Scientific Big data and Digital Earth

Big data has been a focus of research in science, technology, economics, and social studies. Many countries have already incorporated big data research into their national strategies. A paper “Scientific big data and Digital Earth”, recently published in Chinese Science Bulletin, elaborated upon the origin, connotation, and development of big data from both a spatial and temporal perspective.

“Scientific big data is the engine for discovery and innovation.” said Prof. Guo huadong, the article author who is the professor of the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, acclaimed that scientific big data could be considered as a new solution in scientific research as the paradigm changes from being model-driven to data-driven. He also gave defines for the concept of ‘‘scientific big data’’ and proposed strategies for solving ‘‘big data problems’’.

Digital Earth is a typical application of scientific big data. Its data acquisition, organization, analysis, and application reflect almost all characteristics of scientific big data. From the perspective of scientific big data, Digital Earth could be considered as big Earth data, or it could be interpreted as a discipline based on the development of big Earth data. Theoretical frameworks and data systems for Digital Earth discussed in the paper, has proved with a clear conclusion that scientific big data is a prominent feature of Digital Earth. As an example, spatial cognition of the formation mechanism of China’s Heihe-Tengchong Line—a geo-demo graphic demarcation line dividing China into two parts—was discussed within the context of big data computation and analysis for Digital Earth.

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