Inspired by the Digital Earth visions promoted in books and lectures by former US Vice President Al Gore since 1992, the International Symposium for Digital Earth (ISDE) was held in Beijing in late 1999, hosted by the Chinese Government and 19 supporting organisations.
In April 2000, an international steering committee for the ISDE was established, chaired by the president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor Lu Yongxiang.
At its 6th Symposium in Beijing in late 2009, the ISDE’s Board agreed (as a global peak organisation for earth and space science researchers) to begin a process to partner with the d_city-catalysed ‘global digital cities research network’. It later joined the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the Geneva-based organisation leading the Global Earth Observations System of Systems (GEOSS) project.
At its meeting in Bulgaria in 2010, the ISDE’s Executive Council agreed to establish a new digital cities working party, chaired by Richard Simpson of New Zealand. Its first publication is the d_city: Digital Earth | Virtual Nations | Data Cities manifesto #1 now online here.
In 2012, the ISDE’s Vision 2020 working group published two new academic papers to help clarify next directions for the Digital Earth vision. One was published in the International Journal for Digital Earth, here. The other is in the June 2012 (early edition) archive of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS-US), here.