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It is becoming increasingly evident that the lightning exposure risks in South Africa have been underestimated in the past, according to Ian McKechnie, managing director of specialist consulting and forensic engineers, Innopro. This has significant implications for both industry and commerce, and the broader public, in assessing risks and in considering and designing suitable safety and protection measures… (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)

As the country renewed trade links with the world after the former political dispensation, the old system of having the player and the referee under the same umbrella became unsustainable and was no longer seen as fair. With this in mind, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sought to make the state’s technical infrastructure regime compliant with international standards – to promote trade with international partners, as it were… (more)

The SPOT 5 National Mosaic for 2012 has been released by the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) to key stakeholders in government departments and private industry for use in addressing national requirements… (more)

South Africa has a long history in space related activities but until the formation of the South African Space Agency (SANSA) in 2010, these activities were fragmented with periods of high levels of activity followed by a slump in activity. Being a growing knowledge economy, South Africa cannot afford this fragmentation… (more)

We have only got one planet, and we must love her and everything that lives on her, and do everything we can to protect her. We must always act in such a way as to cause the most benefit and the least costs to people and the environment… (more)

Many studies have demonstrated that Plasmodium falciparum infection exhibits both spatial and temporal dependency. This variability is related to both climatic and environmental variability. Climatic and environmental factors play a large role by affecting the biological cycle of both vector and parasite… (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 spatial understanding of unemployment in South Africa is often limited to provinces. This paper explores ways to integrate unemployment data from 1991 to 2007 to obtain a spatially more detailed understanding of the phenomenon… (more)

Most gas engines are Otto cycle spark ignition internal combustion reciprocating engines using natural gas as the primary fuel. Smaller models utilise stochiometric combustion while the larger engines are lean burn engines with pre-chamber ignition systems.  The engines are coupled with packaged generator sets, cogeneration and, even, trigeneration units to optimise energy utilisation in the fuel being burned… (more)

Estimating the economic cost of electricity shortages is an exercise in enormous uncertainty. To reduce the uncertainty, or, rather, to get a sense of its range, I rely on a variety of methods. Firstly, several economists have attempted various ways to calculate the direct costs. Typically, they assumed the loss by each industry would be equivalent to three hours (the time span of undelivered electricity) of production in a normal working day… (more)

A national project was introduced in 2010 to improve the capacity of South African industry to use energy resources more efficiently and productively, now and in future years. This article focuses on energy management and cost-effective systems optimisation techniques… (more)

As the South African chemical industry celebrates 100 years of existence, it brings with it the reminder of how chemistry has drastically improved our lives in the last century and its potential to play a vital role in our futures – even as the global economy moves towards environmentally sustainable economic development… (more)

Deutsche Messe AG will launch its first-ever event in South Africa with “International infrastructure & invest convention – IIIC” in Johannesburg.  The event will run 12 – 13 September 2012, and covers the topics energy efficiency, smart grids, renewable energies, water and wastewater, mobility, and transportation infrastructure… (more)

Aggreko and Shanduka Group have announced a project to provide a 107 MW power plant, which will use gas from Mozambique’s Temane gas field, to provide an interim power supply to South African power utility Eskom and its Mozambican counterpart, Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM). The project – following from discussions initiated between Aggreko, Shanduka Group, Eskom and EDM early in 2011 and approved by South African energy regulator NERSA and the country’s departments of energy and public enterprise – will come on stream early in the third quarter of this year… (more)

South Africa has one of the worlds most advanced environmental legal frameworks entrenched with the environmental right to “ecologically sustainable development”. Numerous tools, including environmental impact assessment (EIA), are made available within the legal framework as listed in the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA)… (more)

While activity appears slow or subdued, market players are preparing for some significant changes in the technological and contractual landscape of high voltage transformers in South Africa. The high voltage transformer market is soon to see the return of ABB as a key player in 2013,  while the major current tender holders include Powertech, Siemens, Contipower, and Zest WEG. The dominance of existing suppliers is likely to be challenged at the forthcoming tender adjudication in 2015… (more)

2011 saw a growth in demand for the rental power industry due to the expansion of projects in sectors like construction, oil and gas, manufacturing, mining and utilities. Many private power companies that were badly hit during the recession are still struggling to fund their permanent power plants, thus increasing the demand for rental solutions to fill in the gaps. Our response to the demand has been to follow a strategic growth plan, which saw Aggreko own or acquire 16 new locations in 2011… (more)

The Wind Atlas for South Africa project is an initiative of the South African Government, Department of Minerals and Energy (now DoE), and the project is co-funded by the UNDP-GEF through the South African Wind Energy Programme (SAWEP), and the Royal Danish Embassy. South African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI) is the Executing Partner, coordinating and contracting contributions from the implementing partners: CSIR, UCT, SAWS, and DTU Wind Energy… (more)

