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This article examines the possibilities of extending current GIS used by the utility industries with that of augmented reality (AR) toolkits on smart devices. Smart devices are aware of their location, the direction they are facing and the inclination in relation to the horizon. GIS data is already spatially aware, context-specific data can thus be fed to the mobile workforce. By integrating these two systems we show how data can be made available to the user in the field in an offline manner, exposing information that would otherwise be hidden by physical constraints such as buildings, natural vegetation and other obstacles… (more)


With free turn-by-turn navigation available on all major smartphone, ABI Research is finding a combination of other application segments and advertising will help to sustain a healthy location based services (LBS) market… (more)

The role of multi-return lidar systems in mapping complex topographic features and developing bare ground digital terrain models (DTM)… (more)

Geometric distortions introduced in satellite imagery during the image capturing process are inevitable and occur for many reasons. Much of the distortion related to sensor irregularities are automatically corrected at ground-receiving stations. However, geometric irregularities due to varying elevation and surface topography are more complex and are not corrected automatically. Orthorectification is required to remove such irregularities and to generate an orthogonal image with true x, y, and z values for all image pixels… (more)

This study investigated whether the existing data in South Africa is adequate for flood hazard mapping in rural areas. The most appropriate data sources were identified and, through the combination of GIS and hydraulic modelling, evaluated for determining the likely extent, frequency and depth of predicted flood events. The conclusion is that one-dimensional flood modelling can be carried out in some areas, but that more investment is needed for the collection of data appropriate for flood hazard mapping… (more)

A new way of studying and visualising earth science data from a NASA and US Geological Survey satellite program is resulting in, for the first time, the ability to tease out the small events that can cause big changes in an ecosystem… (more)

Removing an obsolete oil rig from the North Sea is not an easy operation and high-tech solutions are required to ensure that the environment is maintained… (more)

The case study strategy and viable systems modelling (VSM) can be used to understand and analyse the structures and processes of a cadastral system. This article presents and analyses the current, pre-reform, cadastral system of Lesotho using this methodology. The findings suggest that the current cadastral system in Lesotho has the potential to function effectively while maintaining self-identity, even under government bureaucracy administration, and without the introduction of an entirely new structure… (more)

Understanding nearshore currents is often limited to estimates from physics based numerical models. These limitations stem from the difficulty in obtaining reliable current data in the nearshore zone… (more)

Karl van Rensburg won a Spectra Precision Laser HD50 handheld distance meter for his letter in the Nov/Dec 2012 issue of PositionIT. The prize was sponsored by Optron… (more)

A recent decision by the Labour Appeal Court has been misinterpreted by some as meaning that employers must now unconditionally grant their employees sick leave on the basis of “sick notes” from traditional healers such as sangomas. That is not correct, and it is important for both employers and employees to understand the true current position… (more)

Some of the challenges involved with introducing GIS in the new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) in the FET phase of education in SA are highlighted in this article… (more)

The Built Environment Professions Grouping (BEPs) have collectively voiced their concerns pertaining to infrastructure bottlenecks or lack of infrastructure delivery as well as inadequacies in mechanisms to procure their professional services… (more)

Gartner analysts have highlighted the top ten technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organisations in 2013. They define a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the business in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major financial investment, or the risk of being late to adopt… (more)

GPSs are viewed by modern society as the ultimate navigation solution. Is it time to throw out the paper maps or do these “old school” navigational tools still have a place in our technologically-enabled world… (more)

The term “geocoding” has become one of the latest buzzwords in the business space, and is touted for its ability to deliver a host of benefits. Geocodes provide a precise location, expressed as latitude and longitude co-ordinates, and as such have many applications across different industries. This data is not new but is becoming more useful with the introduction of spatial business intelligence tools that present business information on a map… (more)

According to a recent survey, digital mapping services have emerged as one of the most powerful growth areas in information technology in South Africa. The survey of 111 corporate and 400 SME decision-makers was conducted by World Wide Worx with the backing of digital mapping provider MapIT… (more)

How intelligent, logical and complete power management solutions provide relief for some of today’s worst power-related headache. Many organisations today use by Jim Tessier, Eaton Corporation standalone software from multiple vendors to monitor and manage their uninterruptible power systems (UPSs), power distribution units (PDUs) and other crucial power quality and environmental devices. Short on features and poorly integrated with other management resources, these outdated applications only add further complexity to a variety of common power-related administrative challenges… (more)

