Let $T$ be a finite trivalent fatgraph - i.e. a graph with a cyclic order of the edges at each vertex. Then there are certain basic "moves" we can perform on $T$: an embedded edge can be collapsed and then uncollapsed in a different way (a "rotation", or "2-2 move"), or the circular order of the three edges incident at a vertex can be reversed (a "flip").

Define a set $\mathcal{T}$ whose elements are trivalent fatgraphs $T'$ homotopic to $T$ with a labeling of the edges from $1$ to $n$ and a labeling of the vertices from $1$ to $m$ (note $m = 2n/3$). A "move" is a pair $(T,c)$ where $T \in \mathcal{T}$, and $c$ is an element of the set $e1, e2, \cdots, en, v1, v2, \cdots, vm$. The move acts on the labeled fatgraph $T$, and turns it into a new labeled fatgraph $T'$ obtained from $T$ by performing a rotation on edge $ei$ if $c=ei$ or a flip on vertex $vi$ if $c=vi$. It is clear how a flip affects the labels (it doesn't). A rotation destroys one edge labeled by $ei$ and creates a new edge, so label this new edge $ei$.

Now define a *marked* fatgraph to be a labeled fatgraph (i.e. an element of $\mathcal{T}$) together with a homotopy class of homotopy equivalence to some fixed $K(\pi_1(T),1)$. The moves defined above generate a new groupoid on marked fatgraphs, by acting on the labeled fatgraph part. This groupoid - the groupoid acting on marked fatgraphs - I will denote by $V(T)$ (the notation $V(T)$ is suggested by the similarity to Thompson's group $V$).

This groupoid - or something like it - turns up in many different contexts, so as a preliminary question, it would be nice to know how it is referred to. (Or: does this construction even make sense?)

More substantially: what is known about the algebraic structure of $V(T)$? What can be said about the cohomology of its classifying space? What is the relation to the group $Out(F)$, where $F$ is the (free) fundamental group of $T$? (note that $Out(F)$ acts on marked fatgraphs in a way that commutes with $V(T)$, by acting by homotopy equivalences of the $K(\pi_1(T),1)$ and thereby changing the marking). Is there a good reference?

Since the answers I am getting are not really what I am after, I think I need to make the question more pointed. A marked fatgraph determines a certain amount of algebraic structure on a free group (i.e. the fundamental group of $T$), namely a pair $(l,e)$ where $l$ is a length function, and $e$ is a bounded 2-cocycle. The first part of the data comes from the "thin" underlying graph, and is just the translation length of each element on its axis. The second part of the data comes from the fattening, and is an explicit cocycle representing the Euler class of the thickened surface. The first kind of move affects $l$, the second kind affects $e$. Crucially, both $l$ and $e$ are *integer valued* (this is the point of discussing discrete combinatorial objects, namely fatgraphs, instead of eg. discrete faithful representations of $F$ into $PSL(2,R))$.

Many, many papers discuss length functions, and many, many papers discuss Euler classes, but I would like to have a (presumably homological) *algebraic* framework which treats the two components as a single object with, presumably, more structure. The question is: what is this structure? Is it something that is already well-studied? Is there a reference?