In 1969 the Apur set up an Urban Database (BDU), within the framework of a partnership associating the Apur, the Île-de-France Institute of Urban Development (IAURP at the time) and the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE). The initial objective was to establish a geographic database to be shared by the 4 central Departments of the Île-de-France Region (Paris and its inner suburbs).
Over the last 40 years the Urban Database -BDU- has gathered a considerable amount of data (on geographic layers of information from the most detailed entries of addresses to street blocks , groups of street blocks as defined by IRIS and Commune and Department boundaries), used for statistical and cartographic processing in urban and regional planning.
In 2009 the Urban Database BDU was restructured to make room for the master database (BDREF) which extended its land plot repository to include the Departments of the inner suburbs.
The master database thus provides the cartographic and statistical basis for a great many studies carried out on Paris, the Communes, Departments and heart of the urban agglomeration of the Île-de-France.
The recorded data is organised as databases and Geographic Information Systems GIS, certain of which can be obtained from the Apur.
Apart from responding to demands concerning Paris and its urban agglomeration, the Apur also puts its experience in the field of GIS to use by providing specific services and participating in international cooperation programmes:
- partnerships with organisations which have complementary skills,
- implementing and assessing Geographic Information System projects,
- implementing and assessing land use databases and thematic observatories,
- training and reception of trainees for courses on the organisation of geographic data and cartographic representation techniques.
In order to comply with evolving French and European regulations dealing with the communication of public authority data, the Apur will gradually enlarge this item of metadata and data formatted in accord with European recommendations and the INSPIRE directive.