IDEAS was built as a sub-center of the Chubu Advanced Research Center in 2011 which was established as a first collaborative study institute in Japan (as a private university) in the 1996. Since then, Chubu Advanced Research Center has been asking for the desirable figure of science for nowadays and for the future. Therefore, many cooperative researches were implemented to study and to achieve the “restructuring of the sciences”. IDEAS is established based on the same scope, but more focused on the sustainability of the earth. The aim of IDEAS activity is strongly supported by GIS based platform, which can tangibly handle and visualize the problems occurring on earth. IDEAS has been placing development and utilization of Digital Earth as a main study topic to approach the global problems since its establishment. In fact, many services and concepts which are based on “location”, such as Digital Twins or DX, are rapidly increasing their importance in the nowadays society. IDEAS is making constant efforts taking these new concepts and cutting-the-edge techniques into the studies to apply better solution to the problem.
IDEAS has been playing a leading role in conducting and promoting Digital Earth research in Japan since IDEAS was accredited as the “Joint usage/research center for Digital Earth to address emerging complex systemic problems” by Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) on April 1st, 2014 and 2020.
The aim of IDEAS
The aim of IDEAS is to confront the facing complexed global problems by designing a sustainable society. Indeed, it is a challenging work which can only be accomplished by inter-disciplinary effort among the researchers from many fields. Digital Earth will function as a platform which collects, analyzes, and to visualize the related scientific evidences in a comprehensive manner. Thus, a role as a joint-laboratory for inter-disciplinary studies, and as a communication platform for a careful deliberation toward global environmental problem / large-scale disasters are expected to Digital Earth.
Another important role of IDEAS is as a “hub” among the academic world and the society. IDEAS have a cooperation with several nearby local governments. The regional problems are studied through discussion with the government officers and citizens based on the results from the joint researches.
The global expansion of various risks of natural disasters and epidemics are not only influencing the change in population or rise of populism, but it also severely impacts socio-economic activities. These social threats are now eagerly demanding a change in the academic field, a change from “science as an expedition of truth” to the “science as a designer of future”. In fact, not only the scientists, but also participation and cooperation from various stakeholders are required to pursue the sustainable society. IDEAS is willing to support the communication among the various players and to build consensus by visualizing the “now” of earth through Digital Earth technology. Digital Earth can provide a perspective views of real-time earth with a multi-layer/multi-resolution information.
Significant increase of earth observation information in this decades have accelerated the improvements in GIS (Geographic Information System) technologies and field of Geoinformatics. At the same time, “big data” are constantly increasing through the growth of citizen science and SNS like services brought by the global spread of ICT and Web technologies. The global growth of IT technology is rapidly preparing the environment for practical use and operation of Digital Earth. IDEAS is implementing a pluralistic research to build a system which merges “Cyber Space (cyber world)” and “Physical Space (real world)” (termed in “The 5th Science and Technology Basic Plan”) together.
About the Digital Earth
The essence of the Society 5.0 can be summarized as a world which “decision making in a cyber space” to play a preceding role when taking action in the real-world. Thus, when talking about Digital Earth as real-earth metaphor, it is essential to build cyber space without a major lack of information. Of course this requires enormous amount of spatial information and a tool to handle the information comprehensively. Digital Earth (earth metaphor) which provides a multi-layer, multi-resolution, and 3D visualization can be a perfect solution for this purpose. It is possible to clarify the perspectives of various complexed problems on earth by accurately mapping the real-world into the cyber-space. Moreover, the function of Digital Earth as a communication platform is expected to provide an environment to accelerate the collaboration among the stakeholders and their mutual understandings.