ISDE New 2023 Year’s Message

2022 has been an important and fruitful year for ISDE despite many unforeseen events that have created instability in our world. COVID-19, a new type of global threat has affected our society in various ways: this pandemic has exposed the fragility of the modern world and its exceptional vulnerability, accelerating the virtualization of society. The Ukraine-Russia crisis has created economic, environmental and social instability with serious consequences for our planet and in particular by reducing the «collaborative» attention towards sustainable development goals. About twenty years later, the concept of Digital Earth remains as relevant as ever. ISDE witnessed the important advances in technology and became aware of the new challenges and opportunities for Digital Earth. 

In this year, ISDE succesfully organized the 9th Digital Earth Summit in Chennai, India and launched the 1st International Lectures event. We worked closely with other organizations — signing MoU with the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), co-organizing the Forum on Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals (FBAS), participating in the Second United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UN WGIC), organizing a special session on the Geospatial World Forum (GWF), attending the 8th International Conference on Cartography and GIS (ICCGIS), and the AI4Gov Open Event. The collaboration with the International Science Council (ISC) was strengthened by nominating the ISC Fellow candidate, and recommending experts for the of the Global Sustainable Development Report 2023 (succesfully approved and selected). Finally the ISDE’s journal — International Journal of Digital Earth became an Open Access publication and got its highest Impact Factor of all time: 4.606 and the monograph of the ISDE — Manual of Digital Earth got almost 1 million downloads since its release in 2019. 

The ISDE working groups have taken many actions by organizing workshops and special sessions; The WG3, based on the thoughtful discussions of its workshop in October 2021, has published its position paper entitled «AI Ethics and Data Governance in the Geospatial Domain of the Digital Earth» on Big Data & Society (BD&S) Open on Access journal. 

I am particularly proud of a very important achievement for ISDE: the leadership and drafting of the Digital Earth Vision paper, entitled «Digital Earth: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow». The process started in 2020 with the workshop on ISDE’ Digital Earth Vision towards 2030 and a survey involving more than 300 participants. In the last two years the ISDE communities have actively contributed to the drafting of the paper which presents a new vision for the Digital Earth adapted to the Digital Transformation of our Societies. The document to be published soon includes recommendations to accelerate the implementation of Digital Earth and proposed actions for a more effective role of ISDE. I take the opportunity to thank the hundreds of people who helped finalize this work. 

In 2023, we still face challenges and opportunities, but the ISDE does not intend to stop. The 13th International Digital Earth Symposium will be held in Athens, Greece in July with the theme «Earth intelligence to understand and protect our living planet». Anyone interested in the topics is invited to participate. The ISDE International Lectures series will continue to invite experts to deliver professional talks in relevant research fields. ISDE will also launch a Young Scientists Innovation Network and organize many activities to enhance the capacity building of young scientists in scientific and technological innovation. ISDE working groups also welcome more scholars to join them to promote development in specific areas. The two journals of the ISDE encourage the submission and publication of higher quality artciles here. 

My term as ISDE presidency will end in 2023. I encourage more colleagues to join ISDE, serve on the ISDE Council and Bureau, and help more members benefit from the Digital Earth vision and technologies. 

I wish you all a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year and look forward to working closely in 2023. 

Alessandro Annoni, 

President, International Society for the Digital Earth