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To benefit society by promoting the development and realization of Digital Earth


The 9th International Symposium on Digital Earth


The 9th International Symposium on Digital Earth was successfully held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada from 5th to 9th of October 2015, under the theme of “Towards a One-World Vision for the Blue Planet”. About 300 delegates of scientists, engineers, technologists, and environmental managers from 28 countries around the world including United States, Canada, Australia, Germany and China etc. attended the Symposium and shared their thoughts, researches, and practical applications relating to Digital Earth vision. The Symposium was hosted by the International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE), and locally organized by the Saint Mary’s University. It aims to spread the concept of Digital Earth, exchange Digital Earth related technologies, and promote relevant applications through providing an international platform for researchers, educationists and enterprises to discuss and communicate.

This Symposium was preceded with the ISDE Council meeting held on 4th October 2015. In the meeting, the Council members congratulated Prof. Guo Huadong for being elected the 3rd President of ISDE. Chaired by the new President, the Council meeting made many significant outputs, including:

·       Prof. Guo Huadong as the President of ISDE and Dr. David Coleman as the President of GSDI signed the Memorandum of Understanding in a joint ceremony to work towards cooperation for mutual benefits.

·       Sydney, Australia was given the honor to host the 10th International Symposium on Digital Earth in 2017.

·       Ms. Kristina Kehayova from Bulgaria was voted to be the winner of the ISDE video competition.

·       The way forward for the Society was fully discussed.

The Symposium was started at the World Trade and Convention Center of Halifax on 5th October. Welcome notes were presented by Mr. Mike Savage, the Mayor of Regional Municipality of Halifax, Mr. Joaquim Stroink, on behalf of Mr. Stephen McNeil, the Nova Scotia Premier, Mr. John McLaughlin (video), the President Emeritus of University of New Brunswick, Mr. Robert Summerby-Murray, the President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary’s University, Prof. Guo Huadong, the ISDE President, Mr. David Keefe, on behalf of Mr. Hugh McKay, the President of Geomatics Association of Nova Scotia.

The theme of the Symposium was “Towards a One-World vision for the Blue Planet”. The invited keynote speakers included Prof. Michael Goodchild, Dr. Lynn Moorman, Dr. James Boxall, Prof. Guo Huadong, Dr. Dawn Wright, Ms. Rebecca Moore, Dr. David Green, Mr. Rear-Admiral John Newton, Dr. Doug Wallace, Prof. Rob Kitchin and Prof. Deren Li.

“Enormous progress has been made in achieving the dream of a Digital Earth, as it was initially described almost a quarter of a century ago.” Prof. Michael Goodchild, the Professor Emeritus of University of California, Santa Barbara, reviewed the progress of Digital Earth that has been made during the past decades in his speech “Keep the dream alive”. He pointed out that “Standards have been adopted, making it possible for massive amounts of Earth-observation data to be shared among the research community. The problems of representing and visualizing data over the curved surface of the Earth are largely solved today, but a very large research agenda remains if one interprets Digital Earth as essentially an integration engine, an important component of the emerging world of Big Data”.

“Digital Earth is a virtual representation of our planet, encompassing all its natural and social systems in a geographical framework for research and applications.” This was given by Prof. Guo Huadong as the general description of Digital Earth concept in his presentation, entitled “Digital Earth in the era of Big Data”. He emphasized that “In the era of big data, the Digital Earth concept has evolved from ‘putting the Earth into a computer’ into a system of ‘big Earth data’. It contributes to the future Earth initiative for sustainable global development and brings new opportunities for exciting discoveries”.