Digital Earth

Digital earth is the name of a concept introduced by Al Gore, then vice president of the United States, in a 1998 speech at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Gore described digital earth as a multiresolution, three-dimensional representation of the planet into which can be embedded vast quantities of geo-referenced data—that is, an interactive digital replica of the planet. This entry describes digital earth and its purpose and looks at projects related to digital earth and prospects for its future.

In his 1998 speech, Gore noted that we live in a world where vast amounts of geo-referenced data are continuously being collected. For example, the Landsat program has acquired millions of images of the earth’s surface since its launch in 1972. However, such data ...

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