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Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax

Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax

I first started attending conferences during University when it was required that we present our research work to professionals and other researchers in the Industry. Then the year I graduated was fortunate enough to attend the PDAC conference (now this was prior to the internet and my main focus then was to find a job in my field). PDAC is a large annual conference held in Toronto and the best conference I have ever attended. And I have been attending events & conferences ever since …. I find that although CanadianGIS.com and its social media accounts provide me great networking opportunities, it always better to have opportunities to meet other professionals in the geomatics sector and network one on one.Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax Nova Scotia

International Symposium on Digital Earth (ISDE), also known as Digital Earth for short, was held this past week (Oct 4th-9th) in Halifax. It’s goal is to bring global leaders from the geospatial community together to further discuss topics themed around “A One World Vision for the Blue Planet“.

Atlantic Canada is well known for having a rich history in the world of Geomatics

Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax Nova ScotiaAtlantic Canada is well known for having a rich history in the world of geomatics, tracing back to the post-war era when some of the earliest computer applications in surveying and mapping were developed, and integrated information systems for geographical applications began to be used.  This was also the second time that International Symposium on Digital Earth was hosted in Canada (the last time was 2001 in New Brunswick) since its inaugural start back in 1998 when former US Vice President, Al Gore gave his Digital Earth speech.

Digital Earth is meant to be an event that virtually represents our dynamic planet, encompassing all of its natural and social aspects together in a geographic framework for research and everyday applications. It provides a venue that allows the geospatial community come together to work towards sustainable development ensuring that what most of us take for granted will be here for future generations.

Digital Earth in Halifax explored a wide variety of geographic related theories, technologies, applications and achievements focused around planetary sciences, information technology, computer sciences, social sciences and big data.

Above is a video we created by combining photos & videos (ones we took as well as others from social media)

The five day conference was packed with multiple presenters from all over the world.  Three to four concurrent sessions took place at the same time several times a day, each with speakers taking up to 20 minutes each to present and discuss their topics. Keynote speakers (13 in all) took place in the larger main conference room and lasted between 40 minutes to an hour.NASA at Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax Nova Scotia

With almost 150 presentations, some presenters were able to speak several times. The down side of having so many presentations occurring in overlapping time slots meant that there were times when you had to choose to attend one presentation over another (and thus missed out on some of the talks).

Half way through the conference there was an Education Outreach program that was open to the public, providing hands on activities and scientific excursions aimed to help people better visualize our planet.

The Canadian Geographic Education provided one of their iconic giant floor maps and the Canadian Space Agency (with NASA) provided an opportunity to interact with some Astronauts as a way to get a better understanding of how large our Planet is and at the same time understand how small it is in comparison to the Universe.

Jeremy Hansen and Reid Wiseman together provided an amazing presentation about how big Canada is, and Keynote Dawn Wright from Esri at Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax Nova Scotiawhat it is like to live on the International Space Station. NASA provided detailed digital representations of geographic data on their large high definition hyper-wall (screen made up of 9 smaller screens).

Other social events included some pre-conference workshops, Student Career workshop, Opening and closing Receptions, a Pub Night, Celebration Ceilidh, Student Sociable, Mentor Lunch, and various tours to scenic areas across Nova Scotia.

Considering the wide array of speakers and broad topics covered, the action packed agenda, and the abundant opportunity to network, I think Digital Earth was a good conference. I myself attend several conferences and events in the geomatics sector every year and was fortunate enough to attend Digital Earth in Halifax and certainly would go again if it returned to Canada.

Below is a slide show of photos from Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax

Below are some tweets from Digital Earth 2015 in Halifax

Click here for more Digital Earth Tweets & photos