An Introduction to the Deep-time Digital Earth

WHAT is Deep-time Digital Earth (DDE)

The Deep-time Digital Earth (DDE) is the first IUGS-recognized big science programme. DDE is committed to developing itself as a provider of public goods and services for science and technology development globally, in particular to assist countries to realize SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015. The overall mission of DDE is to harmonize global earth evolution data and share global geoscience knowledge. The long-term vision of DDE is to transform the earth sciences by encouraging a data-driven research paradigm. Currently, DDE has 23 Founding Members and 26 Working and Task Groups (WTGs).


WHY is DDE initiated


Noting the growing importance and value of data-driven research and international cooperation in many scientific fields to deliver a range of global public goods and services, and that the geoscience community had a vast store of data which it can use to support such research and collaboration,

Recognizing that geoscientists must work closely with fellow earth scientists to address global challenges such as climate change, resource scarcities, natural disasters, etc., and share data, knowledge and insights to contribute to the sustainable development of people and the planet,

Considering that geoscience’s engagement with the digital and the open science revolutions can have systemic impact on the enhancement of emerging, data-driven scientific and technological research paradigms and facilitate breakthrough achievements in earth sciences’ contributions to meeting global environmental and development challenges,

Endorsed the proposal to launch the first ever Big Science Program recognized by IUGS, namely Deep-time Digital Earth (DDE). DDE is committed to linking geoscience to growing trends in data driven research and open science, sharing of knowledge and communications and demonstrating the significance and value of geoscience data and knowledge for international cooperation committed to sustainable development. The current status of international geoscience research and development cooperation needs to adapt to increase inter-disciplinary cooperation, greater use of AI (Artificial Intelligence), machine learning, big-data analytics and other data science tools and technologies and generate data, models and knowledge that facilitate nations address societal, environmental and development challenges of the 21st century.



HOW is DDE organized

Under the guidance of its Governing Council (GC), Executive Committee (EC) and the Scientific Committee (SC), and supported by the International Research Centers of Excellence (RCEs) and the Working and Task Groups (WTGs) and an international Secretariat, DDE is practicing open science and focusing on the earth/s evolution, aiming at constructing the cloud infrastructure to achieve the globalization of scientific research, diversification of cooperative mechanisms, and enhance and encourage mutually beneficial interactions between information and earth sciences. The detailed research framework is as follows:


Science: Focus on billions of years of the earth’s evolutionary history, and make breakthroughs in major, fundamental scientific questions of deep-time evolution of materials, life, climate and geography;

Knowledge: Establish a standardized Knowledge Graph that covers all fields of solid-earth science and facilitate the creation of nodes at disciplinary, country and other desired levels so as to provide the basis for the integrated sharing, accurate analysis, and intelligent extension of the various scientific and technological knowledge and resources;

Data: Establish a foundation for FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) data availability for global research and development cooperation in earth sciences using the most up-to-date technology, standards, mechanisms and ensuring safety and respect for intellectual property rights;

Communication: Using multimedia approaches, expand interactive channels between the science community and the public for using data, knowledge, research findings and insights and showcase how DDE projects and initiatives contribute to addressing the challenges faced by the world;

Digital Platform: Cyberinfrastructure that delivers earth science knowledge, data, models, and computing power to address global earth science issues and societal needs.


WHO can benefit from DDE

DDE plans to serve and enable you to carry out innovative activities at the lowest costs possible for digital transformation of data and information:

If you are an individual scientist, DDE could assist you to:

a) Obtain knowledge and emerging trends hidden in mass documents;

b) Have access to a “one-click” link to massive data resources;

c) Bridge hashrate (computational power/second) and algorithm gaps;

If you are a representative of an international organization (program), a scientific research institute, DDE could assist you to:

a) Activate, update and energize your data and human resources;

b) Enhance your organization’s visibility and reputation in terms of integrating earth and information sciences;

c) Enhance your organization’s public awareness and participation in sustainable development through an increased use of data-driven research, analyses and interpretation of findings.

If you are a government representative, DDE could assist you to:

a) Promote your country’s regional research and international cooperation in the earth sciences;

b) Establish a DDE Research Center of Excellence (RCE) with local characteristics supported by up-to-date data and technology resources and expertise;

c) Experiment with data-driven research in earth sciences to meet the needs for realizing priority SDGs.

THE WAY to join DDE

If you are a provider of data, computing power, services, manpower and funds and policy maker:

a) Learn about DDE's concept, vision, mission and operational modes and become a partner or member through planning and implementing collaborative initiatives;

b) Negotiate with the Executive Committee of DDE, sign an agreement with DDE and carry out mutually agreed responsibilities for sharing data for research and development.

If you are a scientist:

a) Comply with DDE's Statutes;

b) Once the cloud infrastructure service of DDE is officially launched in 2022, register yourself and explore easily accessible data and technological resources for use in innovative ways for your research.


Contact person: Dr Natarajan Ishwaran

Email address: