You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2012.

Defining and measuring a marathon route is a complicated undertaking and it’s vital to get it right. If a world record or world best performance has been set on the route, a re-measurement may be required and an independent route measurer must be able to follow the route according to the description and route map… (more)


Operation Clean Audit 2014 is gaining in momentum as the deadline looms. Many of the transitional provisions have lapsed and the pressure is on from all spheres of government to get it right. Emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring that it does not turn into a rushed job with the only goal being a clean audit. The purpose of the Operation Clean Audit campaign extends much further than one audit a year… (more)

Monitoring poverty levels enables government and the private sector to make more informed decisions about where social development funds should be invested. This research reveals that poverty levels are declining in some rural areas and rising in several urbanised local municipalities… (more)

This article discusses the development of a disaggregation procedure for socio-economic data based on the principles of dasymetric mapping and areal interpolation in order to develop a flexible geo-data frame which allows the data to be assigned to different demarcations seamlessly. The geo-data frame is based on the Spot Building Count points dataset from Eskom. (Part 1 of this article was published in the April/May 2012 issue of PositionIT. Part 2 focuses on the results and the way forward)… (more)

This paper discusses the development of the first GISc diploma at a South African University of Technology. The changes in Surveying education and development of GIS is explored, since it became clear that the interest in the cartography programme became increasingly limited and the obvious solution was to replace it with GISc… (more)

The Body of Knowledge (BoK) in Geographical Information Science and Technology (GI S&T) originates from a decision by the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) to establish a framework for the assessment of Geographical Information Science Technology (GI S&T) curricula. The 2006 edition includes six sections… (more)

The Land Survey Act, No. 8 of 1997 [1] confirms that a Professional Land Surveyor is responsible for the determination of the position of all boundaries defining land parcels and land rights. Because of the contentious nature of the position of the high water mark, Act No. 8 of 1997 requires that the Professional Land Surveyor determines the position in consultation with the Surveyor-General. How the Professional Land Surveyor identifies the position of the high water mark remains a dilemma for many because the high water mark is ambulatory. Its position can and does change with time and therefore any positional determination of a high water mark is at a specific point in time only… (more)

This project applied airborne laser scanning technology for the detection of mine subsidence over a broad area, a commercial application not widely used in the Australian underground coal mining industry. The objective of the project was to prove the latest generation airborne laser technologies as a reliable and objective source of vital subsidence monitoring data for an underground coal mine and to demonstrate its potential as a complementary or alternate method to conventional geodetic subsidence detection… (more)

The two articles that Aslam Parker of the CD-NGI presented on the SA Coordinate Reference System between December 2011 and February 2012 are an important resource. One of his statements can be the starting point for some further discussion… (more)

The Institute for ICT Advancement (IICTA) at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) plans to offer a suite of six short learning programmes (SLPs) to equip IT managers with the necessary skills to utilise and manage their IT resources effectively in their workplace. Each of these SLPs will be offered through e-learning (Moodle), allowing IT managers to enroll and study whilst conducting their normal day-to-day functions. These SLPs will run over a period of six months and will be offered twice a year. All six of the SLPs will be offered in an applied and practical manner, using the workplace as a case study environment… (more)

When the previous Acting Head of Department (HoD) Geomatics at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) retired while the senior lecturer was on sick leave, the department was placed as a unit under the Department of Civil Engineering.  After six months as a unit headed by a section head, the department regained its status as the Department of Geomatics from 1 April 2012 with a new HoD, Ivan Muzondo. However, by then, employers, partners and in particular the South African Geomatics Institute (SAGI) had raised concerns about the developments at TUT’s Geomatics Department… (more)

The Centre for Geographical Analysis at Stellenbosch University hosted a course from 28 to 30 March on FlowMap, a software developed at the Faculty of Geosciences of the Utrecht University, Netherlands. The presenter, Dr. Tom de Jong (also from Utrect University), provided training on analysing and displaying interaction or flow data. This type of data is special in the sense that there are two different geographic locations connected to each data item: an origin location where the flow starts and an destination location where the flow ends… (more)

