Human being has experienced five stages on the mountainous study, in which the form of mountain information
presented like a cycle, i.e. starts from data, and changed to information, knowledge, finally returned back to data.
Similarly, attribute of mountain information also experienced a cycle of objective information-subjective
information-objective information. There is no essential difference between e-mountains and digital mountains. Based on
the analyzing of the progression of e-mountains studies in China and abroad, this work proposed three key points to build
digital mountains (China): 1) integration and sharing mountain information; 2) methods and models of mountain data
mining; 3) visualization and 3-D simulation of mountain surface processes.
Former studies on mountain system are focused on the department or subject characters, i.e. different department and
branches of learning carry out researches only for their individual purposes and with individual characters of the subject
of interests. As a whole, their investigation is lacking of comprehensive study in combination with global environment.
Ecological environment in mountain regions is vulnerable to the disturbance of human activities. Therefore, it is a key
issue to coordinate economic development and environment protection in mountain regions. On the other hand, a lot of
work is ongoing on mountain sciences, especially depending on the application of RS and GIS. Moreover, the
development of the Digital Earth (DE) provides a clue to re-understand mountains. These are the background of the
emergence of the Digital Mountains (DM). One of the purposes of the DM is integrating spatial related data and
information about mountains. Moreover, the DM is a viewpoint and methodology of understanding and quantifying
mountains holistically. The concept of the DM is that, the spatial and temporal data related to mountain regions are
stored and managed in computers; moreover, manipulating, analyzing, modeling, simulating and sharing of the mountain
information are implemented by utilizing technologies of RS, GIS, GPS, Geo-informatic Tupu, computer, virtual reality
(VR), 3D simulation, massive storage, mutual operation and network communication. The DM aims at advancing
mountain sciences and sustainable mountain development. The DM is used to providing information and method for
coordinating the mountain regions development and environment protection. The fundamental work of the DM is the design of the scientific architecture. Furthermore, construct and develop massive databases of mountains are the important steps these days.