Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Chinese Version)


Big Earth Data; Earth observation; scientific discoveries; decision support; sustainable development

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Recent improvements in capability and ability of storing and utilizing vast quantity of data has enabled revolutionary innovation of big data analytics. Big data in just a span of few years have occupied strategic importance in many aspects of human society, making data an important commodity and a valuable resource in the era of knowledge based economies. Scientific research into big data collection, storage, analysis, and exploitation have developed rapidly and continues to progress at a rapid pace. At the same time, the amount of historical Earth observation data generated over the past five decades and the continued human and capital resource investments of many countries, public and private corporations ensures improved generation of Earth observation well into the future with exponentially increasing volumes of information on Earth systems and science. This has given rise to a new class of big data termed as "Big Earth Data". Big Earth Data has macrolevel capabilities that enable rapid and accurate monitoring of Earth, and is increasingly gaining importance in Earth sciences, adding value to its utilization in problem driven science and innovation. This paper introduces the characteristics of Big Earth Data and analyzes its great potential for development, particularly in regards to the role that Big Earth Data can play in transforming Earth science. With this context the paper outlines the Project on Big Earth Data Science Engineering (CASEarth) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Strategic Priority Research Program and highlights how the CASEarth would contribute to ensure the actual use of Big Earth Data in support of the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as articulated in the 2030 Agenda document. The potential prospects of developing Big Earth Data and its ability to integrate geosciences, information sciences, and space science and technology makes it a strategic future endeavor for revolutionizing Earth Science as a whole.

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Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences


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