The first African open source geospatial laboratory, under the auspices of the ICA-OSGeo Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), was recently established at the Centre for Geoinformation Science (CGIS) at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. CGIS engages in open-source research for geospatial software and data, either using open-source geospatial software and data as tools in research, or contributing to the software and data through research. Open source software and data are also used in formal tertiary education and continued education courses at the university… (more)

This year’s annual general meeting, the 90th AGM of the Institute of Mine Surveyors of South Africa (IMSSA), will be held at the Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensberg, on 26 October 2012. It will be held in conjunction with a conference on 24 and 25 October 2012. The annual general meeting will take the format of a morning event, where IMSSA President Jurgens van Zyl Visser will deliver the annual presidential report. In addition the performance of the outgoing council and its committees will be discussed, and new council members elected… (more)

Steven Ramage from the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC); Neil Gyte, head of Google’s Enterprise Geo; and Dean Angelides, Corporate Director for International Operations at Esri, have confirmed their participation as keynote speakers for GISSA Ukubuzana 2012. They join the illustrious line-up of Dr. Georg Gartner, President of the International Cartographic Association, and J Kim Fennell, Chief Executive Officer of DeCarta. GISSA Ukubuzana 2012 is being held from 2 to 4 October 2012 at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, Gauteng… (more)

SAGI held its 9th Annual Council Meeting in KwaZulu Natal on 24 and 25 May 2012. The financial budget was approved along with a 10% increase in fees for the coming year. Branches will also look at other funding possibilities to supplement this as we move towards a long-held aim of being in a position to employ a permanent CEO in the coming years… (more)

Members of the geospatial community are encouraged to submit academic and general papers for GISSA Ukubuzana 2012. Details on the requirements and submissions can be found at the GISSA website ( The deadline date for the submission of abstracts for general papers is 30 June 2012 and the deadline for the submission of full papers for peer-review for the academic track is also 30 June 2012. Dr. Serena Coetzee from the University of Pretoria is co-ordinating the academic paper submissions and Lerato Senoko from the Department of Science and Technology is co-ordinating the general papers, short papers and poster papers… (more)

SAGI is pleased to announce the introduction of “SAGI Sure” – professional indemnity (PI) insurance for SAGI members. The product is  a PI insurance scheme designed for all geomatics domains by SAGI with the help of Stonebrooke Financial Services. The industry has been asking for this for many years and SAGI is delighted to now bring this to market for the benefit of its members. SAGI will annually review the scheme to ensure that it always delivers the best market rates and service… (more)

The Department of the Premier and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform: Chief Directorate of Spatial Planning and Information have come together to establish a Western Cape Spatial Information Forum (WCSIF). The forum hopes to meet bi-annually to discuss matters and challenges relating to spatial information and GIS in the province. The constituting meeting was scheduled to take place on 15 June 2012 at the National Geospatial Information (NGI) offices in Mowbray, Cape Town… (more)

The Board of the African Renaissance Fund has approved a R120-million funding for the initial work to construct a network of radio telescopes in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) African partner countries. The South African government has approved the allocation for the construction of the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Network immediately. The African VLBI Network (AVN) will use radio telescopes at various locations in Africa to accurately measure the distance between radio telescopes in the network… (more)

The National Earth Observation and Space Secretariat (NEOSS), in collaboration with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), held a stakeholder meeting at the end of May. The objective of the meeting was to introduce NEOSS, promote active participation in SA-GEO and its communities of practices, and provide a live demonstration of the the South African Earth Observation System (SAEOS) portal… (more)

When we took office in 2009 we did so having absorbed the previous Department of Land Affairs. Unsurprisingly, the focus of that department was on affairs to do with land, whereas our brief is to deal with land reform, access to land; use, management and transformation of land relations, and all other matters related to the hopes and life styles of those who live on the land, and off the land… (more)

South Africa recently heard the news that it is getting the lion’s share of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. This is great news for South Africa and its partner countries but what is the future of fracking in the Karoo and how will it impact on the SKA project. After nine-years of sweat and tears by the South African and Australian SKA site bid teams, the independent SKA Site Advisory Committee (SSAC), composed of world-renowned experts, carried out an objective technical and scientific assessment of the sites in South Africa and Australia, and by consensus identified Africa as the preferred site… (more)

