You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2012.

All of us are very familiar with global positioning system (GPS) technology. These days almost everyone has a smart phone or tablet with GPS capabilities and uses them on a daily basis. A lot of transport and logistics companies rely on this technology to deliver excellent service to their clients… (more)

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In December 2011 Col. Ray van Zanten, SSO Reserves, Infantry Formation approached KJ Bolton Consultants to see if they could assist in the upliftment  of the navigation skills of the South Africa Reserve Forces… (more)

In the automatic processing of point clouds, higher level information in the form of point segments is required for classification and object detection purposes. Point cloud segmentation allows for the definition of these segments. In this article, an extension of a segmentation approach based on intersecting profiles is proposed… (more)

Until recently, accurate 3D mapping of underground utility infrastructures, so important for planning expansions and maintaining existing lines, has been either enormously costly and time-consuming or confidence in the results has been insufficient.  Now a new technology shows promise to relegate these problems to the past… (more)

The location of settlements has an important bearing on the effectiveness and feasibility of supply of municipal services. The use of GIS (geographical information systems) could assist in planning for a location that will support service provision and human safety… (more)

Accessing spatial government information, even between government departments, remains a challenge in South Africa. GCRO (Gauteng City-Region Observatory) recognised a need to open access to government data and in 2010 developed an innovative Web GIS viewer. The viewer combines government, proprietary and open data sources such as Google Maps, in an application that is responsive and easy to use, with a fun element of Web 2.0 pop-up windows and dynamic graphs… (more)

The need for land surveying is not confined to developed countries. Just ask Ryan Zweerink, president of US-based Ozark Laser and Shoring. Since 2000, Zweerink and his company – which sells, rents and services laser and global positioning equipment – has donated time, expertise and equipment to the development of several villages in Uganda, a country with a troubled past… (more)

In an age where we are able to take for granted the ability to survey any part of the world by way of aircraft or satellites, the use of earlier methods of securing a bird’s eye view of the terrain may seem lost in time. It will come as a surprise to many to learn that the first use of aerial platforms for surveying the landscape of Southern Africa  pre-dates powered flight by several decades and that even aerial photography in this region is now close to a century old… (more)

Quality post-graduate research is an important part of the work that the GeoIT Unit does at the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Stellenbosch University (SU). The Honours and Masters level research ranges from work in environmental management to processing and interpretation of hyperspectral data… (more)

MapIT’s 10-year celebrations provided an opportunity to reflect on the company’s beginnings as a data provider and its transformation into a leading integrated digital mapping solution provider in Africa… (more)

SAGI held an Exco meeting on 16 February 2012 in East London, at which many items where discussed. I have reported on some these: SAGI SURE – PI Insurance, AfricaGeo – conferencing, Branch meetings, Project Vulindlela, Legislative issues and General items… (more)

The use of satellite imagery to support public sector planning and delivery in areas such as infrastructure development and environmental monitoring and conservation, received a boost recently with the launch of the 2011/12 SPOT-5 2,5 m spatial resolution mosaic of the country… (more)

An enthusiastic Earth Observation Expert Group has been actively generating ideas and proposals for the developing National Space Programme (NSP). Around the issue of human capacity development the group envisions an integrated earth observation education and training system starting at secondary school level and carrying through to professional development… (more)

GISSA and EE Publishers are delighted to announce that Esri South Africa and MapIT have come on board as sponsors for GISSA Ukubuzana 2012… (more)

In this issue we feature letters from Neil Ayres (Geodata Consulting) who discusses the South African Coordinate Reference System and “Lo” coordinates and Bridget Corrigan (Endangered Wildlife Trust) who expresses her concerns about the quality of a Master Class that she attended… (more)

The National Spatial Information Framework (NSIF) and GISSA held a workshop on GISc Professional Registration on 2 March 2012 in Pretoria. Tempers flared at the meeting and it was evident that there is a lot of unhappiness with the current GISc professional registration requirements and with the registration process itself… (more)

Prof. Elri Liebenberg’s review of Mapping South Africa was forwarded to the author, Andrew Duminy. Outlined below is his response to the review. Prof. Liebenberg takes me to task for neglecting to include a number of developments in the history of mapping… (more)

The pre-publication notice of Andrew Duminy’s book, entitled Mapping South Africa A Historical Survey of South African Maps and Charts, was widely welcomed by everybody interested in historical maps… (more)

During the past 4 years, I have been a member of the council of the Northern Provinces Branch of SAGI. During this period the marketing portfolio of our branch became my responsibility and after a while I realised that neither myself nor most of the members of council understood the basics of marketing… (more)

