South Africa has developed a programme for satellite management that is the first of its kind in the world. Launching the Moderate Imaging Spectro Radiometer (Modis) and Landsat Imagery at the CSIR Satellite Application Centre (SAC) at Hartebeeshoek outside Pretoria, it was announced that South Africa would be supplying free satellite and imagery date to all members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
This is the first sharing agreement anywhere in the world. With these two programmes very detailed images of Africa from as far north as Bujumbura in Burundi can be collected. The images and data, which will be used to study farming and environmental affects, will be made freely available to SADC countries.
The satellite imagery and data would boost decision-making and research in Africa. It will provide information on food security, crop yield monitoring, grazing capacity and land degradation assessments as well as global change, disaster management and mitigation.
Free access to all Landsat images, including the archives that date back to 1986, would be available to all governments; research organizations and non-governmental organizations in the SADC.Modis would also be used as an early warning system for fires across Southern Africa.