Archive for the 'Publications' Category

Report on ISDE at the EARSeL Newsletter, Issue 92


The International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE) was founded in May 2006 in China, headquartered at the Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, on the principles of the 1999 Beijing Declaration on Digital Earth. In 2009, ISDE was accepted by the Group on Earth Observations as a participating organisation. The Society promotes international cooperation in the Digital Earth Vision, and   facilitates Digital Earth technologies to play key roles in, inter alia, economic and socially-sustainable development, environmental protection, early warning and disaster mitigation, natural resources conservation, education and improvement of the well-being of the society in general. The Mission of the Society is to provide a framework for understanding evolving society-beneficial geospatial technologies, current and newly emerging, and to revise the Digital Earth Vision in light of new developments.

The society’s forthcoming events and publications and a full report on ISDE, provided by Prof. Changlin WANG, Executive Director of ISDE, appears at the current issue of the European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories / EARSeL Newsletter, (92). You can read this report at pages 19-20 of the Newsletter via the following link.


30 years time series of Global LAI, FAPAR, FCover now available


The Core Mapping Service BioPar of the geoland2 project announces the availability of 30 years time series of global LAI, FAPAR and FCover made of:

  • from 1981 to 2000, LAI, FAPAR and FCover are derived from NOAA/AVHRR Long Term Data Record (LTRD) dataset provided by NASA and the University of Maryland. They cover the globe at 0.05° resolution.
  • from 1999 to the present, LAI, FAPAR and FCover are derived from SPOT/VGT data at 1km resolution.

The innovative methodology set-up by INRA allows that both datasets are fully compatible. The NOAA/AVHRR products have been generated by CNES, and the SPOT/VGT products are produced by VITO.

All these products can be discovered and ordered freely through the geoland2 web portal following the link The Algorithmic Theoretical Basis Documents, and the Product User Manuals are also available. It is also possible to subscribe to receive the future products (from SPOT/VGT) as soon as they are generated (

They were all developed in the framework of the FP7/geoland2 project (, the precursor project of the GMES Land service.


Call For Papers: IEEE Signal Processing Society: “Special Issue on Signal and Image Processing in Hyperspectral Remote Sensing”

Aims and Scope

Hyperspectral imaging has recently emerged as one of the very promising technologies in remote sensing, enabling applications that may have been previously seen as impossible in multispectral imaging. Hyperspectral cameras deployed in current airborne or satellite systems can cover the visible and near-infrared wavelengths at a resolution of 10nm, with more than 200 spectral channels. This vastly increased spectral information content creates a unique opportunity for numerous applications, such as mineral identification, agriculture, environment monitoring, terrain classification, object detection, change detection, and many more. Hyperspectral imaging is also a key technique for planetary exploration, astrophysics, and non-remote sensing problems such as food inspection and forensics. Remarkably, these meaningful and important applications have led to a wide variety of signal processing problems, which have attracted growing attention and contributions from the signal processing, image processing and machine learning communities. In particular, we have witnessed developments that are far from being just a straight application of a signal processing technique. Instead, some of them turn out to provide new insights and open new dimensions for fundamental signal processing research. For example, it has recently become clear that the unmixing topic in hyperspectral remote sensing has formed a new branch of blind source separation techniques, wherein the exploitation of special source characteristics, such as local sparsity, has been found to provide very effective blind separation solutions. The same goes with the classification and detection topics, where the utilization of contextual information or combined spatial-spectral processing has resulted in new paradigms. Moreover, the recent research trend indicates that hyperspectral signal and image processing is embracing frontier signal processing concepts very quickly—this includes sparse signal processing, compressive sensing, and convex and nonconvex optimization, just to name a few.

The aim of this special issue is to gather high-quality tutorial-style articles that introduce key signal processing topics arising from hyperspectral remote sensing, demonstrate the insight and uniqueness of signal processing techniques established in this area, and/or provide overviews of the latest trends. In particular, we wish to shift the perspective from the remote sensing side to signal processing, and extract insight behind the signal processing developments happening in hyperspectral remote sensing. While this is the focus of this special issue, we may also welcome application-oriented papers that can tell a good story regarding how signal processing makes a difference.

Topics of Interest include (but are not limited to):

  • unmixing, both linear and nonlinear, and both semisupervised and unsupervised
  • classification
  • target or anomaly detection at a subpixel level
  • coded aperture and compressive sensing
  • sparse signal processing, which includes sparse regression, dictionary learning, multiple measurement vector models, etc
  • convex and nonconvex optimization
  • contextual information or combined spatial-spectral processing
  • Bayesian and statistical signal processing
  • nonlinear manifold learning, graph theoretic methods
  • dimension reduction, subspace identification, non-negative matrix factorization

Submission Process

Articles submitted to this special issue must contain significant relevance to signal processing and its application to hyperspectral remote sensing. All submissions will be peer reviewed according to the IEEE and Signal Processing Society guidelines. Submitted articles should not have been published or under review elsewhere. Manuscripts should be submitted online at using the Manuscript Central interface.

