Rendiconti Lincei

, Volume 26, Supplement 1, pp 97–103 | Cite as

From paper maps to the Digital Earth and the Internet of Places

Geodesy and Geomatics to the edge


Maps have always been tools that have fascinated men, for their ability to make us see the world that surrounds us. They were and are the outcome of models and methods applied to the observation of the world, starting from geodesy, surveying photogrammetry and remote sensing. All these disciplines, which we now group under the new name of geomatics, have had a tremendous boost in recent years. However, the synergy with information computer technology is probably the aspect that is revolutionizing more cartography. Earlier computers and after the Internet have brought us to new concepts and tools that will have profound effects not only in the world of niche of cartographers, but also more generally in the life of all human beings. The Digital Earth, proposed in 1998 by Al Gore, has been enriched in just twenty years of a set of new demands, which make even more interesting and challenging being cartographers today. The paper, without claiming to be comprehensive, aims at providing a concise overview of the state of art and of the advancement in this area. Moreover, it urges the community of geomatics to be protagonist and promoter of a new cartography, largely to be reinvented, and that would put us at the center of processes of knowledge and management of the Earth. The map makers in the past helped discovering new worlds, now the challenge is to rediscover our common world with new eyes of environmental, social, economic equity, sustainability and participation.


Maps Digital Earth Geospatial Web Geo Big Data Participatory Earth Internet of Places 


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Copyright information

© Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Politecnico di Milano, DICAComoItaly

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