The water in a geyser can be heated by means of an electrical resistance element, a solar collector or a heat pump. This article aims to compare these technologies. The major difference between the three by Carel Ballack, SESSA is that the element uses electricity; the solar collector uses the sun’s energy directly to transfer heat while the heat pump draws heat from ambient air and then moves this heat through a heat exchanger… (more)

Using open architectures with flexible structures based on internet technologies to integrate information from a wide variety of different sources. Where data generated in one phase of the plant lifecycle (e.g. during procurement) is required in another phase (e.g. maintenance), it must be available to the user in a clear and precise way… (more)

Understanding the accuracy of a flowmeters is important but it can also be misleading as different specifications are used to explain accuracy. The more accurately a flowmeter can measure, the more money you will save as the medium is measured with only very little inaccuracy, e.g. if the medium is expensive, it is important to know exactly how much is used… (more)

An overview of all the available electric motors, together with their main characteristics and the areas in which they are used. Part 1 of this article focused on three-phase asynchronous motors. Part 2 explores the remaining types of motor… (more)

Power factor (PF) is an important consideration in terms of energy efficiency for electronic devices including LED luminaires… (more)

The past decade has seen many improvements in residential, commercial and industrial lighting control. This has resulted in more efficient use of electricity, daylight and more versatile, automated, and convenient controls… (more)

The ECA(SA) Presidential Excellence Awards is a celebration of quality, outstanding workmanship and professionalism within the electrical industry. This year, the Installation of the Year – Housing award went to M&L Electrical Contractors for its work on the Masimong Shaft 4 low-cost housing project in Welkom, Free State… (more)

An employer may sometimes want to change their employees’ terms and conditions of employment, but goes about it in the wrong way. I sometimes appear at Council or the CCMA with disputes relating to such “one sided” or unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment. The employee states that the employer has made some unilateral change to the original terms and conditions of employment… (more)

I have recently been shocked at the losses incurred by some major electrical contractors who have subcontracted to main contractors on government projects and who have not been paid. There is every indication that the Department of Public Works has made monthly progress payments to the main contractor but that the main contractor pocketed the payment instead of handing over what was due to the electrical subcontractor… (more)

I recently returned from a trip. I was appalled to see how the electrical system had been vandalised at the two sites I visited: in one instance, the site had been used as sleeping quarters. The switchgear panel plates had been removed, making it easily accessible to anyone, the terminal of the cable connection could easily be touched with the standard test finger… (more)

Question: Would it be OK to replace the fuse board in an existing domestic installation with a distribution board with a 60 A / 30 mA earth leakage main switch? Answer: Ideally, all fuse boards should be replaced with DBs. However, despite fuses not being permitted in new domestic installations, they may be used in existing installations, provided that this is not contrary to reasonable safety. This would provide the required overcurrent protection and correct labelling… (more)

South Africa’s ongoing efforts to train its way out of the deepening skills crisis by using formal, traditional training methods “won’t achieve much”. This is the view of software-as-a-service company Clevva director Ryan Falkenberg, whose company specialises in helping under-trained and inexperienced staff perform like experts. He believes effort should be focused more on developing people’s meta-skills and supporting specific-skill development through smart technology-enabled workplace support… (more)

According to the new Electrical Machinery Regulations promulgated on 25 March 2011, all new electric fences installed after that date will need additional certificates of compliance (CoCs). As of 1 October 2012, this also holds true for the purchase and sale of all immovable property with installed electrical fencing systems… (more)

To increase the efficiency of inverters up to 400 kW, circuit topologies are developed that are optimised for specific applications. However, interleaved, multilevel and parallel circuits that improve IGBT efficiency also place higher requirements on signal performance… (more)

Transformers using a triangular instead of a planar core configuration offer a number of advantages. Such dry-type transformers are now commercially available. This new technology allows weight and space savings, reduces sound level, harmonic content and magnetic stray fields, and inherently improves energy efficiency… (more)

The past few years have seen a considerable increase in the integration of renewable energy sources (RES) on electricity power systems worldwide. RES integration is set to grow in the coming decades, and experts expect most of the increase to be from variable non-synchronous renewable (VNSR) generation… (more)

The German designed and proven PV-diesel hybrid energy management system from Donauer is now available with local support. The system can save up to 30% diesel fuel and does not use battery energy storage… (more)

ARTSolar is planning to open a new PV manufacturing facility in KZN. Editor Mike Rycroft interviewed Dr. Ronald Lange on the proposed project. The product will use crystalline silicon cells, which can be mono-crystalline, multicrystalline as well as crystalline based hetero-junction cells… (more)

