The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has launched a global big Earth data project that will be based on cloud service platform and will support research on climate change. CAS aims to establish an open international center for big Earth data through this project. This international center will serve scientists in China as well as countries involved in the Belt and Road initiative. The project is among the 19 A-class strategic high-tech research project launched by the CAS since 2011.
According to Xinhua News, this project will be headed by Guo Huadong, an academician with the CAS Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth. It will include more than 1,200 scientists at 130 institutions worldwide.
According to Huadong, this project will allow integration of science and technology infrastructure with research into environment, resources, ecosystems and biodiversity. It will help researchers make breakthroughs in life sciences, Earth system sciences, and related disciplines. The project will cover several subjects including oceanology, meteorology, etc. This five-year project will cost approximately 1.76 billion yuan ($279 million) and will allow scientists predict and mitigate natural disasters.
Big Earth data is a newly emerging area in geoscience and information science. The main advantage of big Earth data is its accuracy and timeliness. Moreover, it is more scientific and serves as a new tool for understanding the earth.
“Big data has opened a new window for Earth-related studies, and it is the key for scientists to unlock the secrets and understand our planet,” Guo said.
According to Guo, CAS currently has about 44 petabytes (46 million GB) of data, but it lacks in marine data, especially on far seas.
The U.S. had nearly 30 percent of all the data in the world around four years ago, and China, with 16 percent data, was at third position. China aims to have 21 percent of the world’s data in next three years.
“Chinese leaders place heavy emphasis on big data because it is invaluable to innovation and the digital economy,” he said.
“Big data has become a key indicator of a country’s science and development level.”
In the past three years, China has launched many Earth observation satellites, including Fengyun 3D and TANSAT, according to CCTV.com.
“These new tools will collect valuable data to serve researchers worldwide,” said Bai Chunli, the president of the CAS.