Science Forum Digital Earth Innovations

Digital Earth Science Forum "DigitalEarth Innovations" at the University of Osnabrueck starts Europeancooperation

Theinternational Digital Earth Science Forum organized by Institute forGeoinformatics and Remote Sensing (IGF), the Youth Commission of the InternationalSociety for Digital Earth (ISDE) and the Association for the Promotion ofGeoinformatics in Nothern Germany (GiN e.V.) took place on 4th of December 2013at the University of Osnabrueck inside the botanical garden.

Prof. Dr.Norbert de Lange, the dean of the faculty for mathematics and computer science,opened the event and emphasized the focus of the forum venue. He mentioned thatthe "Bohnenkamp Haus" was built as a place for mediating theimportance of a sustainable handling of natural resources and that the forumextends this focus by "adding the virtual perspective". After theorganizer Florian Hillen had welcome the attendees on behalf of the ISDE YouthCommission as well as the GiN e.V., several researchers present their work tothe topic "Digital Earth Innovations". In terms of Digital Earth,Alessandro Annoni from the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the EuropeanCommission started the forum with a video presentation on "EarthObservation today" as he unfortunately could not be there in person.Thereby, he stated the difference between Remote Sensing and Earth Observationand gave an overview over the current technology by examples. Nils Aschenbruckfrom the Institute of Computer Science of the University of Osnabrueck followedwith his presentation on "Wireless Sensor Networks". He stressed thatgeosensors are an integral part of the vision of Digital Earth and discussedchallenges and opportunities of Wireless Sensor Networks in the context ofgeosensing. After the first coffee break, Bernhard Höfle from the Institute ofGeography of the University of Heidelberg presented his work on "3DGeoinformation Extraction From Multi-Sensor Data". He explained the needof detailed 3D geographic information and presented recent case studiesintegrating multiple data sources for 3D geoinformation extraction, such asVolunteered Geographic Information (VGI) and remotely sensed 3D data. FlorianHillen from the Institute for Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing of theUniversity of Osnabrueck followed with the presentation about "Real-TimeMulti-Sensor Information Fusion for Digital Earth Applications". Hepresented the high potential of spatial information fusion and introduced aconcept of standardised integration of such fusion processes inservice-oriented architectures as well as first experiments with simulated andreal data. After lunch, Yola Georgiadou from the Faculty of Geo-InformationScience and Earth Observation (ITC) of the University of Twente opened theafternoon with his talk about "Mind the gap: Between Digital Earth andPolicy Sciences". She argued that Digital Earth will bridge the gapbetween its developers and stakeholders in different ways, depending on thecertainty/uncertainty of Digital Earth knowledge and the consensus/dissensusregarding policy goals among stakeholders. Sven Schade from the Joint ResearchCentre (JRC) of the European Commission presented the current focus of hisgroup at JRC, stressing the need for Big Data analysis and visualization, andoutlining the potential of implementing the DE vision as a laboratory and classroom for Digital Science. He introduced the Digital Earth Curriculum (DEC) bystating that the society has become digital and that complex capacities arerequired. The concluding session was opened by Christine Richter from the ITCof the University of Twente with her talk "From Paper to GIS: DigitalTransformations in Indian Urban Governance". Based on ethnographicresearch in Karnataka, India she explored practices of knowledge production inurban governance. The last presentation of the day was by Alfred Stein from theITC of the University of Twente regarding "Spatial Data Quality Issues forAnswering Agricultural Demands Using Satellite Observations". He statedthat spatial data quality becomes a major issue when precise information oncrops has to be collected and processed where we need to zoom in at thedetailed level on the one hand and have to be made estimations for large areason the other hand.

Theconcluding panel discussion to the topic "Promoting DE in Europe" wasmoderated by John van Genderen. Bernhard Höfle stated that a bottom-up approachwould be the best way to establish the DE in Europe, e.g. by installing DE-labs,which was strongly seconded by Sven Schade. John van Genderen answered that ademonstrator is needed. Yola Georgiadou proposed a hackathon to solve certainproblems and challenges. Alfred Stein stressed that the DE has to define itselfas a research field. Nils Aschenbruck agreed by stating the missing researchroadmap. Florian Hillen suggested to agree on regular meetings within Europe asa form of interest group within the ISDE and to promote Digital Earth on majorEuropean conferences like AGILE or EARSeL. Yola Georgiadou supported the ideaand agreed on planning another DE meeting in the Netherlands at ITC in the nearfuture. John van Genderen said that the European members of the ISDE ExecutiveCommittee should be involved in such interest group. Yola Georgiadou finallysummed up the forum and closed the meeting. She especially emphasised on thehigh number of students and young researchers attending the forum and thereforesees a bright future for Digital Earth research in Europe.

Additionalinformation about the forum can be found on the following website:

Contact Person

Florian Hillen

Institute forGeoinformatics and Remote Sensing (IGF)

Universityof Osnabrueck




Phone: +49541 969-3927

Fax: +49 541969-3939