Johannesburg, South Africa: Geospatial technologies are instrumental in building vibrant and sustainable rural communities, and hence there is a need of capacity building especially in rural areas, observed Hon’ble Deputy Mininster, Thembelani Nxesi, Deputy Minister, Rural Development & Land Reform, South Africa. He was addressing the geospatial fraternity during 1st South Africa Geospatial Forum in Johannesburg. The Forum was organised by GIS Development in association with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Republic of South Africa.
Earlier, Prashant Joshi, Director-Sales, GIS Development opined that geographic information has become a critical and relevant component in human life. He explained how the geospatial industry is growing and bringing benefits to various prominent sectors in South Africa.
In his special address, Brig Gen L C Nobanda, General Officer Commanding, South African Army Engineer Formation on behalf of Lieutenant General S.Z. Shoke, chief of South African National Defence Force (SANDF), briefed the vision of SANDF. He acknowledged the importance of geospatial technologies in the safety and security of the nation in various ways. Thanking the audience, Dr. Dereck Clarke, Chief Director, National Geospatial Information Department of Rural Development and Land Reforms, emphasised the importance of user segment and acknowledge the geospatial as a wise tool to serve these sectors.
In addition, the Forum witnessed rich and thought provoking deliberations from geospatial experts of the country during the plenary session. Hillary Monare, Chief Executive Officer, Municipal Demarcation Board, presented his views on how geospatial is an efficient decision making tool in determining or re-determining all municipal boundaries and how it recognises that it would continue to exist to refine the municipal boundaries to ensure effective, efficient, developmental and sustainable local areas in the country.
Ashwell Jenneker, Deputy Director General, Statistics South Africa, shared his experience on application of geospatial technologies in census mapping and collaborative mapping. He also focussed on critical success factors like Effective data management Sharing, access and integration etc.
Norman Banks, Business Director, Southern Mapping Company put forth his views on LiDAR and other remote sensing solutions for the municipal environment. He further detailed some urban applications areas like expansion planning, flood mapping, radio network design, etc. Col. Andries Mahapa, South African Army Engineer Formation, highlighted the importance of geoinformatics in military for force preparation and force employment through operations.
Eugene Marias, Chief Director, Gauteng Department of Rural Development and Land Reforms, highlighted some successful projects of the department with a special focus on Gauteng Integrated Decision Support System (GIDS) which is integrated GIS datasets which are well coordinated and organized into one application which aims to support spatial decision making in the department.
Dr Corne Eloff, Director-Earth Observation System, South African National Space Agency (SANSA), presented on the objectives of SANSA & the South African Space Programme. He further focussed on SANSA’s delivery platforms and strategies. Jaurez Dorfling, Technical Director and Founding Member, Geo Data Design, presented on the how generations of mapping technologies have changed from paper maps, big machines to mobile and web services. Presenting on how geospatial is used as decision making tool in election process, James Aphane, Manager GIS & IT, Election Commission focused on application of the technology in latest elections.
A thought provoking & interesting Seminar on that was chaired by Col. Mahapa, Senior Staff Officer (SSO) Terrain Intelligence, South African Army Engineer Formation highlighted the role of geospatial technologies in varied sectors of defence, police, navy and maritime security. Discussion forum on Exploring Geospatial Avenues for infrastructure and utilities, moderated by Ferner Fourie, Director, [email protected] brought the issues like data sharing, data customisation and capacity building to the fore. Discussion forum on Evolving Roles of municipalities in South Africa, chaired by Marcelle Hattingh, Director-Corporate GIS, City of Johannesburg made good efforts to bring out the best works of various municipalities in the nation. The panel put a clear picture of the advantages of fruitful collaboration between various organisations and municipalities. Two Seminars on geospatial for agriculture & environment and mining & exploration were some of the key highlights of the conference and kept the audience engrossed till the end.
Source: Our Correspondent