Studies have shown that if all of humanity aspired to first world living standards, we would need three planets like Earth to sustain us. Addressing a media conference, CESA president Naren Bhojaram said our ever-increasing aspiration towards first world lifestyles has resulted in the human race’s abuse and destruction of resources… (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)

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)

This article examines how GIS and remote sensing can be used from an environmental criminological perspective to better understand the spread of rhino poaching incidents in South Africa. Another Africa sunrise over the bushveld, the early sunrays reveal the dehorned carcass of a heavily pregnant rhino cow. Sadly, scenes like these are happening with increasing frequency and statistics reveal a staggering growth in rhino killings in South Africa since 2008… (more)

by Chris Yelland, EE Publishers

On 23 August 2011, EE Publishers hosted an open panel discussion and debate in Midrand, entitled “Renewable Energy in South Africa – going backwards or forwards?” At the debate, key players in the renewable energy (RE) sector of South Africa covered the background on where the country finds itself now, as well as the road ahead in the implementation of the ambitious renewable energy targets detailed in the national integrated resource plan for electricity, IRP 2010 – 2030. This will involve the installation of some 9200 MW of wind generation capacity, 8400 MW of solar photo-voltaic (PV) capacity, and 1200 MW of concentrating solar plant (CSP) capacity by 2030… (more)

On 30 May 2011 the Draft Geomatics Profession Bill was published in the Government Gazette and twenty-one days were provided for comments to be sent in. GISSA’s members were asked to study the bill and to provide feedback. These comments were then compiled into a document and sent through as GISSA’s response to the published bill. Many other interest groups also gave their comments, indicating that this is very serious issue for the GIS community… (more)

In South Africa, spatial address data has been collected by different public and private organisations, with little or no cooperation on data sharing. Although there is weighty evidence about the benefits of spatial data sharing, organisations are still experiencing problems in making it happen, hence the costly duplication of efforts in data collection and storage still persists… (more)

SANSA, the South African National Space Agency, which came into operation on 1 April 2011, generates and delivers a 2,5 m SPOT 5 national mosaic to government once every year. This mosaic forms the backdrop to many of the national GIS related datasets. The success of this annual undertaking relies heavily on the data acquisition agreement between SANSA and the French Spot Image company – an agreement that comes at a considerable monetary cost to SANSA… (more)

In the first part of this series of articles the reader was introduced to lidar-based aerial surveys (LBAS) as a surveying technique, and the basic technologies and workflow of LBAS were outlined. In this article we will look at typical LBAS deliverables and applications. We will also consider the specifications of an aerial survey that a client needs to understand prior to commissioning surveys… (more)

The SA Army Engineer Formation held a GIS Conference at Tec Base Thaba Tshwane on 18 April 2011. Brigadier General L.C. Nobanda welcomed the delegates to the event saying that GIS is critical to military operations and Brigadier General PW Thirion from the Directorate for Geospatial Information (DGI) gave a strategic overview of how GIS is being used by this department… (more)

High definition scanning whether terrestrial, mobile or airborne has a wide application field in the survey industry. To simply ignore this fact and think that it is not going to affect the industry is a serious mistake. The survey firms that have started to implement this technology are already reaping the benefits… (more)

Humans have settled in villages and cities for at least fifteen millennia but they have had to face five frequently repeated challenges for survival. Sometimes seen as a variation of the four horses of the Apocalypse, the ravages brought about by either constricting climatic change, rampant diseases, unexpected migrations (wars) or competition for resources are often compounded by a selfish, corrupt government… (more)

by Mark Botha and Chris Yelland, EE Publishers

The debate around hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo is an issue of national and public interest. Shale gas extraction has the potential, some say, to change the face of the country’s power industry and improve the lives of millions of South Africans. Public opinion, however, is a powerful force well-known to have hampered the nuclear industry in the past… (more)

SumbandilaSat is living up to its Venda name as it “leads the way” in providing South African entities with valuable satellite imagery at no cost, despite earlier technical setbacks. During August and September 2010 SumbandilaSat acquired five high resolution images of the south-western part of the Kruger National Park and neighbouring Bushbuckridge where the CSIR and SANParks Scientific Services are conducting various research projects… (more)

The delivery and management of regular free and fair elections is vital, and an effective geographic information system (GIS) is a crucial spoke in the election wheel. AfriGIS has worked with the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) since 1998 and is currently assisting the IEC to power successful municipal elections in May 2011… (more)

Institutionalising a Geospatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) was a major watershed for research data management at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). For the first time in the CSIR’s history, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) department took over the management and maintenance of research-related software and data. For the first time, geospatial data was related to publication outputs. Heidi van Deventer shares the experiences, lessons learnt and the remaining challenges… (more)

