Engaging Destination Earth’s Community – Interview with Jörn Hoffmann
How will Destination Earth – the ambitious initiative of the European Union to create a digital twin of the Earth – engage with different stakeholders and what benefits will this initiative entail for its users? To obtain a better understanding on these issues we interviewed ECMWF Destination Earth Applications Partnership Lead Jörn Hoffmann during the first Destination Earth User eXchange workshop on 15 February 2023.
First steps to an engaged DestinE community
DestinE will be developed by gradually envisaging the complete release by 2030. Hoffmann emphasised that, at this initial phase, one of the priorities is to build a strong community and understand the users’ requirements.
The goal is to involve public sector users, providers and developers to understand their requirements for DestinE and understand how they envision interaction with the digital twins. Through different online and in-person activities, DestinE targets those who are working with topics related to climate change and management of emergencies caused by weather extremes at the EU, national and subnational levels.
The first User eXchange workshop took place at the ESA-ESRIN facility, in Frascati, Rome on 15 February 2023, bringing together over 400 participants who had the opportunity to share their expectations on Destination Earth. The event is part of a series aimed at introducing users to the services that DestinE will provide while understanding in depth these users’ needs. The next User eXchange will take place 13-14 November 2023 in Bonn, Germany. Bookmark our events section to find out about the 2nd DestinE User eXchange!
User-centred co-design paradigm as the driving force
Even before having an operational system, the “co-design” approach allows future users to contribute to the system design already.
The co-design process is now substantiated via a set of use cases procured by ECMWF. By implementing specific models and designing a tailored interface together with the users, DestinE already addresses issues in the energy, air quality management, urban planning, flood risk management sectors, among others; while collecting specifications and requirements that feed into the development of the digital twin.
Additional tenders will be launched by DestinE entities in the near future to further engage with institutions, scientific and technological organisations across Europe for additional use cases to contribute to the co-design of Destination Earth.
Next generation models and co-creation at the heart of DestinE
Destination Earth is a complex and large-scale initiative, involving multiple partners and building on different components. When asked about the major differentiating factors from existing EO services, Jörn Hoffmann highlighted three of them:
First of all, DestinE will consist of highly evolved models running on the fastest supercomputers in Europe that will generate more reliable and accurate predictions than what is currently available.
Secondly, the initiative aspires to build a truly comprehensive and interactive ecosystem by coupling predictions with impact sector models.
Thirdly, the fact that DestinE is being implemented together with its users, will result in greater responsiveness to their needs, making DestinE highly user oriented.
These three factors will contribute to create a new kind of system that responds to the needs of decisions makers at many different geographic levels and in diverse sectors.
“Providing the needed tools to the decision makers at local, national and European level to help make their planning more effective. That’s DestinE’s ultimate objective,” said Jörn Hoffmann.
Contributing to the European Green Deal and Digital Strategy
Hoffmann believes that Destination Earth, with its unprecedented computing capability and focus on climate adaptation and weather extremes, could be crucial to achieving the goals set under the European Green Deal and the Digital Strategy.
In terms of the EU’s digital strategy, DestinE will run on the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking’s state-of-the-art high performing computing infrastructure built across Europe which will allow interactive and configurable access to all data, models and workflows strengthening Europe’s innovation potential. This contributes to the strategy’s aims of digital sovereignty and digital innovation towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In terms of the European Green Deal, Destination Earth will allow end users to better prepare, by providing more information, and testing scenarios for climate adaptation. Whether managing risk in flood-prone areas or supporting urban planning to address heat extremes, the impact sector models that are coupled into the digital twin infrastructure will better support decision makers.
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