City and political spaces research lab (VESPA)

Université du Québec - Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Montréal, Québec
What the facility does

Social sciences, research, urban studies, mobility, informality, political action, youth

Areas of expertise

Using video and still cameras, state-of-the-art smartphones, biometric sensors, GPS modules, audio recorders and microphones, our team spends a great deal of time in the field with people. We conduct mobile discussions (while walking, on the bus, on moto-taxis), film public spaces for hours at a time in order to analyse what happens there, and explore the affective load of certain locations by means of biometric sensors.

Research services

The lab makes innovative use of multimedia tools in the following three areas of the research process:

Data collection:

Recordings, audio, video, biometrics, GPS, places, people, trajectories, situations, conversations, interviews.

Data processing and analysis:

We use a wide variety of software to process these data: video editing, cartography, lexicostatistics, analysis of new interactive media content. Our objective is to combine different types of data in order to extract new types of information.

Circulation of research findings:

Our goal is to use the visually interesting data that we collect in order to circulate research findings: e.g., production of webdocs, interactive platforms, mobile applications and other approaches that allow us to make research findings accessible and available to citizens.

Sectors of application
  • Arts and cultural industries
  • Education
  • Healthcare and social services
  • Policy and governance
  • Transportation
10 computers 
3 laptops 
20 monitors 
10 Sony DSC-W570 still camerasCompact camera linked to GPS
5 Sony Handycam CX550V camcordersCamcorder with integrated image stabilization
5 Google Nexus 4 (16 GB) smartphones (2013)Smartphones
5 miniature video spycams 
1 pair of camera glasses 
1 portable HD recorder with a 2.4-inch touchscreen 
20 memory cards: 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB 
2 miniature cameras (cellphone and keychain) 
Large selection of batteries of different sizes for cameras and GPS and micro devices 
STP-LAW-PV500EVP long-life battery 
3 biometric Q-sensors 
8 Shure headphones 
4 tripods and multiple tripod bags 
10 Olympus DS-2400 digital recorders 
SM58 microphone 
H4Next zoom 
NEC NP410 portable projector 
Audio-technica tie-clip microphone 
Wireless video microphone 
10 CSK4A GPS devices 
1 GPS E deviceGPS used with Rebel T4i camera
1 Canon Rebel T4i still cameraGPS E
1 EFS 55-250 mm zoomUsed with Canon camera


Adobe Master Collection (Premiere, Soundbooth etc), EndNote, MapInfo, Microsoft Office, QSR v.10 (NVIVO), Alceste, Inqscrib, TweetDck, Skype, Prezi, Licence Equitrac, DSS Player

VESPA seminars vidéo presentation on VIMÉO
VESPA Laboratory Facebook page
Workshops organized by  VESPA: Glance at 2015-2016 Program
The unsuspected benefits of public transport
Radio Show, 98.5. Isabelle Maréchal interviews Julie-Anne Boudreau
Julie-Anne Boudreau Webpage
TV capsule- Le Code Chastenay October 2015 (program 188)
Hanoi public space research project Webpage
Interview with Laurent Boursier March 24 2015
MapCollab project Webpage