The PLATO governed Continued Professional Development (CPD) programme started officially on the first of June 2012. There will be no big gala event nor will there be fireworks to mark the occasion, it will simply mean that from the first of June all registered persons will need to earn a minimum of three CPD credits before the first of June 2013 and a minimum of twenty CPD credits in each five year cycle thereafter (subject to the transitional procedures as set out in the PLATO CPD Rules)… (more)

In her budget speech to parliament on 17 May 2012, energy minister Dipuo Peters noted that, while the implementation of the solar water heater (SWH) programme was making headway, the majority of the systems installed were imported. This is especially true of low-pressure systems used in the RDP housing drive and in the medium-income residential sector… (more)

Stakeless or clamp-on testing has been the accepted method of testing earth system resistance for many years and is now included in the German standard VDE 0100-600:2008. This method has a number of real user benefits, in particular not having to disconnect the electrode under test, increased user safety and significant savings in time and inconvenience. However, many users fail to enjoy the benefits of stakeless testing, mainly due to two main issues. Firstly, many users do not understand the testing technique fully and so avoid it… (more)

Eskom has contracted Ellies Renewables to install low flow showerheads and geyser timers at residential households who apply and are situated within the Ellies installation areas. These showerheads and timers will be provided and installed at no cost to the households. The timers, which reduce the heat and energy loss that occurs when the water in the geyser is kept at high temperatures 24 hours per day, allow for the water to be heated just before it is needed… (more)

Typical instant water heaters have manually selectable discrete power settings to match the desired temperature. Such systems may use more energy than required by operating above the temperature command. Switch-mode AC voltage controllers, on the other hand, can provide continuous adjustment of output power and have better temperature regulation capabilities when controlled in closed-loop mode… (more)

Controlling water flow to underground mining sections reduces the amount of water required to be pumped back to the surface, resulting in significant energy savings. Water flow and pressure can be controlled by installing control valves at strategic positions throughout the water reticulation system. Valve selection or specification requires that several constraints be satisfied to ensure an effective solution… (more)

The current trend in industry towards larger electrical drives stems from the advantages of larger drives over smaller units, including increased production capacity and system efficiency. Energy prices often vary according to the time of day and larger drives, with consumption optimised according to the prevailing energy price, can achieve the same daily output as smaller drives, but at a lower cost… (more)

Reducing carbon emissions is a growing concern for policy makers, car manufacturers and building designers. Consequently, batteries have taken centre stage in the search for alternative sources of energy and the development of low-cost hybrid electric vehicles. This article examines how batteries continue to evolve to match the power supply challenges of sectors ranging from portable electronic equipment to the automotive industry… (more)

Advances in electronics and LED technology will offer industry and customers an array of new options and applications in lighting application. But what are the essential characteristics of an efficient and durable LED street light? As demand changes, the question is how and to what extend the characteristics of electronic and LED technology should be adapted the best to suit local demand and conditions… (more)

There are many ways in which white light can transform urban centres –not only aesthetically, but also in terms of safety and security. Today, billions of people take street lighting for granted. The role of outdoor lighting has evolved over the years. Its function in the1930s was to make driving safer. By the 1980s, street lighting had an additional role: increasing pedestrians’ feeling of safety. Nowadays, lighting is often used to help create more liveable and inviting streets with better ambience… (more)

To gain better insight into the South African facilities management industry and provide its members with a substantiated view, the South African Facilities Management Association (SAFMA) appointed Frost and Sullivan to undertake a detailed assessment of this industry. The assessment was undertaken during the second half of 2011 with the results being made available in March 2012… (more)

Phoenix Contact was elected the 2012 recipient of the Hermes Award for its LM-S lightning monitoring system. The award ceremony took place during the opening of the annual Hanover Trade Show, attended by German chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao. The lightning monitoring system, said to be especially suitable to the renewables industry, enables the measurement of the number and intensity of lightning strikes to installations such as wind turbine rotor blades… (more)

The ECA(SA) has struggled in addressing the challenges faced by the industry with regard to training and development for over a year now. These challenges were mostly due to the industry’s move from the Energy SETA to the Construction SETA. These challenges included the following: Lack of registration of apprenticeship contracts; Huge backlog in issuing of trade test certificates; Expiry of accreditation of some of the industry’s training centres and trade test centres… (more)

