The Digital Belt and Road program in support of regional sustainability

Huadong Guo*, Jie Liu, Yubao Qiu, Massimo Menenti, Fang Chen, Paul F. Uhlir, Li Zhang, John van Genderen, Dong Liang, Ishwaran Natarajan, Lanwei Zhu, Jiuliang Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The Belt and Road initiative has a significant focus on infrastructure, trade, and economic development across a vast region, and it also provides significant opportunities for sustainable development. The combined pressure of climate variability, intensified use of resources, and the fragility of ecosystems make it very challenging, however, to achieve future sustainability. To develop the path in a sustainable way, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of these issues across nations and evaluate them in a scientific and well-informed approach. In this context, the Digital Belt and Road (DBAR) program was initiated as an international venture to share expertise, knowledge, technologies, and data to demonstrate the role of Earth observation science and technology and big Earth data applications to support large-scale development. In this paper, we identify pressing challenges, present the research priorities and foci of the DBAR program, and propose solutions where big Earth data can make significant contributions. This paper calls for further joint actions and collaboration to build a digital silk road in support of sustainable development at national, regional and global levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 657-669
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Digital Earth
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • big Earth data
  • Digital Belt and Road program (DBAR)
  • Earth observation
  • international cooperation
  • research data
  • sustainable development goals (SDGs)


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