SRI’s Digital Earth Project


Reddy, Martin & Eriksen, Michael & Leclerc, Y. & Brecht, J. & Colleen, David. (2002). SRI’s Digital Earth Project.


The goal of SRI International’s Digital Earth project was to develop the infrastructure for an open, distributed, multiresolution, 3-D representation of the earth, into which massive quantities of georeferenced information can be embedded. Ex-Vice-President Al Gore referred to this vision as the“Digital Earth” (Gore, 1998). This required, in part, vast resources to build and maintain synthetic models of the earth, resources that only a worldwide distributed effort can achieve. It also required an internetwork capable of storing and rapidly indexing massive quantities of data by geographical location (color imagery of the planet at 1-cm resolution alone requires 1 petabyte of storage) and of delivering the data required for a given viewpoint at rates as high as 50 Mbits/s per person.

This work comprised a team from the Artificial Intelligence Center at SRI International (, the Center for Technology and Learning also at SRI International (, and Planet 9 Studios (

The project was funded by the DARPA Next Generation Internet (NGI) program under contract MDA972-99-C-0011 and ran from September 1999 to September 2002.

A project website is maintained at

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