Tensions were high at the NSIF and GISSA workshop dealing with Geo-information Science (GISc) professional registration held in Pretoria earlier this month. It was very clear that there is a lot of disgruntlement with the PLATO registration process and the PLATO GISc professional academic model… (more)

Renewable energies, such as wind energy, allow electricity production without consuming fossil fuel resources and without any direct carbon dioxide emissions.  The cost of wind generation has considerably decreased over the last decade and while fossil fuel prices are increasing it is anticipated that wind generation at high wind sites will represent the most economical method for generating electrical energy in the near future… (more)

Global weather and economical changes have seen an increase in the demand for alternative energy resources, which consequently has lead to the optimization in the supply of electric power. Wind energy, is considered the second largest renewable resource after solar… (more)

With the first renewable energy bidding process now complete, the South African government is stepping into a greener future. Before they launch into the bid process however, renewable energy companies would have to have gone quite far in the development process of their wind parks… (more)

While South Africa will have its own challenges when it comes to public participation, the renewables industry here can learn from the experiences of the maturing UK wind energy industry: The most successful developments align their technical and environmental planning processes with public participation programmes ensuring their proposals are seen as beneficial by all interested and affected parties (I&APs)… (more)

In simplest terms, vibration in motorized equipment is merely the back and forth movement or oscillation of machines and components, such as drive motors, driven devices (pumps, compressors and so on) and the bearings, shafts, gears, belts and other elements that make up mechanical systems. Vibration in industrial equipment can be both a sign and a source of trouble. Other times, vibration just “goes with the territory” as a normal part of machine operation, and should not cause undue concern… (more)

Nickel-based batteries belong to the family of alkaline rechargeable batteries due to their use of an aqueous alkaline solution (potassium hydroxide, KOH, or sodium hydroxide, NaOH) as the electrolyte. Electrode materials are less reactive with alkaline electrolytes than with acid electrolytes… (more)

The National Energy Efficiency Strategy of March 2005 (reviewed in October 2008), proposes that by 2015, a final energy demand reduction of 12% should have been realized by South Africa. This translates to an average reduction of 1% per year between 2005 and 2015. The publication of SANS 941, Energy efficiency of electrical and electronic apparatus is a necessary step taken in line with the South African government policy in an effort to comply with the stipulated energy demand reduction requirements… (more)

Intelligent metering is increasingly being accepted as a vital tool for successful energy management and therefore for the effective administration and control of tenant billing. Metering is invaluable in helping a property owner or landlord to achieve his goals for energy measurement, tracking and ultimately overall management, according to Bradley Hemphill, managing director of Electrical Engineering Solutions (EES)… (more)

The electricity regulations for compulsory norms and standards for reticulation services of the Electricity Regulations Act No.4 of 2006 specifies that all end-users or customers with a monthly usage of 500 kWh or more need to be on a smart metering system and be on a time-of-use tariff by 1 January 2012… (more)

This paper describes two incidents in which spurious alternating current (AC) signals superimposed on a substation’s main direct current (DC) supply caused protection schemes to maloperate, tripping circuit-breakers. Two type testing standards, a regional standard from the United Kingdom and IEC 60255-22-7, are described which may be used to verify the immunity of protection components and schemes to power frequency AC interference on DC inputs… (more)

A “strayflux probe” is commonly used in the industry to determine if any inter-turn short-circuits are present in the field winding of a synchronous generator with a cylindrical rotor… (more)

Population growth, especially in emerging markets like Africa, as well as a lack of infrastructure planning and development on the part of government has resulted in an ever-increasing energy demand in South Africa that will not be met over the next few years. The topic of energy and our needs locally is well-worn in South Africa with the unforgettable power outages of months and years past, but the need to invest in development of renewable energy solutions in our country is vital… (more)

It is no surprise that the World Economic Forum and the European Commission placed SA 128th in their 2012 Environmental Performance Index. We also fail the test of equality in the Jinni coefficient and of progress on the Millenium Development Goals. All these indicators measure overlapping factors and the impacts of policy on health, biodiversity, food security and climate change… (more)

There is a global trend toward the implementation of sustainable development initiatives, and South Africa is no exception. However, because South Africa is a developing country, it is not completely on par with countries such as the United Kingdom, United States of America and Australia concerning the implementation of green materials in construction… (more)

African energy leaders see energy prices, energy poverty, and instability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to be the most important critical uncertainties in Africa’s energy sector, according to the newly released African survey of the World Energy Issues Monitor, published by the World Energy Council. It provides an insight into the issues affecting energy in the African continent, identifying the key uncertainties while highlighting the areas where action is required to ensure the sustainable supply and use of energy for the greatest benefit of all… (more)

