Sven Schade of the European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy.

Sven Schade of the European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy.

Four scientists with the International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE) have suggested developing an international curriculum (course system) to educate future professionals about how to help deliver the Digital Earth (DE) vision.

In a letter published in the November 2013 issue of the International Journal for Digital Earth, Tim Foresman, Yola Georgiadou, Sven Schade and Josef Strobl claimed that ‘the maturing DE society should chart educational territory to match the exponential growth of this disruptive technology suite.’

They suggested that ‘a revolutionary delivery approach must be considered.’ This would require considerably more involvement by scientists, politicians and citizens to direct the vision’s potentials towards general education.

A Digital Earth curriculum should be clearly distinguishable from traditional fields of studies and be multi-disciplinary in structure¬† ‘a sum that is more than its parts’. It should focus on the future career needs of ‘digital natives’.

The authors suggested a ‘Type II partnership’ approach (involving private and civil sector participants) to developing the DE curriculum.

The letter’s lead author, Dr Tim Foresman (former head of the Digital Earth group at NASA), is working with another ISDE member, Richard Simpson, to test DE education approaches via an international masterclass on spatial information, to be held in Brisbane in 2014.