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No doubt your erudite readers are tired of hearing that hoary old chestnut about how many men/women/whatnots it takes to change a light bulb (nil, of course, because why would one want to change a perfectly good light bulb? Nobody said there was anything wrong with it, did they?). I beg their indulgence, however, for regaling them with recent discussions I had with my familiars, the Ghost of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future… (more)


With the advent of technological advances and the movement to proactive maintenance, the official death knoll has been served on reactive maintenance and crisis management. Although reactive maintenance has served the organization for the last several decades, it has left behind virtually no written documentation of any of the past work. Interestingly, it has also been discovered that quite often several hundred thousand dollars worth of spare parts inventory is stashed away in cubby holes… (more)

Eskom has recently updated its Energy Management System and included an enhanced generation dispatch tool. The generation dispatch tool is designed to develop hourly day-ahead schedules, a reschedule facility and real time dispatch. The system operator receives energy offers day-ahead from generators. A unit commitment application determines which units to commit… (more)

The distribution industry is going through significant changes due to the increased requirements for improved quality of power supplied by the utility in order to avoid costly interruptions of manufacturing or other processes caused by voltage sags, swells or unbalanced conditions when a short circuit fault occurs in the distribution system… (more)

CPR-D devices are measuring the dynamic status of the South African HV power grid. CPR-D is a device, which uses modern mathematical frameworks from nonlinear and stochastic theories to measure and to classify dynamics with an ultra high resolution. The focus of CPR-D is the frequency range below nominal frequency. CPR-D uses different mathematical methods with one goal; in case of emergency situations to provide the operator with detailed information on how to operate the power system… (more)

ABB’s well-known vacuum interrupter and the limiting and switching device, the (Is-limiter) , have been in service for decades. The technologies from these devices have been combined to form an arc-fault protection system for medium-voltage switch-gear that operates in the ultra-fast range. As a product, the extremely short switching time of this vacuum device combined with the rapid detection of fault currents and light intensity of a new dedicated electronic unit, will ensure all arcs are almost immediately extinguished… (more)

The Two-a-Day Group, one of the leading fruit growing, packing and marketing companies on the African continent, comprising of more than 50 farms owned by the principle shareholders, has met the challenge of controlling and monitoring its cold storage and packaging plants, with the assistance of solutions from specialist in energy management, Schneider Electric South Africa… (more)

Consumers who want to invest in a home solar water heating system should be careful to choose a system that is able to withstand the weather conditions in the area where they live. That’s the word from Graham Mundy, founder and managing director at Solar Beam. He says that most consumers are unaware of the differences between ‘indirect’ and ‘direct’ solar heating systems, with the result that many buy the wrong system for their homes… (more)

Prof. Nico Beute of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, well-known in the industry for his enthusiastic devotion to energy, was inducted into the Southern African Association for Energy Efficiency’s (SAEE’s) prestigious Dr Ian Ernest Lane Hall of Fame. The SAEE’s Hall of Fame was established in August 2009 and is bestowed annually on an individual whose service, dedication, commitment and selfless hours were given to the energy industry… (more)

The SAIEE presented its annual awards honouring individuals who have made outstanding contributions to electrical and electronic engineering at the annual banquet held on 12 November 2010. The SAIEE President’s Award, was awarded to Karel Pienaar, managing director of MTN South Africa, the SAIEE Engineer of the Year Award, was awarded to Viv Crone and the Keith Plowden Young Achievers Award was presented to Sanjeeth Sewchurran from eThekwini Electricity… (more)

As we reach the end of 2010 many will be sitting back and reflecting on a year in which much has been achieved. As people raise their glasses at the turn of the year there will be those who feel they are half-full and those who feel they are half-empty; but most will not be dry. But what of the forgotten millions… (more)

Monitoring and understanding coastal processes is important for the Netherlands since the most densely populated areas are situated directly behind the coastal defense. Traditionally, bathymetric changes are monitored at annual intervals, although nowadays it is understood that most dramatic changes are related to high-energy events like storms… (more)

The South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) is responsible for planning, designing, constructing, operating, rehabilitating and maintaining South Africa’s national roads. This article outlines the technologies involved in monitoring the condition of over 16 000 km of South Africa’s national roads… (more)

The CSIR undertook research to explain and illustrate the spatial behaviour of the “trio” crimes (carjacking and truck hijacking; robbery at residential premises; and robbery at non-residential premises). The research is based on spatial analysis at specific geographical interval levels. It uses a combination of remote sensing technology integrated with geographical information systems (GIS) analytical models that are overlaid with geo-coded crime data to provide a spatial technological basis for analysis…  (more)

Aerial photographs have long been used to survey stone walled ruins in South Africa. Google Earth, which was launched in 2005 has grown in popularity among archaeologists. To compare the relative efficacy of Google Earth with standard aerial photographs we recorded pre-colonial stone walled settlements in a part of the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve (Gauteng) using different types of imagery and statistically compared the results with ground surveys… (more)

A typical information strategy aims to build an information foundation that is integrated and actionable in order to equip business with the right information to support its decision-making. GIS technology is a powerful tool, which can be used to assist enterprise information managers to deliver a quality information strategy… (more)

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will take place in London from 27 July to 12 August  2012. In preparation, the London 2012 Organising Committee, the Olympic Security Directorate and the Olympic Delivery Authority are coordinating with a wide range of safety and security agencies across Great Britain with one goal in mind: to achieve a safe and secure Olympic Games… (more)

Computational scientists and geophysicists at the University of Texas at Austin and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed new computer algorithms that for the first time allow for the simultaneous modeling of the earth’s mantle flow, large-scale tectonic plate motions, and the behaviour of individual fault zones, to produce an unprecedented view of plate tectonics and the forces that drive it… (more)

Specialised surveying often calls for advanced 3D scanning technology that can offer the highest accuracy and speed. Optron Geomatics was recently asked to assist in demonstrating the efficiency and accuracy of both the Trimble GX scanner and Trimble’s Realworks software by performing a survey to show the effect of the failure of the top compression ring on one of the Athlone cooling towers before it was demolished… (more)

The South African national surveying and mapping agency, now known as the Chief Directorate: National Geo-spatial Information (NGI), turned 90 years old in October 2010 and has proudly served the country  by providing a sound, uniform, modern, geodetic reference frame and country wide coverage of topographical maps and data of various scales, types and formats… (more)

CESA is leading the call for a collaborative and sustainable approach to the manner in which the private sector supports government in enhancing service delivery at all levels so as to ensure the economic well-being of all business enterprises and to improve the quality of life for all… (more)

Getting it wrong in mine surveying can have fatal consequences. The San José mine rescue in Chile which resulted in the successful return to the surface of 33 miners after being trapped for 69 days, was a case of getting it right. This single event, in my opinion, captures so much of what I regard as a fundamental differentiator between mine surveying and other geomatics professions, that of the consequences of not getting it right – a perspective not commonly considered… (more)

There is much debate around the delivery of housing at the moment. Several well-attended conferences have been held in recent weeks and the debates have been focussed and articulate. NGOs and academic groups like Development Action Group (DAG), Urban Landmark, Isandla Institute, SA New Economics, New Economics Foundation (UK), African Centre for the Cities at UCT and Sustainable Development at the University of Stellenbosch, to name a few active within Southern Africa, are working intensely with both the Department of Human Settlement and UN-Habitat to innovate solutions… (more)

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