Submissions to this special issue of the IEEE SIGNAL PROCESSING MAGAZINE should have significant tutorial value. Prospective authors should consult the site for guidelines and information on paper submission.

Important Dates

Tentative Schedule
White paper (4 pages) due December 9, 2012
Invitation notification January 3, 2013
Manuscript submission due March 22, 2013
Acceptance notification June 15, 2013
Final manuscript due August 18, 2013 (strict)
Final Publication January 2014


One month free access to paper – International Journal of Digital Earth

The full paper entitled “Global characterization and monitoring of forest cover using Landsat data: opportunities and challenges” published at the International Journal of Digital Earth is free to download via the following link, until the end of this November.


The compilation of global Landsat data-sets and the ever-lowering costs of computing now make it feasible to monitor the Earth’s land cover at Landsat resolutions of 30 m. In this article, we describe the methods to create global products of forest cover and cover change at Landsat resolutions. Nevertheless, there are many challenges in ensuring the creation of high-quality products. And we propose various ways in which the challenges can be overcome. Among the challenges are the need for atmospheric correction, incorrect calibration coefficients in some of the data-sets, the different phenologies between compilations, the need for terrain correction, the lack of consistent reference data for training and accuracy assessment, and the need for highly automated characterization and change detection. We propose and evaluate the creation and use of surface reflectance products, improved selection of scenes to reduce phenological differences, terrain illumination correction, automated training selection, and the use of information extraction procedures robust to errors in training data along with several other issues. At several stages we use Moderate Resolution Spectroradiometer data and products to assist our analysis. A global working prototype product of forest cover and forest cover change is included.

Corresponding Author:  Dr. John R. Townshend, Maryland University,


Next-Generation Digital Earth Paper Published in PNAS

A paper entitled “Next-Generation Digital Earth” was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) on 21 June 2012. The paper, meant to be an update of the Digital Earth vision given by Al Gore over ten years ago, reviews progress in Digital Earth scientific discovery, analyses current work, and forecasts future developments.

Since the Digital Earth concept was put forth in the 1990s, research on Digital Earth has been given great attention internationally. A series of international symposia and summits on Digital Earth were initiated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the International Society of Digital Earth, and two Digital Earth declarations in 1999 and 2009 were produced from the proceedings of these meetings. The first international journal focusing on scientific Digital Earth research was inaugurated as the International Journal of Digital Earth in 2008. In March 2011, the International Society for Digital Earth organized the Digital Earth Vision to 2020 working group, which included seventeen Digital Earth scientists from Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the USA. The paper published in PNAS is a significant output from the working group and is a milestone in Digital Earth’s history.

The paper introduced many Digital Earth implementations such as Google Earth, NASA World Wind, and DEPS/CAS, positing that they have largely fulfilled the original Digital Earth vision from 1998. In more recent years, however, new developments in Internet, 3D, and Earth observation technologies have further accelerated the fulfilment of the Digital Earth concept and expanded the possibilities of what Digital Earth can be. For example, new research questions related to big data have brought Digital Earth into a new data-intensive era. Also, it has become clear that the next generation of Digital Earth will not be a single system but, rather, multiple connected infrastructures based on open access and participation across multiple technological platforms that will address the needs of different audiences. A more dynamic view has also been proposed of Digital Earth as a digital nervous system of the globe, actively informing about events happening on (or close to) the Earth’s surface by connecting to sensor networks and situation-aware systems. The paper also explored the significant organizational challenges faced in advancing Digital Earth. Any effort to develop a next-generation Digital Earth will require new governance models. In addition to the International Society for Digital Earth, many other organizations, including the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association (GSDI), the International Council for Science and its Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA, ICSU), the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, and many national agencies will address various aspects of the future Digital Earth. These organizations can play a helpful role in endorsing the concept of a next-generation Digital Earth and elaborating its vision. Along with the scientific community, they can also ensure that the next generation meets the highest standards of scientific rigor, especially careful and detailed documentation of uncertainty.

PNAS, the official journal of the United States National Academy of Sciences, is an important scientific journal that printed its first issue in 1915 and continues to publish highly cited research reports and other articles. The Digital Earth paper will contribute new thinking through PNAS and will lead new findings being discovered worldwide.

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