Lyon’s cartographic collections are rich and contain exceptional documents such as portolan charts and Renaissance prints as the city has been a major publishing center since the end of the 15th century.

The remarkable growth of the city in the 19th century led to development of a very high-quality urban cartography, initiated by the military and then extended and refined by cartographers to serve the modernization, planning and equipment of the city and the Rhône river.

Lyon's business circles also initiated new perspectives in mapping developments, resulting from explorations of silk producing regions including of course China (an exceptional Chinese Jiangsu map produced in 1867 was found in the University archives).

Within the University of Lyon, the Research Unit UMR 5600 EVS "Environment, City, Society", brings together research communities from different fields of the human and social sciences, belonging to the teaching and research institutions of the Lyon Saint-Etienne cluster.