You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2013.

AfriGIS, a leading geographical information and communications solutions provider has integrated some of its most popular services to provide a powerful routing and scheduling toolset. The toolset caters for live and historic traffic. It also facilitates the matching of planned and actual scenarios… (more)

An image mosaic, or photomosaic as the name suggests, is a mosaic created using images. When viewing the photomosaic from a distance, images combine to create the visual effect of one larger image. This image is called the target image while the images making up the target image are called tiles. “If an image is worth a thousand words, an image mosaic is worth a million” – unknown… (more)

Changes to the landscape are constantly occurring and it is essential for geospatial and mapping organisations that these changes are regularly detected and captured, so that map databases can be updated to reflect the current status of the landscape. The Chief Directorate of National Geospatial Information (CD:NGI), South Africa’s national mapping agency, currently relies on manual methods of detecting changes and capturing these changes. These manual methods are time consuming and labour intensive, and it is necessary to move towards more automated methods in the production process at CD:NGI… (more)

The spatial understanding of unemployment in South Africa is often limited to provinces. This article explores ways to integrate unemployment data from 1991 to 2007 to obtain a spatially more detailed understanding of the phenomenon. Creating such a temporal GIS is challenging because of the changing administrative boundaries and this phenomenon is part of the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP)… (more)

Using a case study in Stellenbosch, this article reports on how geographic information systems (GIS) can be used to bridge the gap between municipalities and informal settlement communities. It presents a methodology that encourages extensive community participation in creating an end product that can be used by technical expertise in the municipality for planning purposes. This work contributes to the body of Public Participation GIS (PPGIS)… (more)

This article presents and analyses the current, pre-reform, cadastral system of Lesotho using case study strategy and viable systems modelling (VSM). Part 1 of this article, published in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of PositionIT, described the research methodology and provided an operational overview of the Land Surveys and Physical Planning (LSPP) department in Lesotho. Part 2 focuses on the modelling of the LSPP… (more)

C & C Technologies South Africa in collaboration with Teledyne Odom Hydrographic based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA recently hosted multibeam demonstrations in Cape Town harbour featuring the MB1. Several interesting features were surveyed. The MB1 was interfaced with a C-Nav3050 GNSS with RTK/RTK-Extended capabilities, a Teledyne TSS DMS10 for motion reference, the Hemisphere VS111 for heading and specialist hydrographic software Hypack/Hysweep 2012a… (more)

When constructing Stockholm’s City Line – northern Europe’s biggest infrastructure project – geologists used Topcon’s Imaging Station to check for cracks in the rock walls after the blasts. Every day, throughout the year, some 450 000 travellers journey to or from Scandinavia’s biggest railway station, Stockholm Central… (more)

In this issue we feature a letter that asks whether South African Professionals are practising surveying or geomatics. The complexity of the real world of geomatics can easily be noticed by the level of misunderstanding emanating from the use of the two terms; surveying and geomatics. A traditional surveyor, who has practiced for at least 10 years performing cadastral and/or engineering and/or mining surveying, would wonder from where this new term geomatics emerged… (more)

We represent 22 of the largest mining companies in the world – reflecting a common view of our need to promote and lead by example in the establishment and management of sustainable exploration, mining and processing practices. Consistent with developing best practices for our industry we understand that great mines, those that deliver enduring value to society, start with development that takes proper account of stakeholder needs through their various life cycles. Great mines contribute to society well beyond mine closure – leaving the world a better place to live today and for the future… (more)

Naren Bhojaram, President of the Consulting Engineers of South Africa (CESA), warned that corruption is paralysing South Africa and eating away at the moral fibre of our society. He said that all South Africans were collectively responsible for this situation. He added though that President Zuma could not be blamed for the corruption in South Africa, because his job is to create a platform for business to operate in an ethical, responsible way and for him and his government to lead in an ethical and responsible way… (more)

Why persons entering live substations and enclosures must be trained to work in substations unsupervised. There are many dangers and hazards which must be taken into account when entering live substations and enclosures, and many accidents can be avoided if the correct action is taken… (more)

Five questions to ask before buying a high-efficiency, multi-mode UPS. In the quest to reduce energy In the quest to reduce energy consumption and cooling costs, data center managers have been looking more closely than ever at the energy efficiency of their uninterruptible power systems (UPSs)… (more)

To optimise cost and process sequences, the consumption, storage and demand for gas, steam and most varied liquids must be controlled at regular intervals. Vortex meters are perfectly suited for this task. They are easily assembled, reliable and accurate, and are suitable for almost any fluid… (more)


The top five challenges typically encountered on the factory floor and criteria for selecting industrial PCs and associated components. With PC-based control systems gaining popularity, plant engineers are turning to industrial PCs (IPCs) for control and data collection applications human-machine interface (HMI)… (more)