 A radio telescope, such as the SKA, is an extremely sensitive radio receiver in order to detect the extremely faint radio signals that have traversed the universe for billions of years. This means that any terrestrial source of radio frequency interference has the potential to destroy radio astronomy observations.The introduction of new mining and exploration activity by Shell would not be able to comply with the protection requirements of radio astronomy without very careful and detailed analysis. And even after this analysis, the chances don’t look good for compliance. My advice? Just stay away from the SKA… (more)

 Surveyors and GIS professionals are often heard asking the question: “Does my work enjoy copyright protection, and if so, do I own the copyright?” Copyright has important implications for these professional persons. It determines whether the work that is produced by such persons enjoys protection; it determines who owns such copyright; and it determines whether and how such rights can be enforced against a person who copies such work without the necessary consent… (more)

Practical evidence of pride within our profession came to my notice for the first time a good many years ago. It was during a visit to the Cape Town Deeds Office in search of some title information. The act of opening the old volume that I had removed from a dark shelf, revealed a land surveyor’s diagram which in any other circumstance would have been valued for its simple beauty as a work of art… (more)

Mine nationalisation has emerged as one of the major threats to the future and sustainability of the South African minerals sector. Because mineral resources are depletable, we have only one opportunity to make the most of each mineral resource. The industry is also particularly risky, which requires governments to understand the need for stability of terms and security of tenure… (more)

by Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers
Within a few weeks, Judge Kgomo of the South Gauteng High Court will rule on whether Eskom must hand over certain documents requested by Media 24 in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act that would reveal details of secret pricing deals with BHP Billiton that have long been held to be confidential. However the matter may not end here, but could be heading for the Constitutional Court… (more)

by Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers

Phindile Nzimande, former CEO of EDI Holdings (Pty) Ltd, has been appointed CEO of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) with effect from 1 May 2011. This follows a decision by the cabinet announced in December 2010 to disband EDI Holdings by 1 April 2011… (more)

by Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Publishers

At long last, the cabinet has approved and published the national Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity, IRP 2010. Now this just has to be passed by parliament and published in the Government Gazette. Let’s hope there will not be further delays, and that a measure of certainty will prevail so that the electricity sector can get down to work. But what is IRP 2010? Why is it important? And what exactly does it say?… (more)

The Council for Geoscience held a workshop in Pretoria on 15 February 2011 to discuss the South African Geological Hazard Observation System. The system intends to stimulate the creation of decision support or risk management systems aimed at assessing the impacts of geological hazards and informing policymakers in terms of prevention, mitigation and adaptation. The project is funded by the Department of Science and Technology and is expected to be complete by late 2013… (more)

The South African Orienteering Federation (SAOF) held a teachers training course in orienteering at Fourways High School in Johannesburg on 29 January 2011.  Teachers working with life orientation, geography and/or sports programmes, or whose schools are participating or intend participating in the Gauteng Orienteering School League were invited to attend. This was the first time that the SAOF had held the course and the response was positive with 55 teachers attending on the day… (more)

One of the key success factors identified for a viable and sustainable space science programme is human capital. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has partnered with the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE), through the National Research Foundation (NRF), to ensure that the necessary skills and expertise are developed in order to lend support and drive activities within the local space landscape… (more)

Trimble’s local supplier, Optron Geomatics, have always prided themselves on their pragmatism and ability to cross-pollinate ideas and disciplines to benefit new areas of science. It’s not surprising therefore to find Trimble equipment playing a vital role on one of the most important new archaeological sites currently under exploration – Klipdrift cave in the De Hoop conservation area in the Western Cape… (more)

Hyperspectral imaging technology is increasingly being used in the mining, infrastructure and environmental sectors. This article provides some background on the technology and its many applications… (more)

Reliable and quality service delivery makes geographic information systems (GIS) essential for municipal management with regards to the large geographical spread of the visible and non-visible infrastructure. Currently at the municipalities GIS deployment varies from one GIS work station environment, to intranet distribution of GIS information, up to a fully integrated information environment where GIS is integrated with other management information systems… (more)

The decline in construction activity that commenced in 2009 continued well into 2010.  In order to diversify, an increasing number of South African consulting engineers are aiming their sights towards the north of our continent. However, with increased competition from international consultants and the strengthening of the Rand, competition in Africa is fierce… (more)

The South African system of land surveying is reputed to be equal to the best in the world. The effectiveness of our cadastre and land administration in the past has however mainly been measured in the context of its ability to manage a small percentage of land parcels in South Africa as it excluded the many millions of dwellings in former homelands… (more)

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