When I asked Scrooge what he thought about the latest article on rooftop PV, he glared at me with flaring eyes. “You mean that story about the awaking giant?” he snapped. “I don’t like giants, by Jove!” He looked furtively around, as if he were expecting a reprisal of some kind, but the flames roared on without without so much as a flicker… (more)

Submit your letters to the editor to energize@ee.co.za and be in line to win a prize. Energize reserves the right to edit letters. Our winning letter this month is from Robin Hayes, SSI… (more)

In South Africa, media criticism is directed at an investigative media intent on exposing hypocrisy, fraud and corruption, which of is course denied vehemently or underplayed by government and big business as the work of a so-called “unpatriotic” media that focuses on the bad news rather than the good; a media whose investigative instincts and work impinges on the dignity and privacy of the targets. Or so it is claimed… (more)

Since 2005 when looming power shortages were predicted, IPPs have been assessing opportunities in RSA simply because the market potential presented itself: Eskom was late placing orders for new build and economic growth projections suggested that we would need new power before Eskom could put it into the system… (more)

The various types of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) often cause confusion in the data centre industry. It is, for example, believed widely that there are only two types of UPS system: standby and on-line… (more)

Two common types of electrical testing are often confused: insulation testing and “high-potting”. Both are similar in their method, but differ critically in degree and aim. This article demonstrates how an understanding of the basis for the two tests is paramount to their respective applications. Insulation testers are also known by the generic name “megohmmeters”. High-pots derive their name from “high potential”, a reference to their test voltages, and are also dielectric breakdown testers… (more)

In the future, smart buildings will adjust their electricity consumption to fluctuating supplies of solar and wind power automatically. A recent study demonstrates the technical feasibility of this approach. Wind facilities now account for roughly 7% of all the electricity generated in Germany, with almost 2% obtained from solar generation. Over the last few years, wind parks in the North Sea have been shut down repeatedly due to strong winds that threatened to overload the local grid… (more)

A comparative study of electricity consumption in two buildings of similar architectural design and floor space, one of which was retrofitted at a cost of R4,3-million, with significant results… (more)

For many decades, permanent magnet technology has been used in smaller scale applications where its favorable weight-to-performance ratio is an advantage. Its use in bigger electrical machines, however, has not been that common. This, however, is changing. The increasing demand for new solutions for wind power generators and special motors for industries such as pulp and paper, marine, and traction has created new markets for electrical machines… (more)

Most domestic swimming pools use electricity very inefficiently. Close analysis of one typical pool installation brings very insightful conclusions to the fore. There are more than 500 000 domestic swimming pools in South Africa, and practically all of them are fitted with filtering equipment designed for the pre-2008 era when electricity consumption was a secondary consideration… (more)

It is a common belief that brightness is measured in watt and that the higher the wattage the brighter the light will be. Turning on the lights is about to become more interesting with the environmental impact of energy waste in the lighting industry under the spotlight. Countries all over the world have introduced regulations for energy consumption targeting energy waste from lighting. The regulations enforce restrictions on the type of lighting that may be installed and on the number of lumens per watt (lm/W) lighting must produce… (more)

The LED industry is beset with misunderstandings regarding the use of 220 V LED down-lights. This stems from the belief that these lights no longer need a power supply. While so-called halogen downlights can function directly off 220 V, LED technology, in the main, cannot. If this is done, the 220 V supplied to the light has first to be transformed to a lower voltage for the LED to function. To do this, the manufacturer has to conceal components and hardware within the fixture housing, resulting in an efficiency roughly on par with that of a solution with the components housed within a separate power supply… (more)

Lighting plays a central role in how people feel about their city or town. That’s why the illumination of streets and pedestrian areas has evolved from simple functional lighting into a more demanding and creative discipline. Lighting should not only provide illumination, but should do so in a pleasing and inviting way. It should promote communication and a sense of well-being, and encourage the city or town’s night life… (more)

The “China effect” is being felt the world over as business and retail look towards the Far East to source products rather than supporting local manufacturers for the simple reason that goods manufactured in China are cheaper. South Africa has felt the effect most predominantly in the clothing, textile and motor industries, but the local electrical manufacturing industry has also come under threat more recently… (more)

Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) supports Minister Ebrahim Patel’s recent announcement of government’s new “integrity pact” to screen firms for big-project deals, insisting on “value for money”. Companies wishing to win contracts from the government’s infrastructure development programme will need to sign an “integrity pact” committing them to ethical behaviour, including non collusion with competitors and competitive pricing… (more)

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