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The Legal Metrology Bill applies to measurable products and services, measurements in trade, health, safety and the environment, and any measuring instrument used for a prescribed purpose. The Act is, amongst other things, intended to protect consumers against any short measure. The day this bill is passed, it will apply to any measurement, prescribed or not. (Don’t be confused by the “prescribed purpose” of the bill, this only applies to the measuring instrument.) The Act would require any person who provides a measuring service or product to register with the DTI under this Act… (more)


Spencer Dreyer, the SAGI Western Cape branch Cadastral Commission Chairperson, provides an overview of the current legislative environment and its implications for land surveyors. We are living in exciting and challenging times as the dawn of a new era of national and provincial planning legislation redefining the roles and responsibilities of both provincial and local government are upon us. Business as we know it will soon be radically transformed. The declaration of unconstitutionality and invalidity of parts of the Development Facilitation Act No 67/1995 together with various other landmark court judgements providing clarity on the roles and responsibilities of various levels of government regarding planning matters, has accelerated the law reform process both at national and provincial levels of government… (more)

Land surveyors are outraged about a call for comments issued by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform on the Draft Regulations for The Planning Profession Act, (ACT No. 36 of 2002). Their alarm regarding the proposed Act centres specifically on Section 4: Reservation of work exclusively for professional and technical planners, which is seen as a serious threat to the relevance and future of the land surveying profession. There is deep concern amongst land surveyors that the passing of this draft regulation will result in the marginalisation of land surveyors as property professionals and limit the practice of their craft to that of a technical profession… (more)

The centrality of the land question to popular metrics about the fulfilment of promises – or the realisation of fears – regarding post-1994 South Africa is probably so familiar to readers of PositionIT that it approaches banality to point it out. The publication of an English version of Louis Changuion and Bertus Steenkamp’s 2011 “Omstrede Land” (as “Disputed Land”) however concerns the community of geographers through its recounting of the evolution of spatial segregation and considerations of land reform. The Afrikaans original was of course most visible as a prop in fights over the 2011 Green Paper on Land Reform, but if we take a more sober look the assets and liabilities of the work become clearer… (more)

On 22 October 2013, 100 years since the 1913 Native Land Act was passed, Free State Premier, Ace Magashule, released the first fully tradable title deeds to black home owners in the Ngwathe municipality in the Free State. Launched in 2010, the Ngwathe Land Reform Project serves to convert land currently held under a complex variety of restrictive tenures and titles to unambiguous, freely tradable ownership. Full title will ensure economic emancipation and empowerment for black home owners. These homes are the first of over 30 000 households identified in the municipality that require tradable title deeds… (more)

This month’s winning letter focuses on South Africa’s trig beacon network and how this national assest is being eroded due to lack of maintenance and vandalism… (more)

After nearly tripling its planned lifetime, the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer – GOCE – has completed its mission and disintegrated on its reentry to Earth’s atmosphere. Dubbed the “Ferrari of space” because of its sleek, aerodynamic design, the European Space Agency’s GOCE has mapped variations in Earth’s gravity with extreme detail… (more)

InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) uses satellite radar imagery to precisely measure ground deformation. TRE developed advanced techniques, PSInSAR and subsequently SqueeSAR, as standard monitoring tools in a number of applications: natural hazards, geothermal, oil and gas, mining, urban and infrastructures monitoring. Thanks to its capability in detecting millimetre level displacements over long periods and large areas, SqueeSAR analysis can be considered complementary to conventional geological and geomorphological studies in landslide detection and monitoring, supporting also the effectiveness of landslide inventories at regional scale… (more)

This article aims to report on research conducted to identify the different target audiences and corresponding SDI education and training media and messages that will contribute towards the development of the South African Spatial Data Infrastructure (SASDI)… (more)

This article will illustrate the value that geomatics, geographical information systems (GIS), surveyors and related geospatial professionals can add to the South African mining industry by identifying and populating gaps in available information. It will illustrate ways in which national geospatial systems need to develop in order to achieve growth and development that contribute towards national development planning… (more)

In the fields of satellite imagery and aerial photography, the geospatial community has a myriad of choice with respect to sensors, resolutions, revisit times and capabilities in terms of imagery. Within the community, the ability to extract information and knowledge from these images seems to be lagging behind as most applications stop at using the imagery as a source of “line mapping” or even more simplistically an image backdrop or pretty picture. This article highlights some of the underutilised capabilities of our image resources… (more)

Recent drought conditions over the North West Province have revitalised interest in drought monitoring over South Africa. The Agricultural Research Council – Institute for Soil, Climate and Water (ARC-ISCW) monitors climate and vegetation responses operationally and provides near-real time products for the delineation of adversely affected areas… (more)

