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8th International Symposium on Digital Earth Held in Malaysia
 Date: 2013-09-04  Page Views:

From August 26 to 29, 2013, the 8th International Symposium on Digital Earth, themed “Transforming Knowledge into Sustainable Practice”, was held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. It was jointly organized by the International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE), Technological University of Malaysia (UTM) and University Malaysia Sarawak. This was the first time of the symposium being held in a Southeast Asian country in the past 14 years since its launch.

On August 26, the Opening Ceremony attracted participation of over 360 experts and scholars in the field of digital earth from 35 countries and regions. Prof. Mazlan Hashim, Symposium Chairman and Director of UTM Institute of Geospatial Science & Technology, ISDE President Prof. John Richards, and Mr. Lo Khere Ching, Chairman of Kuching Bada Vaughan Council were on the stage and gave their respective speech.

Prof. Mazlan Hashim recognized the supportive role of digital earth technology in ecological environmental monitoring, disaster emergency response, and human health and well-beings. According to him, with global warming and frequent natural disasters, we will face more challenges and have greater responsibilities to update and improve the digital earth concept. Prof. John Richards pointed out that in the past decade, the digital earth technologies had been developed rapidly and they are now gradually maturing. By integrating and applying multi-disciplinary knowledge and mobilizing public participation, we would be able to make the global digital model based on the digital earth technology more scientifically in identifying and describing the natural, social and economic phenomenon closely related to human sustainability, in order to better conserve and improve our living environment.

Dr. Barbara Ryan, Secretariat Director of Group on Earth Observations (GEO), Dr. Alessandro Annoni, European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), Dr. Mustafa Din Subari, Deputy Director General of Malaysian National Space Agency, and Guo Huadong, Director General of CAS Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) were invited to give keynote speeches, entitled “Building a Global Earth Observation System of Systems”, “Next-generation Digital Earth: Earth Observation today”, “National Earth Observation Program for Digital Earth”, and “Big Data and Digital Earth”, respectively. Guo elucidated in his speech the characteristics of digital earth in the big data era and the close relation between big data and digital earth. He believed that digital earth meant the practical application of big data in earth observation and earth science, brought more opportunities and challenges for the development of digital earth and showed a new direction for more innovative and higher-level development of digital earth.

During the four-day meeting, participants exchanged ideas on 12 topics including the digital earth concept and innovation, earth observation technology, natural resources management, and digital heritage. The meeting included 18 specially-invited keynotes, 38 parallel sessions and over 200 presentations, in addition to topic-specific seminars on each afternoon, providing an excellent platform for scientific exchange by scientists, entrepreneurs, and administrators in digital earth field.

On August 25, the 8th ISDE Executive Meeting (i.e. first Council Meeting) was held. The council was debriefed on the preparations for the 8th International Symposium on Digital Earth and 5th Digital Earth Summit to be held in Nagoya of Japan in 2014, the bidding presentation for hosting the 9th ISDE in Canada and the summary report of the 4th New Zealand Summit. Council members also discussed the establishment of the Digital Heritage Committee and the Awarding Committee, the development of the Young Scientists Committee, membership management and development, promotion of digital earth programs, the way to improve the organizational structure of ISDE, and how to promote the development of ISDE. The plan to form long-term partnership between ISDE and IOP was approved.

During the meeting, the 5th International Editorial Board Meeting of the International Journal on Digital Earth (IJDE) was also convened. The board was   given the working report of the journal by the editorial office and the statistics report on the publication of the journal by Taylor & Francis, selected the best IJDE paper in 2012 for award at the symposium, and thoroughly discussed how to improve the influence and citation rate of the journal and how to attract more high-level articles in the field of Digital Earth.

At the ISDE8, exhibitions presented by the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the International Society for Digital Earth attracting delegates from around the globe, which have enhanced the international influence of both organizations and promoted academic exchange and international cooperation.

The meeting wrapped up on the afternoon of August 29. At the Closing Ceremony, ISDE expressed full acknowledgement to the organizing committee, and ISDE Secretary General Guo Huadong presented the commemorative plate to Chairman Prof. Mazlan Hashim, and ISDE Chairman Prof. John Richards made a summary for the symposium and announced that the 9th International Symposium on Digital Earth would be held in Halifax, Canada, in 2015.

The International Symposium on Digital Earth was initiated in Beijing in 1999, and was then held biennially in Canada, Czech, Japan, USA, China, Australia and Malaysia. This is an important event of the International Society for Digital Earth, headquartered in Beijing and its secretariat is hosted by the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The openning ceremony of ISDE 8.


Prof. Guo Huadong gives a keynote presentation


The 8th ISDE Executive Meeting.



The 5th IJDE Editorial Board Meeting.  


RADI exhibition booth.


ISDE Exhibition booth. 


ISDE Secretary General, Prof. Guo Huadong presents an appreciation  award to the ISDE8 Chairman, Prof. Mazlan Hashim. 


Canada wins the bid to host the 9th International Symposium on Digital Earth and receives the ISDE flag.  


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