Background

The 7th Digital Earth Summit 2018, DES-2018, on "Digital Earth for Sustainable Development in Africa" will be held in El Jadida, Morocco, at the Faculty of Science, Chouaib Douakkali University from April 17-19, 2018.

This conference will be a major event in the African and international community of Earth observation and geo-spatial information science in 2018. It will be organized by International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE, http://www.digitalearth-isde.org) and the Chouaib Douakkali University (UCD, http://www.ucd.ac.ma ) in partnership with the the African Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (AARSE) and the Moroccan Association of Remote Sensing of the Environment (MARSE).

Since the concept of "Digital Earth" was put forth in 1998, by the vice-president of the United States Al Gore, the development of Digital Earth has thrived with the help of active promotion by scientists from various countries. In recent decades the concept has evolved thanks to the development and adoption of technologies such as earth observation, geo-information systems, global positioning systems, communication networks, sensor webs, electromagnetic identifiers, virtual reality and grid computation.

The main objective of DES-2018 is to bring together scientists and professionals from the African and international community to present latest achievements, discuss challenges and share experiences. The conference program will feature keynote speeches delivered by leading scholars, technical sessions with reports of the latest research outcomes, discussion sessions on operational topics such as capacity building, Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI), big data, space policy, programmes and projects, as well as commercial exhibitions showing latest products and services in Digital Earth and geospatial information technologies.

The International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE), founded in Beijing in 2006, is a non-political, non-governmental and not-for-profit international organization principally promoting academic exchange, science and technology innovation, education, and international collaboration towards Digital Earth.

The purpose of ISDE is to promote international cooperation of the Digital Earth vision, and enable Digital Earth technologies to play key roles in, inter alia, economic and socially sustainable development, to promote information technology and to reduce digital divide.

Among the main activities of ISDE, the Society organizes every even year the "International Symposium on Digital Earth" and every odd year the "Digital Earth Summit". The International Symposium on Digital Earth series commenced in 1999, in Beijing (China) and has been held in Fredericton (Canada) in 2001, Brno (Czech) in 2003, Tokyo (Japan) in 2005, Berkley (USA) in 2007, Beijing (China) in 2009, Perth (Australia) in 2011, Kuching (Malaysia) in 2013, Halifax (Canada) in 2015 and Sydney (Australia) in 2017.

The "Digital Earth Summit" started in 2006 in Auckland (New Zealand), then Berlin (Germany) in 2008, Nesebar (Bulgaria) in 2010, Wellington (New Zealand) in 2012, Nagoya (Japan) in 2016 and Beijing (China) in 2016. The 7th Digital Earth Summit (DES-2018) will be for the first time in the African continent in El jadida (Morocco).