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.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Jul 2012|