Members who are paying Skills Development Levies (SDLs) are reminded that they could claim back 50% of levies paid. This is on condition that they complete and submit a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP) for 2012/2013 and an Annual Training Report (ATR) for 2011/2012 to the construction Ceta no later than 30 June 2012… (more)

Contractors are frequently exposed to fluctuations in material prices and are at a financial risk when appropriate provision for escalation in material prices is not made. It is for this reason that the Contract Price Adjustments Provision (CPAP) indices are compiled for use by contractors who require a simple and agreed escalation formula to provide reasonable reimbursements for price fluctuation… (more)

So much is happening in the electrical contracting industry that it is important that I try and keep members up to date. In the March issue of Vector I explained at some length what was taking place on a number of fronts, and in the April issue there was a report on the press conference we held in Johannesburg on 15 March at which our president, Mark Mfikoe, was very critical about how the energy and construction SETAs have bungled training in the Industry. So, what are the latest developments?… (more)

Response by Murray Cronjé, Philips Lighting Solutions: “To our knowledge, there is no direct legislation that regulates the retrofitting of light fittings. The compulsory specification for electronic and electrical appliances (VC8055) regulates the safety of light fittings up to the point of sale. So, one can say that the SABS mark is also only relevant up to the point of sale”… (more)

The South African lighting industry needs a national lighting master plan to establish standards and performance criteria for future development, organise and prioritise options for future funding, and to define a broad, conceptual vision. Efficient lighting initiatives in South Africa over the past decade-or-so were aimed at alleviating the energy crisis, some came about for environmental and climate change reasons, while others are basically just aimed at remaining in line with global lighting trends. We tend to address these developments on an ad hoc basis… (more)

Isivunguvungu Wind Energy Converter (I-WEC) has finished their first massive 50 m wind turbine rotor blade – a ground-breaking first for South Africa and Africa. The blade was manufactured at IWEC’s Table Bay harbour workshop. Each rotor blade weighs about 12 t, and the whole turbine is expected to weigh about 200 t… (more)

A new business model promises to make solar PVs affordable, from day one.  At currently low module prices, more consumers are finding that they can afford solar energy after all – by leasing rather than owning the rooftop panels… (more)

A boiler is a closed vessel used to convert energy into steam. The energy is derived from the combustion of fuel. The fuel can be anything that can be burned to produce energy in the form of heat. Multi-fuel boilers are boilers that are able to burn any combination of fuels. Multi-fuel boilers in the sugar industry burn coal and bagasse, the dry pulpy residue left after the extraction of juice from sugar cane… (more)

In 2022, over 128-million electric vehicles will be made, mainly two wheelers, according to the IDTechEx report “Electric Vehicles 2012 – 2022”. That means and estimated business of over $260-billion dollars, even at ex-factory prices, with cars being under 50% of that figure. Those succeeding in components for these many and varied pure electric and hybrid vehicles must face completely new technologies replacing what is there today, such as supercapacitors replacing some batteries… (more)

This article motivates the need to build a culture of technology innovation in South Africa as a means of developing and commercialising technology-based services, processes and products to combat climate change and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels… (more)

In recent years Ethernet has rapidly expanded as the communications technology of choice the world over, whether for home or office use. Due to this, Ethernet is constantly evolving and adding new, improved functionality, which is made possible by the open, worldwide standards around which Ethernet is based… (more)

The Maptek I-Site 8800 laser scanner was deployed to locate conductors on powerlines to test the suitability of the method for sag profiling. The scanner was set up in several locations to help determine the optimum scanning positions, the attainable range of the conductor from the scanner, and the time required to conduct such a survey… (more)

Europe-wide design projects for new generating plants, in particular new nuclear generating stations, as well as the power failures in Germany in March 2006 caused by extreme weather conditions and in November 2006 caused by electrical overloads on power lines are making the construction of new transmission lines urgently necessary, and thereby attention is being drawn to the current state of electrical transmission line technology in the world… (more)

Smart metering (SM) is an important tool in the management and improvement of energy efficiency. New metering technologies have been introduced all over the world to address energy (electricity, gas and heat) shortages, meter reading problems, revenue protection processes, customer service improvement and a host of other business-related issues. This is a complex and technically demanding process involving role-players from various backgrounds, such as engineering, finance, legislation, customer care and political intervention… (more)

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