Our Mission

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

The International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE) was founded in Beijing China in 2004. ISDE is an international organization principally promoting academic exchange, science and technology innovation, education, and international collaboration towards Digital Earth. ISDE's Founding President is Academician Yongxiang Lu, Honorary President is Academician Huadong Guo, and current President is Dr. Alessandro Annoni. The ISDE Secretariat is hosted by Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences.


With the global response to the initiative of "Digital Earth" raised by the former USA Vice President Al Gore, the first International Symposium on Digital Earth was held in Beijing China in 1999. More than one thousand scientists, engineers, educators and governors from nearly 40 countries worldwide attended the symposium, and approved the 1999 Beijing Declaration on Digital Earth. During this symposium, an International Steering Committee of the International Symposium on Digital Earth was established to organize subsequent symposia in the coming years. In 2006, the International Society for Digital Earth was formally established and the secretariat was hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Following the success of the first symposium, series of symposia are held every two years in different countries. To meet the demand of deep and full communication on specific academic themes, since 2006, Digital Earth Summits have been organized between the biannual symposia. After 20 years’ development, eleven symposia and eight summits have been held in 15 countries worldwide. Two milestone documents - 2009 Beijing Declaration on Digital Earth and 2019 Florence Declaration on Digital Earth were approved and released during the symposia.


In addition, ISDE organized Workshops on Digital Earth Vision towards 2020 and towards 2030 respectively in 2011 and 2020, which attracted quite a few scientists in the field of Digital Earth to contribute their thoughts and perspectives. After the workshop in 2011, a position paper entitled "Next-Generation Digital Earth" was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), and another paper "Digital Earth 2020: towards the vision for the next decade" in the International Journal of Digital Earth. Following the workshop in 2020, two position papers will be published as well.


Important to the professional standing of the ISDE is the addition of an international peer-reviewed academic journal, the International Journal of Digital Earth (IJDE). The highly rated journal is published jointly by the ISDE and the Taylor & Francis Group. Inaugurated in March 2008, the IJDE was accepted for coverage by the Science Citation Index in 2009. The journal receives an impact factor of 4.606 in 2021, ranking 15/34 (Q2) in the Remote Sensing category and 11/48 (Q1) in the Geography, Physical category. In 2017, ISDE launched another international journal- Big Earth Data jointly with Taylor & Francis Group. The Big Earth Data is the world's first big data journal on Earth sciences jointly published by the International Society for Digital Earth, the Aerospace Information Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Taylor & Francis Group. The journal has been indexed by Scopus, EI, ESCI and DOAJ.


The Digital Earth initiative fits within many global organizations' missions through sharing knowledge and ideas about Digital Earth and seeking global benefits using Digital Earth technology. In 2009, the ISDE joined the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the world’s largest intergovernmental organization on using geospatial data. The ISDE also has established partnerships with the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences, the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association, and the African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment. In 2017, the ISDE was recognized as a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU), now is the International Science Council). In August 2019, ISDE becomes a member of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management-Geospatial Societies (UN-GGIM GS). ISDE is now widely recognized globally as a leadership organization in geospatial information science research.

The mission of ISDE is to benefit society by promoting the development and realization of Digital Earth. To achieve it, ISDE shall endeavor to:

 - Facilitate excellence in research and the development and use of appropriate technologies in the Digital Earth domain;

 - Initiate and coordinate research in the fields of Digital Earth sciences by establishing technica commissions and working groups;

 - Convene international symposia, summits, and other meetings, with lectures, communications, discussions and, as appropriate, tutorials,  exhibitions, technical visits and social events;

 - Ensure wide international circulation of research results and records of discussions through the publication of the International Journal of Digital Earth, newsletters, proceedings of symposia, summits and other communications relevant to the interests of ISDE and the community at large;

 - Stimulate the formation of national and regional Societies of Digital Earth and promote exchanges between such Societies;

 - Encourage interaction of ISDE and its members with the community at large;

 - Encourage recognition and administer awards to honor the achievements of individuals or groups;

 - Represent the Digital Earth community in relevant international forums;

 - Promote and facilitate education, training and technology transfer in all fields related to Digital Earth sciences;

 - Promote other appropriate actions to enhance ISDE's mission.