To benefit society by promoting the development and realization of Digital Earth
The 7th Digital Earth Summit 2018, on the theme of 'Digital Earth for Sustainable Development in Africa' was held in El Jadida, Morocco, at the Faculty of Science, Chouaib Douakkali University from April 17-19, 2018. The series of the summit, hosted by the International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE), came to Africa for the first time. The summit was organized under the high patronage of the Majesty the King Mohammed VI, and in partnership with the African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE) and the Moroccan Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (MARSE).
The objective of the summit is to bring together scientists and professionals from the African and international community to present latest achievements, discuss challenges and share experiences on Digital Earth related technologies and their applications for the sustainable development of Africa. The summit tries to facilitate the African in witnessing the Digital Earth challenge and offering possible scientific solutions, to accelerate the digital transformation of the continent. The conference featured 8 keynote speeches delivered by leading scholars, technical sessions with reports of the latest research outcomes. Many around 200 experts from five continents leaned to discuss research issues on Digital Earth in line with the expectations of international and national stakeholders working on Earth observation and geospatial information. The 3 plenaries, 15 sessions, plus panel discussions and side meetings, have covered the topics of Digital Earth capacity building, Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI), big data, space policy, programmes and projects, as well as commercial exhibitions showing latest products and services in Digital Earth and geospatial information technologies. Among the activities programmed during this conference is the official launching of the International Center of Excellence on the Applications of Earth Observation Science and Technology in the Management of Water Resources, and the framework of the International Digital Belt and Road (DBAR) program initiated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
The opening ceremony was chaired by Prof. Kamal Labbassi on the day 17th. Prof. Guo Huadong (President of the International Society for Digital Earth), Mr. Mohammed El Guerrouj (Governor of El Jadida), Mr. Yahia Boughaleb (President of Chouaïb Doukkali University), Mr. Mohamed KHALFAOUI (Director of the National Center for Scientific and Technical Research), the representative of the Secretary of State of the Minister of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water, and the Dean of the Faculty of Sciences, were invited to be guest and gave the opening remarks. Two keynote presentations including ‘DBAR for sustainable development in Africa’ by Prof. Guo Huadong from CAS, and ‘Radio Science investigation as an effective tool for monitoring Earth’s freshwater’ by Dr. Kamal Ouadrhiri from NASA, were given afterwards. ISDE secretariat General Dr. Mario Hernandez chaired the following panel discussion on the topic of the ‘How can African Nations benefit from Earth data to improve resource and decision management’, with 7 speakers from CAS, NASA, Africa union, AARSE, CODATA, UNOSSA, and GEO.
During the day 18th and 19th, another 6 keynote presentations were given as:
Enabling Digital Earth in Africa for Sustainable Development: AARSE Perspective
Prof Olajide Kufoniyi, Professor, Obafemi Awolowo University; President of the the African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment.
FAIR data and the vision of Digital Earth for global challenges
Dr. Simon Hodson, Executive Director of CODATA
GRSS capacity building for Africa
Prof. Paolo Gamba, Professor, Head the Telecommunications and Remote Sensing Laboratory, University of Pavia, Italy
Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, and Africa (GMES & Africa): The First Pan African Earth Observation Programme for the Sustainable Development of Africa
Dr. Tidiane Ouattara, Space Expert and GMES & Africa Coordinator, AUC.
The Secure World Foundation's handbook for new actors in space: Best practices, capacity transfer, and challenges to integrating new actors
Ms. Krystal Wilson, Director for Space Applications Programs.
Geo-computation for Social Science - Experiences in Wuhan University
Prof. Dr. LI Deren, Chair of the Academic Committee of Wuhan University
At the closing ceremony of the summit, Mr. Mohammed Sahabi, the Vice-President of the Chouaïb Doukkali University, read the letter from the University President to the Morocco King to report the success of the Summit, in which the importance of the Digital Belt and Road Initiative (DBAR) and its International Centre for Excellence (DBAR ICoE–El Jadida) was referred with the hope of future collaborations to help the research on water resource management and sustainable development in Africa. The organizer of the 11th International Symposium on Digital Earth being held in Florence, Italy in September 2019 presented the historic city of Italy and invited all participants to attend this symposium. The next Digital Earth Summit host was also announced, Russia got the opportunity in 2020, and a flag handover ceremony was held.