Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s 1998 research paper created a foundational basis for a Digital Earth, and famously catalysed development of new geospatial tools such as Google Earth. However, there has been much excitement in recent months as discussion around the Digital Earth 2.0 concept has evolved. The new vision for Next Generation Digital Earth involves an open, multi-modal, interactive learning system which empowers problem-solving, forecasting and visualisation.
Enormous advances in distributed and portable computing power have enabled Next Generation Digital Earth to embrace a much richer suite of tools including 3D visualisation, whilst supporting far more robust information fidelity. 3D by definition demands a much richer data-set than the more symbolic 2D cartographic representations, but this also enables other metaphors such as infographics, augmented reality, sentient systems, semantic data and virtual worlds to construct a bridge between our minds and the ever growing deluge of information about our planet.
Story-telling about places has its origins in cave art, but relatively little change has occurred within visual communication until the emergence of Digital Earth. Through this paradigm we will better express ourselves and share our stories about places in richer and more complete ways than ever before in human history. Digital Earth is revolutionising the way we evaluate and trust information, it will also change the way we see the world and ourselves in the future.
Expect to witness fantastic stories and see the very latest technology from this unfolding new generation of Digital Earth at the Digital Earth Summit in Wellington, New Zealand – Sept 2-4, 2012.
Richard Simpson & Paul Spence
4th Digital Earth Summit Steering Committee