GIS, BIM, surveying & spatial applications in Southern Africa
Issue 109, October 2019
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Editor’s note: Geospatial technologies reach maturity

by Pierre Potgieter, editor of PositionIT

A visit to the world’s largest geomatics trade fair, InterGEO, in Stuttgart, Germany revealed some interesting changes and new trends in the global geospatial landscape. It is worth paying attention to these developments as they will reach South African shores in the near future. Some of the latest product releases are already available through local distributors.

A key takeaway from the conference was how geospatial technologies are reaching maturity, shifting away from a predominant focus on performance-improvement to technological refinement. These refinements often make the solutions easier and more enjoyable to use, the workflows more productive, and furthermore, make the solutions accessible to new markets and new users.

Automation plays a key role in this shift, from improving data processing to reducing complexity such as introducing an automated calibration function in a laser scanner. There were still plenty examples of performance improvements. But innovation goes beyond hardware and software developments, and in combination with new business models these solutions bring new opportunities and benefits to the industry and society more broadly.

And that focus – on users, on society, and people – shows how what used to be a data acquisition and processing sector, is now maturing into an information sector. It is also worth noting that the conference’s tagline is “Knowledge and action for planet Earth”. It speaks not only to geotech’s many applications, but also the profession’s responsibility. Coincidentally, it is also this responsibility which Gavin Lloyd addresses in more detail in his article below. The role of geospatial technologies for all kinds of development purposes – social, environmental, economic and more – cannot be underestimated, as Oliver Chinganya from the UN Economic Commission for Africa stresses in his focus on the continent’s economic development.

With this in mind, there’s no better time than now to be in the geospatial sector and to apply the exciting tools at one’s disposal.
Automation sets in as geomatics solutions mature

Incremental changes in geomatics solutions on display at InterGEO 2019, the world's largest geo-industry fair, show a market reaching maturity. Like other digital industries, it is now ripe for automation which brings opportunities...

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Geomaticians' role in climate change

After 25 years of democracy in South Africa, it is sobering to realise that not a lot has been achieved. Some goals like housing and electricity distribution have advanced significantly, but others like education and job creation have receded....

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Geospatial information is crucial for Africa's development

In a keynote address at an event marking Digital Earth Africa Day, the Economic Commission for Africa's (ECA) Oliver Chinganya said the ECA views geospatial technology as a significant component that will help push Africa's transformative...

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Earth observation challenge seeks mining solutions

The SA Earth Observation Open Innovation Challenge is open for entries, and looks for ideas that assist in advancing the societal and commercial competitiveness of the South African mining...

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Upcoming events

Esri South Africa User Conference 2019
22 – 25 October 2019

Esri South Africa is celebrating 30 years of spatial technology at its user conference in the Central Drakensberg. Delegates from Southern Africa will enjoy technical workshops, user presentations, training, and industrial tracks covering a broad range of topics including education, utilities, local government, and more.

GEO Week 2019
4 – 9 November 2019

The Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Week 2019 and the GEO Ministerial Summit will highlight how investments in earth observation make delivering major returns on investment to economies and communities. GEO’s 105 member governments, business leaders, heads of international non-profits and experts will meet in Australia. More info

International GIS Day
13 November 2019

Take part in the international celebration of geographic information systems (GIS) technology. Help others learn about geography and the uses of GIS. Demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in our society. Several GIS day events take place internationally, including in South Africa. More info

SANSA Space for National Development Week 2019
12 – 14 November 2019

SANSA will host the Space for National Development Week to gauge the state of the space landscape in SA. The conference theme will be the future of space in South Africa in the context of the fourth industrial revolution. The event is an opportunity to learn about the challenges and opportunities faced by the space sector, and to learn about stakeholders’ requirements. It also offers the agency a chance to brief stakeholders on the latest developments at the agency.

More details in Events Diary
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