To benefit society by promoting the development and realization of Digital Earth
Ever since the Digital Earth concept was put forward in 1998 by U.S. Vice President Al Gore, the vision of digital earth has gained great interest worldwide. In 1999, China initiated the first International symposium on Digital Earth (ISDE) in Beijing, sponsored by 19 ministries and organizations. With considerable support from the Chinese government, the symposium attracted more than 500 delegates including Chinese and foreign scholars, experts and entrepreneurs from 27 countries. The former Vice Premier of China, Li Lanqing, attended the opening ceremony and delivered a speech. At the closing ceremony, a Beijing Declaration on Digital Earth was announced. The Declaration emphasized the necessity of Digital Earth and called for more developments at a global level. It was suggested the International Symposium on Digital Earth be held every two years, rotating between countries. In a special session before the closing ceremony, symposium participants agreed to establish an International Steering Committee on the Symposium chaired by Prof. Lu Yongxiang, then President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.