Seemingly minor variations in design and specification can have significant impact on projects’ economics and space efficiency, posing the question whether to use switchgear or switchboards. The question often arises whether to apply switchgear or switchboards. It seems intuitive that switchgear should be larger, more expensive and more reliable than switchboards… (more)

The IEC 61439, the new standard for low-voltage (LV) switchgear and controlgear assemblies, was published in 2009 to harmonise and define all general requirements for LV electrical assemblies. Only two parts of the standard are necessary to determine all requirements for each type of electrical assembly: the basic standard IEC 61439-1 General rules and the specific assembly standard… (more)

One of the most critical design parameters in an LED illumination system is the system’s ability to draw heat away from the LED package. High operating temperatures at the LED junction affect the performance of the LED adversely, resulting in colour shifts and decreased light output and lifetime for the LED package… (more)

One of the strongest propositions of LEDs is their long lumen maintenance in contrast to most conventional light sources. The market perception of an LED’s reliability is reinforced by the widespread practice among lighting manufacturers of offering long warranties on their LED luminaires… (more)

Experts say that South African cities have the potential to be the first truly “smart” cities on the African continent and to develop significant competitive advantage in this regard if the conversation starts now. According to David Bartlett, head of IBM’s Smarter Buildings initiative, there is a global urgency to create smarter cities, corporate buildings and campuses… (more)

The third multi-year price determination (MYPD3) by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) for the five-year period commencing 1 April 2013 has further revealed a picture of the national electricity utility, Eskom, in distress. On the basis of the Treasury’s instruction that there would be no further government guarantees, subordinated loans or equity from the sole shareholder (government), Eskom has been between a rock and a hard place… (more)

At the outset, let me state unequivocally that I am neither an activist on behalf of LED lighting nor an activist against LEDs… (more)

Tender submission – A poker game in which the losing hand wins.
Tender sum – A wild guess carried out to two decimal places.
Successful tenderer – A contractor who is wondering what he left out… (more)

We are often faced with the situation at the ECA(SA) offices where a prospective employer, student or parent calls and queries the requirements for taking on apprentices or furthering a career as a wireman. In many cases the learner, parent or employer is disappointed because the student lacks maths or has chosen maths literacy, which is not the equivalent of maths… (more)

The South African Electrical Installation Regulations require registered electrical contractors to issue certificates of compliance (CoCs) in accordance with the Wiring Code (SANS10142-1) on completion of work on an electrical installation. An Accredited Inspection Authority (AIA), acting as agent of the Department of Labour (DoL), may be called in to inspect the electrical installation if there is any doubt of the validity of the CoC and/or the compliance of the electrical installation with the Wiring Code.It was against this backdrop that Mark Palmer of the Gauteng Accredited Inspection Authority (GAIA) became aware of some 2000 cases of invalid CoCs and sub-standard installations reported to the Department of Labour (DoL) since 2005. None of these cases, says Palmer, had been responded to by the Chief Inspector as dictated by the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act, prompting Palmer to conduct an exercise of his own… (more)

It is often said that small is beautiful. But when it comes to technology, there are numerous other reasons that smaller is better. In many applications weight and space requirements directly influence productivity, and much research effort goes into footprint reduction… (more)

The hybrid and pure electric vehicle business will continue to prosper in 2013, with profits and growth the norm in most sectors. Laws will proliferate that make electric vehicles the only way to go. For example, more of the world’s lakes will ban diesel engines. Harbours, city centres etc. will get tougher… (more)

Even if small-scale wind power is not necessarily the first solution that comes to mind when thinking about rural electrification, small and medium wind technologies offer excellent solutions for this purpose. Small and medium wind turbines (SMWT) are not only environmentally friendly, they also offer a very advantageous cost-competitive solution for off grid applications in rural areas… (more)

A typical wind resource and energy yield assessment derives gross generation from a site’s wind speed frequency distribution and a turbine’s power curve. Technical loss factors are then applied to derive expected net energy generation. Loss factors include equipment availability, wake losses, icing losses, and electrical line losses… (more)

Many parts of Africa experience some of the most intense lightning activity in the world, resulting in damage and disconnection of overhead lines. Effective surge protection is required to ensure minimum damage and maximum uptime of distribution plant. This article describes solutions to the problem… (more)

ARB Electrical Wholesalers is set to play a major role in Eskom’s Transmission Development Plan (TDP) which seeks to meet the long-term requirements of electricity consumers in South Africa… (more)

A case study on the implementation of an integrated protection settings management system (PSMS) at City Power is presented. This psms manages and stores all protective relays settings and parameters and allows for workflow management within the protection environment. The new system implemented at City Power allows for communication with manufacturer specific settings software. It also keeps an historical trace and audit trail of all protection settings… (more)


