Next-generation digital earth

Michael F. Goodchild, Huadong Guo, Alessandro Annoni, Ling Bian, Kees De Bie, Frederick Campbell, Max Craglia, Manfred Ehlers, John Van Genderen, Davina Jackson, Anthony J. Lewis, Martino Pesaresi, Gábor Remetey-Fülöpp, Richard Simpson, Andrew Skidmore, Changlin Wang, Peter Woodgate

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


A speech of then-Vice President Al Gore in 1998 created a vision for a Digital Earth, and played a role in stimulating the development of a first generation of virtual globes, typified by Google Earth, that achieved many but not all the elements of this vision. The technical achievements of Google Earth, and the functionality of this first generation of virtual globes, are reviewed against the Gore vision. Meanwhile, developments in technology continue, the era of "big data" has arrived, the general public is more and more engaged with technology through citizen science and crowd-sourcing, and advances have been made in our scientific understanding of the Earth system. However, although Google Earth stimulated progress in communicating the results of science, there continue to be substantial barriers in the public's access to science. All these factors prompt a reexamination of the initial vision of Digital Earth, and a discussion of the major elements that should be part of a next generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11088-11094
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 10 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Scientific communication
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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