WG3- Digital Earth Governance and Ethics


Caroline Gevaert (University of Twente / Faculty ITC, Netherlands, c.m.gevaert@utwente.nl)

Marina Micheli (Joint Research Centre – European Commission, marina.micheli@ec.europa.eu)

Mary Carman (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, mary.carman@wits.ac.za )


Alessandro Annoni (International Society for Digital Earth)

Alessio Tartaro (Joint Research Centre – European Commission)

Alexander Kotsev (European Commission)

Amba Kak (New York University, USA)

Barry O’Sullivan (University of Cork, Ireland)

Caroline Gevaert (University of Twente, Netherlands)

Cassandra Moons (TomTom, Netherlands)

Cheryl Desha (Griffith University Australia)

Emilia Gomez (European Commission)

Emily Daemen (Geonovum, Netherlands)

Gianluca Misuraca (InTouchAI)

Ingrid Schneider (Universität Hamburg, Germany)

Jordi Sandalinas (University of Catalonia,  Spain)

Joseph Robertson (Brave Bear Analytics, USA)

Juanle Wang (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)

Lea Shanley (International Computer Science Institute, USA)

Marina Micheli (European Commission) 

Mary Carman (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)

Massimo Craglia (European Commission)

Michele Vespe (European Commission)

Mrinalini Kochupillai (Technical University of Munich, Germany)

Mzukisi Qobo (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)

Rania Elsayed Ibrahim (National Authority for Remote Sensing & Space Sciences, Egypt)

Stefano Nativi (European Commission) 

Sven Schade (European Commission)

Veronica Mwikali Kiluva (Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenyan)

Yola Georgiadou (University of Twente, Netherlands)

Yuri Baturin (Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia)


1. Scope

The scope of the WG is to explore different perspective on AI ethics, and on data governance models and consider how ISDE can help consolidate these perspectives, build bridges, and add value.


2. Objectives and Methodology

The overall objective of this WG is to strengthen the ISDE’s role as a non-partisan forum in which different perspectives on data governance and AI ethics can be compared and discussed, and best practices and lessons learned can be shared.

The aims are:

(1) To develop a dynamic typology of data governance models and of foundational AI ethics principles.

(2) To analyse how such principles and models are operationalized.

(3) To collect best practices and lessons learned in the practical implementation of data governance models and AI ethics principles in the face of constant technological and societal change.

The methodology is of qualitative participative studies exploring an X-y-space comprising on the X-axis different geographical and institutional/geopolitical perspectives from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe, and on the Y-axis the stakeholders’ perspectives from government, industry, academia, and civil society including Non-governmental organisations and the voluntary sector.


3. Activities

(1) The WG organised a workshop on data governance and AI ethics on the 29-30 September and 1st October 2021 with 25 participants from government, academia, industry and the voluntary sector coming from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Summary of outcomes is here:

ISDE Workshop on Data Governance and AI Ethics_ Key Issues (final).pdf

The WG published a position paper on the importance of the topics building on the discussions and material presented at the workshop on data governance and AI ethics and in collaboration with the participants in the workshop and other Working Groups of the ISDE.

The published position paper can be found here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20539517221138767


(2) Planned next steps for the WG are: 

The WG will initiate a scientific review of the literature on data governance and AI ethics and the collection and analysis of case studies of implementation in different cultural environments with a primary focus on the geospatial domain.

In this endeavour, the WG will seek to strengthen its collaboration with UNESCO to support the implementation of its recommended AI ethics principles, and endeavour to support the scientific effort through research partnerships funded by European and international research programmes (timeframe 2022-23).

The WG will explore together with the other ISDE Working Groups the possibility of developing a new open access manual of Digital Earth focused on data governance and AI ethics including the review of general principles and the collection and analysis of the case-studies of data governance and AI ethics implementation in different settings (timeframe 2023-24).

The WG will also take every opportunity to raise awareness, disseminate its activities, and strengthen its membership at national and international conferences and industry-led events (timeframe 2021-24).