The IEC 61850 standard presents a challenge for configuration management. The standard prescribes that there should be a system configuration description (SCD) file for the set of communicating devices in a substation. The SCD file should be used to generate configuration files for each intelligent electronic device (IED) in the system called configured intelligent device (CID) files… (more)

SSE, the operators of the The Keadby power station, needed to address the obsolescence of its existing DCS and to provide an expandable solution to extend the working service life of the power station. The vendor needed to deliver the total upgrade solution in time for a planned major shutdown and in parallel with other plant projects, with minimal commissioning time… (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)… (more)

1,3-million new electricity connections in Africa
Progress on substations in Kenya
Cote d’Ivoire plans new hydro scheme
Ethiopia-Kenya interconnection
Morocco focuses on wind and hydro energy
Burkino Faso expansion project
Thermal power station for Swaziland
Zambia – Kabompo growth project… (more)


The past two weeks have seen South Africans speaking in one voice. The accents of both messages and speakers may have differed at the NERSA hearings investigating Eskom’s MYPD3 application to increase the cost of electricity, but there was a broad consensus that the increase of 16% for the next five years is unsustainable for the economy… (more)

Utilities around the world are proceeding with ambitious – and expensive – implementation plans to replace their analog meters with digital ones. These so-called smart meters can measure usage by time interval, which allows utilities to monitor not only total volumetric consumption but the pattern of consumption… (more)

It is indeed an old saw that “to measure is to know”. In the well-known story of Alice in Wonderland, she reaches a fork in the road and asks the cheshire cat as to which way she ought to go. The cat, like a well-trained bureaucrat, purrs that it depends a good deal on where she wishes to go. “I don’t much care where -” Alice replies, at which the cat chips in with: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”… (more)

The third multi-year price determination (MYPD3) by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) for the 5-year period commencing 1 April 2013 has further revealed a picture of the national electricity utility, Eskom, in distress… (more)

In a well-prepared presentation of the work done at UCT in up-dating earlier maps of South Africa’s wind energy resources, Dr. Kilian Hageman effectively showed the full implications of wind-generated electricity… (more)

When call centres were introduced several years ago, they were regarded as the ultimate in efficient handling of fault reports and complaints from customers. The current reality is that poor training and poor management makes them ineffective and virtually inoperative… (more)

Smart pen goes WiFi
Ultrabook – enjoy the touch experience
Nashua app now also for BlackBerry 10
Galaxy S III now also in miniature
Party to the limit… (more)

Telecoms boom leaves rural Africa behind
Kenya launches National ICT Master Plan 2017
Tanzania migrates to digital terrestrial TV broadcasting
Etisalat offers low-cost access to social media
Rwanda launches ICT system to promote government efficiency
Nigeria fines MTN, Glo, Airtel and Etisalat N22-million over promotions
Alcatel dips deep to fund East African expansion
Zimbabwe to issue converging licences
Telecom Namibia signs ground-breaking deal with New Telco SA
Mobile termination rate drops… (more)

In some schools we have seen amateur radio playing a role in creating interest in science and technology, subjects the president also addressed in his address. It is about hands-on experience. To achieve meaningful experiential learning in the extra-mural space requires dedicated parents and support from companies… (more)

Many types of electronic systems – including industrial controls and consumer devices – use static random access memory (SRAM), especially in applications where speed and efficient energy use are important. As these systems attain higher levels of performance, so the demand for higher capacity, low-power SRAM products increases… (more)

Features editor Hans van de Groenendal provides a brief overview of John Ardizzoni’s article “A practical guide to high-speed printed-circut-board layout”, ( In this review we highlight some of the aspects covered in the paper and include the URL where the full article and references for further reading can be downloaded… (more)

Intelligent control heads enable complete decentralised automation of hygienic production processes. In an increasingly competitive global environment, companies of this industry are forced to make their production processes as efficient and costeffective as possible, in addition to optimizing processes. As a consequence, there is an ever-increasing demand for automation at all process and auxiliary circuit levels… (more)

A new simulation software based on the ray tracer algorithm enables the calculation and planning of complex UHF-RFID applications. This new simulation software enables the calculation of a range of UHF antennas in specific industrial applications. The simulation results quickly determine the ideal location for UHF-RFID read/write heads in order to exclude both “no reads” and also “false positive reads”… (more)

Since its inception in 1984, Imana Foods had expanded substantially, and needed to gain certification in internationally recognised quality and food safety standards such as ISO 9001 and hazard analysis, critical control point methodology (HACCP). This in turn, required detailed traceability of production processes and materials… (more)

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