Global positioning systems are relatively new technologies when it comes to applications in agriculture. Applications in tractor guidance, variable rate supply of chemical inputs and field monitoring of crop yield were recently tested using GPS. This article studies the basic concepts of GPS as they apply to agricultural production and provides a detailed analysis of the recent developments in this area with a focus on functionality and efficiency… (more)

The SATSA (SBAS Awareness and Training for South Africa) project was established to facilitate SBAS (satellite based augmentation system) deployment in South Africa by increasing technological navigation capacity in the region. During the course of the project, three trials were conducted to evaluate SBAS applications using a test platform to produce realistic SBAS signals for the duration of the trials. These trials focused on vehicle logistics, precision agriculture and GIS ground truthing. This article looks at the results of the vehicle tracking training trial… (more)

A National Geographic Channel team of UFO investigators used the Topcon IS-3 imaging station, which has both scanning and surveying capabilities, to conduct research at sites where UFOs have allegedly been seen… (more)

SANSA Space Operations, in conjunction with the SA-EU strategic partnership The Dialogue Facility, hosted an event to disseminate the results of the SATSA (SBAS Awareness and Training for South Africa) project which is drawing to a close… (more)

The need to effectively manage the coastal zone as well as the need for integration of data between land, coastal and marine environments requires a management system that incorporates them all. Surveys for coastal zone management involving both land (topography) and seas (bathymetry) are of increasing importance to address various challenges as well as opportunities within this coastal space… (more)

All South Africans should be able to acquire and enjoy property, including land, with secure title and the right to hold, use and enjoy, sell, let, and mortgage it. The Constitution’s property clause recognises this entitlement to legally secure tenure, and charges the state to foster conditions enabling citizens to gain access to land. How, then, should the historically disadvantaged be helped to overcome existing or future obstacles?… (more)

Consulting Engineers South Africa’s latest bi-annual economic and capacity survey (BECS) for January to June 2013, indicates conditions in the first six months of 2013 were not as bad as expected, considering the better than expected increase in earnings, alongside a healthy increase in employment… (more)

This month’s letters focus on the issues of acid mine drainage and the role of surveyors… (more)

This case study illustrates how the Teledyne Odom MB1, a portable multibeam system, can be used to monitor sandwave motion in riverine environments. By surveying a section of the river and then re-surveying it a few days later, the movement vectors of sandwaves can be measured and mapped… (more)

The need for speed and ride comfort for both passenger and freight operations puts high demands on the fundamental elements of railway infrastructure – the roadbed and tracks. Roadbed and track quality must be established during initial construction and maintained over time… (more)

Poor construction productivity has been singled out as an important factor in eroding returns on infrastructure and making infrastructure less attractive for private investment. The stage is consequently set for a radical transformation of construction and the convergence of geospatial and building information modeling (BIM) is expected to play an important role in this transformation… (more)

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), a leading global provider of standards, management systems, business improvement and regulatory approval information, required a solution for the auditing and quality assessment of solar geyser installations… (more)

Australian researchers have created the first ever interior 3D map of Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa by using a breakthrough mobile laser mapping system, the ZEB 1. This detailed record will be of great assistance in preserving the cultural heritage of the site… (more)

Modern software systems provide the facilities to readily serve spatial data on the web where it can be made readily accessible either to selected clients or to a wider audience… (more)

Economic development often means an increase of harmful gases into the atmosphere. The European Space Agency’s (ESA) GlobEmission project uses satellite data to monitor atmospheric pollution from emissions… (more)

Landslides can result in substantial economic losses, fatalities, geomorphologic disturbances, ecosystem disturbances and damage to infrastructure. Triggering mechanisms include seismicity as well as human activities (like road-cuts and vegetation removal), but in mountainous landscapes, landslides are often triggered by heavy rainfall events… (more)

The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport (GDRT) is evaluating alternative procedures for acquiring survey work to meet the mandated service delivery levels. Henk Bresler from the GDRT has called on surveyors to assist with the evaluation and suggest possible new ways of acquiring and allocating surveying work which the department is unable to handle itself… (more)

Social networking, asset tracking, marketing, and safety and security applications are set to drive the growth of South Africa’s location-based service (LBS) market over the next two years, creating and driving significant new revenue opportunities for mobile network operators. There is growing adoption of a wide range of LBS offerings among South African consumers and businesses. Navigation, personal safety and entertainment applications are leading the way, creating multiple revenue opportunities for the mobile industry… (more)

The debate surrounding hydraulic fracturing or fracking of the Karoo’s potentially massive shale gas reserves continues to rage. There are strong arguments both for and against harvesting the gas which could potentially alter South Africa’s energy and development outlook for many years to come. The issue has also triggered major legislative changes including extending state powers for the expropriation of land and shortening the approval time for projects by government authorities… (more)

Expectations of spatial knowledge providers have risen as people have become more geographically literate. To meet these demands and to facilitate spatial thinking, we need to deliver accurate, timely data that is easily found, consumed and understood on any device… (more)

