre Corlay, Professor of Geography at the University of Nantes and director of the LETG research unit (known at that time as Unité de Recherche Associée 904 – dynamique et gestion des espaces littoraux).

From 1994 onwards, this scientific publication of twenty or so cartographic plates lay down the principles that guided subsequent editions and that are still clear to see in today’s online version, namely, “to provide a geographical analysis of the locations and dynamics in operation in maritime and coastal areas and territories, in the form of single or double, thematic cartographic plates, supported by short explanatory texts to guide the reader”.

As its title suggests, the publication showcased maps as a form of communication, accompanied by texts written by experts, most of whom were geographers on the unit’s research team, on the subjects discussed (demography, fishing and aquaculture, maritime transport, environment, heritage, spatial planning, etc.). The content was expected to provide a synthetic view through information which had been studied/processed, analysed, and reproduced in a visual format created with scientific rigour.

Over several decades, the team forged their expertise in running an editorial project, collective organisation, designing publication-quality maps, and developing processing chains, as well as in producing graphics, page layout for print editions, and print management.

Until 2015, the year of the seventh edition, which was dedicated to maritime and coastal risks, the Atlas was constantly extended, its themes diversified, its circle of authors enlarged, and its maps refined, to produce a professional-level publication.

The quality of its content in terms of both form and substance has always been well received by our supervisory bodies (CNRS and the University), at our four yearly and five yearly appraisals, and by our readers (those working in the field, decision-makers, teachers, and members of the public – new to the subject or well-informed).

In 2019, while keeping the initial tried and tested principles of the original project, we decided to change our approach to allow us to:

  • free ourselves from a publishing calendar that is difficult to maintain, and increase the distribution of our publication;
  • follow the recent and growing trend towards digital scientific journals, and take advantage of these new ways of reproducing information while at the same time critically examining them and applying them to the specific requirements of cartography;
  • take advantage of transferring the journal online to investigate the potentialities of enhanced cartography, an approach which is still to be applied to publication-quality map design (progressive integration of animated and interactive features);
  • facilitate a high-quality and transparent scientific dialogue involving the journal’s two committees, authors, reviewers and readers.

As a result, L’Atlas Permanent de la Mer et du Littoral has been redesigned and relaunched as L’Atlas Bleu – Revue cartographique des mers et des littoraux / Cartographic Journal of Oceans and Coasts.

L’Atlas Bleu editorial committee