Significant advances in Earth system understanding will only be achieved through better integration of data and knowledge from the different Earth science disciplines and earth compartments. Improvement in this field strongly depends on our capabilities of dealing with fast growing multi-parameter data and on our effort employing Data Science methods, adapting new algorithms and developing digital workflows tailored to specific scientific needs. A close cooperation between natural scientists and data scientists will be the next ‘game changer’ in earth sciences to both understand processes in small sub-systems of the Earth and to find answers to pressing challenges that need investigations across earth interfaces as for climate change, resource security or geo-hazards.
With Digital Earth we will address these challenges within and between the Helmholtz partners, but also by including expertise from the outside and establish more international links to similar projects and long-term initiatives in Europe and globally. Digital Earth has been strategically initiated by all eight centres of the Helmholtz research field Earth and Environment. It directly links to two other initiatives of a joint infrastructure (MOSES) and of earth system modelling (ESM), all concurrently aiming to continue the efforts of answering the set objectives within the next PoF-IV phase through.
We defined three work packages (WPs) that deal with SMART Monitoring Designs (WP1), Data Exploration Frameworks (WP2) and Sustainable Collaboration (WP3) in which e.g. visual and machine learning data exploration, quality/uncertainty pre-processing, data-gap closing or the joint development and long-term maintenance of software have been identified as objectives. In addition, in WP4 we will evaluate the usability of our data science approaches and the success of the project for gaining new scientific insight. WP5 will secure the overall project coordination, involve a scientific advisory board and will establish Thematic Seed Groups for ‘Earth Monitoring’, ‘Data Provision and Data Quality’, ‘Data Exploration’, ‘Data Management & Governance’ and ‘Software Architecture-Concepts’. The Seed Groups build the discussion forum among the tasks, to external partners and later on will evolve in knowledge hubs within PoF-IV.