isde pres 2017Since the Halifax Council meeting in October 2015, ISDE has experienced a fruitful year, full of achievements and progress. I would like to take this opportunity to review with you all. ISDE has adjusted its organizational structure to make the governance more centralized and efficient. From July 5th to 6th, just before the 6th Digital Earth Summit, the Bureau Meeting and Council Meeting were held, respectively, where a Bureau with 7 members and a Council with 16 members were formed. The Bureau is engaged to manage ISDE and guide the established Committees, and the Council focuses more on scientific aspects and the strategic plans of the society. I do believe that with our full dedication ISDE will definitely open another new page in history. 

As an important event of ISDE, the 6th Digital Earth Summit was successfully convened in Beijing from July 7th to 8th. With the theme of “Digital Earth in the Era of Big Data”, this Summit served as a platform for broad communication about advanced Digital Earth science and technology and deep discussions on the new opportunities and challenges that Digital Earth encounters in the era of big data. More than 300 delegates including scientists, engineers, technologists, and administrators from about 30 countries attended the Summit.

This year marks ten years since the establishment of ISDE, and the 10th anniversary was celebrated during the 2016 Summit. To commend those persons who have made special contributions to advancing the development of Digital Earth and the Society, 7 awards and honorary titles, including ISDE Fellow, were given to scientists during an award ceremony for their outstanding contribution and performance.

On July 6th, a proposal establishing a scientific network with the Digital Belt and Road (DBAR) Initiative was approved at the Council meeting. With support from GEO, CODATA, GSDI, OGC, ICIMOD, UTM, Neogeography R&D Group, and Technopark Protvino, ISDE successfully received approval for a proposal establishing a Digital Belt and Road Scientific Alliance with financial support. This means ISDE has built up the ability to collaborate with a broad range of international organizations to implement scientific and technical research and provide support for sustainable development at regional and global scales.

ISDE has increasingly built a broad range of networks with other international organizations. At its Halifax Council meeting, ISDE and GSDI signed an MOU in a joint ceremony to work towards cooperation for their mutual benefit. ISDE continues its partnership with CODATA for future work with Earth observation data and the Digital Earth platform. ISDE also signed a MOU with the African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE), which will potentially strengthen the linkage between the two organizations and make it possible for ISDE events to be held in Africa in the future.

In addition, ISDE co-organized several international conferences with other organizations. From April 20th to 22nd, Interexpo GEO-Siberia-2016 was held in Novosibirsk, Russia, during which ISDE co-hosted a seminar on “Digital Earth’s role in sustainable development of territories influenced by significant global climate change”. From September 19th to 21st, ISDE co-organized the 3rd International Symposium on Earth Observation for Arid and Semi-Arid Environments (ISEO) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Following that, ISDE participated in the 13th Plenary Meeting of GEO in St. Petersburg, Russia, from November 9th to 10th, and had the honor of organizing one of the 21 official side events before the Plenary Meeting. From October 24th to 28th, ISDE co-sponsored the 11th International Conference of AARSE in Kampala, Uganda, and was introduced to scientists in Africa.

I am also happy to inform you that with the ISDE secretariat’s great efforts, the Executive Board meeting of the International Council for Science (ICSU) admitted ISDE’s application to join ICSU as an International Scientific Associate. So far ICSU has received enough (more than the 9 minimum) support letters from its national and union members to support ISDE’s application. We shall hopefully get the final approval at the General Assembly of ICSU next year.

With the excellent publishing performance of the International Journal of Digital Earth (IJDE), ISDE is preparing to publish another international academic journal, named Big Earth Data. This new journal will publish research and valuable datasets related to “big data” studies of the Earth sciences. The international editorial board has been under construction and the inauguration issue of Big Earth Data is proposed to be published in October 2017.