This study looks into the use of high resolution satellite imagery from RapidEye and WorldView 2 sensor systems in conjunction with high resolution lidar data for mine tailings pond rehabilitation monitoring in South Africa… (more)

The Chief Directorate: National Geo-spatial Information (CD:NGI), a component of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, is mandated by the Land Survey Act 8 of 1997 to provide accurate, up-to-date and accessible national mapping and other geospatial information. As part of this mandate, CD:NGI has expanded its initiatives to include programmatic land use and land cover mapping and deliver relevant products at predefined intervals with consistent and defined standards… (more)

What a year 2012 was for big data. From the White House to your house, it’s hard to find an organisation or consumer who has less data today than a year ago. Database options proliferate, and business intelligence evolves to a new era of organisation-wide analytics. And everything’s mobile… (more)

This article highlights the advantages that the soil surveyor can gain by analysing high resolution imagery and DEMs in a 3D environment… (more)

The Chief Directorate: National Geo-spatial Information (NGI) receives numerous enquires related to the clipping of the 1:50 000 and 1:250 000 map series product. The enquiries normally refer to the white pixels between adjacent clipped raster map sheets and the georeferencing thereof… (more)

To overcome the inherent inter-species and high intra-species spectral variability, typical of savanna environments, a new novel decision tree multiple end member Spectral Angle Mapper (SAM) classification approach was introduced… (more)

The purpose of this article is to discuss and demonstrate the findings of an in-house, proof of concept, pilot project that was conducted on the use of an intranet open source system to migrate an existing old proprietary intranet GIS system, which was no longer supported by the vendor… (more)

This article explores the value of location within both operational and analytical applications with the objective being to provide an introduction to “location-based intelligence” as it relates to the common view of an “address,” as well as to provide an overview of geocoding and geographic data services… (more)

The question of being a PLATO registered professional should not be discussed without understanding the full implication of professional registration within South Africa. A simplistic definition of being a professional would include adhering to the following fundamental requirements. These are as follows: requiring extensive education and training; applying these skills to the wellbeing of the larger society; providing a service, usually with a level of job reservation; having an unusual degree of autonomy when rendering their services; and claiming to be regulated by ethical standards (Kretzchmar et al, 2012, Ethics for Accountants and Auditors, Oxford University Press)… (more)

While the war against the unintended consequences of a century of largely self-regulated mining has not been won, the Water Stewardship Council of Southern Africa (WSCSA) believes that it is in fact winning local battles on numerous fronts, so there is reason for cautious optimism in the battle against acid mine drainage (AMD)… (more)

The problem is Acid Mine Drainage. But what are the solutions? Who makes the profits, who pays the price, and who picks up the costs? The mining industry? The taxpayer? Join the public debate on 29 August 2013… (more)

I feel obliged to respond to Van Rensburg’s latest comments in “Practicing the full monty” (PositionIT of April/May 2013), which seems to be a continuation of his previous article on the same topic called “Land surveyors involvement with pre- and post-survey activities” in PositionIT of September 2012. Van Rensburg’s alarmist views of a survey profession seemingly in crisis are not shared by all and therefore demand further discourse… (more)

Slope monitoring radar has emerged in the last ten years as a leading edge tool for monitoring movements in open pit mines, thanks to the ability to rapidly measure wall movements with millimetric accuracy over wide areas in any weather conditions… (more)

The field of exploration geophysics is traditionally associated with the search for new economic deposits and for quantitatively mapping known deposits. Today, however, geophysics also plays a prominent role in the fields of civil and geological engineering and, in particular, surveying for geological hazards such as subsidence, subsurface cavities and sinkholes… (more)

The fascination and interest for the world that we inhabit, has been inherent to human nature since prehistoric times. Some of the cave paintings and other representations on bones and artifacts, which used to be viewed as mere artistic representations, have turned out to be, according to the latest research, maps of hunting areas, streams, routes, and even maps of the stars… (more)

Mondi recently acquired its first lidar data set over a portion of its plantation forest area in South Africa. Due in part to the significant investment required to perform the lidar acquisition, maximum value needed to be extracted to justify the expense and quickly demonstrate to management the value of this form of remote sensing… (more)

Universities of Technologies (UoTs) are introducing programs in geographical information science and technology (GISc & T) to set themselves apart as unique and essential higher education institutions [1]. This paper describes the proposed new undergraduate programmes for UoTs in South Africa… (more)

To overcome the inherent inter-species and high intra-species spectral variability, typical of savanna environments, a new novel decision tree multiple end member Spectral Angle Mapper (SAM) classification approach was introduced and tested against a traditional straight forward multiple end member SAM classification approach to detect and classify eight common savanna tree species in the Sabi Sands and Bushbuckridge region in Mpumalanga, South Africa… (more)

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