This paper describes the design principles and physical implementation of an improved transient earth fault clearing method on medium voltage (MV) networks (1 kV – 44 kV). Test results and operating performance statistics are provided… (more)

Protection, automation and control (PAC) systems for electrical networks are getting smarter. Advanced communication interfaces and the ever increasing need for information exchange between devices are certainly shifting well-entrenched paradigms. Paradigm shifts create exciting opportunities but also pose significant threats to those not ready to make the necessary adjustments. Communication protocols such as IEC 61850 over Ethernet networks are now being used for real-time protection, automation and control applications and are fast replacing hard-wired interfaces in the substation environment… (more)

The increasing penetration level of renewable DG and micro generation units is driving distribution networks to operate near the limits and in a non-optimal way. The smart grids paradigm tackles these challenges through the deployment of smart meters, IEDs, communication infrastructure and new functions never employed as extensively so far, from SCADA/DMS to secondary distribution substations and smart meters… (more)

Approximately 1,4-billion people across the globe survive without electricity – 59% of which are located in Africa (according to the International Energy Agency). With the global population estimated to grow by more than one billion people between 2010 and 2025, the lack of electricity is set to become one of the key drivers in the creation of a “new energy reality… (more)

This article examines an important subset of the expected health costs associated with the commissioning of Kusile, the new coal-fired electricity generation plant. The subset of health impacts focuses on sulphur dioxides, nitrous oxides and large particulate matter (greater than 10 mm). The analysis makes use of the impact pathway approach combined with the data transfer methodology. The plant, which is expected to contribute 4800 MW of additional electricity to the South African grid is found to have modest health impacts… (more)

Although currently negligible in prominence, carbon capture and storage (CCS) could be the technology that makes the world’s carbon emission reduction targets achievable, say energy experts GlobalData in their latest report. As the report explains, carbon storage techniques, such as enhanced oil recovery, have been used in the energy sector for decades, but only recently has the concept of long term carbon storage been viewed as a viable means of reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere from power plants… (more)

The recent announcement by Mozambique’s’ vice-minister of mineral Resources, Abdul Razak that 12 new explorations would be offered brings a renewed focus on the large gas resource finds off the East coast of Africa. These finds could well become a game changer, not just in the region but in the global economy as well. Finding gas reserves is akin to winning the lottery. But, as we have seen from bitter experience, the dream so often turns into a nightmare… (more)

There can be no doubt that South Africa has now reached a tipping point in terms of its electricity prices. Sharp and sustained tariff hikes have driven average Eskom pricing from around 20 c/kWh to over 60 c/kWh between 2007 and 2012, an increase of over 200%. Eskom is now seeking annual price increases of 16% for the next 5 years… (more)

Sir, My attention was drawn recently to an article that appeared in something called and was headlined “Inertia to investigate integration of prosumers to the smart grid”. It was, self-evidently, about a project called INERTIA (Integrating Active, Flexible and Responsive Tertiary Prosumers into a Smart Distribution Grid). There were all manner of acronyms ranging from Certh-ITI to DERs in the text, enough to make anyone’s head swim… (more)

Sir, I was horrified to read Antony Cooper’s vitriolic attack on BHP Billiton and its employees in the November 2012 issue of Energize. I believe that to follow Mr. Cooper ’s recommendations would do South Africa immeasurable harm and add to the many other reasons for international investors avoiding investment here… (more)

Leon Viljoen has been appointed as the new chief executive officer for ABB SA and manager for Southern Africa effective from 1 March 2013. Leon will join ABB from Powertech where he was chief operating officer. Carlos Poñe becomes chief executive officer for ABB in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and manager of Southern Gulf (UAE, Qatar, Oman) and Pakistan, with effect from 1 February 2013… (more)

It is traditional for the first issue of a new year to take a look at what the year ahead holds. Crystal gazing gives a murky picture, but one thing is certain: with no prospect of any substantial amount of new generation capacity coming on stream until late in 2013, or even worse, early in 2014, the electricity supply situation is going to remain tight for most of the year… (more)

  • An agile Ultrabook
  • Need a long-zoom camera?
  • Great new app scans documents straight to your mobile device
  • Unique positions enable an iPad from this laptop!… (more)

Radio amateurs worldwide will be dedicating World Amateur Radio Day on 18 April 2013 to disaster communication with the theme “Amateur radio – entering its second century of disaster communications”.
The first recorded use of amateur radio supporting communications during a disaster dates back to 1913, during severe flooding in he USA mid-west… (more)

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