WG3- Digital Earth Governance and Ethics


Caroline Gevaert (University of Twente / Faculty ITC, Netherlands, c.m.gevaert@utwente.nl)

Marina Micheli (Joint Research Centre – European Commission, marina.micheli@ec.europa.eu)

Mary Carman (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, mary.carman@wits.ac.za )


Alessandro Annoni (International Society for Digital Earth)

Amba Kak (New York University, USA)

Barry O’Sullivan (University of Cork, Ireland)

Caroline Gevaert (University of Twente, Netherlands)

Cheryl Desha (Griffith University Australia)

Massimo Craglia (European Commission)

Emily Daemen (Geonovum, Netherlands)

Gianluca Misuraca (InTouchAI)

Emilia Gomez (European Commission)

Jordi Sandalinas (University of Catalonia,  Spain)

Joseph Robertson (Brave Bear Analytics, USA)

Alexander Kotsev (European Commission)

Lea Shanley (International Computer Science Institute, USA)

Zhen Liu (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)

Mary Carman (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)

Marina Micheli (European Commission) 

Stefano Nativi (European Commission) 

Yola Georgiadou (University of Twente, Netherlands)

Ranya Al Sayed (National Authority for Remote Sensing & Space Sciences, Egypt)

Sven Schade (European Commission)

Michele Vespe (European Commission)

Juanle Wang (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)

Yuri Baturin (Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia)


1. Scope

The scope of the WG is to explore different perspective on AI ethics, and on data governance models and consider how ISDE can help consolidate these perspectives, build bridges, and add value.


2. Objectives and Methodology

The overall objective of this WG is to strengthen the ISDE’s role as a non-partisan forum in which different perspectives on data governance and AI ethics can be compared and discussed, and best practices and lessons learned can be shared.

The aims are:

(1) To develop a dynamic typology of data governance models and of foundational AI ethics principles.

(2) To analyse how such principles and models are operationalized.

(3) To collect best practices and lessons learned in the practical implementation of data governance models and AI ethics principles in the face of constant technological and societal change.

The methodology is of qualitative participative studies exploring an X-y-space comprising on the X-axis different geographical and institutional/geopolitical perspectives from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe, and on the Y-axis the stakeholders’ perspectives from government, industry, academia, and civil society including Non-governmental organisations and the voluntary sector.


3. Activities

(1) The WG organised a workshop on data governance and AI ethics on the 29-30 September and 1st October 2021 with 25 participants from government, academia, industry and the voluntary sector coming from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Summary of outcomes is here

ISDE Workshop on Data Governance and AI Ethics_ Key Issues (final).pdf

(2) Planned next steps for the WG are:

The ISDE Working Group on data governance and AI ethics will lead the preparation of a position paper on the importance of these topics building on the discussions and material presented at the workshop and in collaboration with the participants in the workshop and other Working Groups of the ISDE (time frame end 2021-early 2022).

The Working Group will also initiate a scientific review of the literature on data governance and AI ethics and the collection and analysis of case studies of implementation in different cultural environments with a primary focus on the geospatial domain.

In this endeavour, the Working Group will seek to strengthen its collaboration with UNESCO to support the implementation of its recommended AI ethics principles, and endeavour to support the scientific effort through research partnerships funded by European and international research programmes (timeframe 2022-23).

The Working Group will explore together with the other ISDE Working Groups the possibility of developing a new open access manual of Digital Earth focused on data governance and AI ethics including the review of general principles and the collection and analysis of the case-studies of data governance and AI ethics implementation in different settings (timeframe 2023-24).

The Working Group will also take every opportunity to raise awareness, disseminate its activities, and strengthen its membership at national and international conferences and industry-led events (timeframe 2021-24).

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