The IDEA Consortium takes a place-based, systems approach to understanding our common island home "Island Earth" (see chapter in the 2023 book Island Ecosystems). The initiative integrates data from genome up and planet down. Work began in 2013 to build island digital ecosystem avatars for two of the best-known model ecosystems - Moorea and Tetiaroa in French Polynesia (see IDEA founding charter). Activities now extend to other islands in the region through the 4Site: Pacific Transect Collaborative (uniting Oahu, Palmyra, Moorea, and Tetiaroa - see Ocean-Shot article), as well as coastal and island communities in Europe (e.g., in Greece and Sweden). Improvements in place-based research data management is a key component, and best practices are being developed through the NSF-funded Fair Island Project in collaboration with the California Digital Library, the UC Natural Reserve System, and DataCite among other partners.
In parallel to our work on "avatars", there is growing interest in extending "Digital Twin" technologies from industrial products to living systems of many types, including for example, the ocean (see European Marine Board's 7th Forum: Big Data in Marine Science: Digital Twin Ocean: Island Digital Ecosystem Avatars (IDEA) for Sustainability p.27).
Recognizing these advances and the importance of social-ecological foresight and digital empowerment to address many of society's 'wicked' problems, the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA) carried out an assessment of emerging capacity (see Scientific Anticipatory Brief, Davies et al. 2020), and developed the 2021 Science Breakthrough Radar (breakthrough predictions at 5, 10 and 25 years’ time horizons) including: "World Simulation" (Neil Davies, Scientific Moderator). Following participation in the 2021 GESDA Summit (see GESDA21 Proceedings), work continued with GESDA on how to Navigate the 21st Century with Digital Empowerment (see GESDA 2022 panel).