African Association of
Remote Sensing of the Environment


All the latest news on AARSE and remote sensing.
  • 28 Oct 2015 11:50 AM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)

    Source: EE Publishers, Article: Position IT

    GISSA recently held a GIS career day for the University of Pretoria Geomatics, Geography and Geology students. Two geospatial experts shared their experience in their GIS careers, offered advice on entering the field, and answered students’ questions on work opportunities. James Saunders, a remote sensing ecologist at Southern Mapping, and Prevlan Chetty, a senior GIS specialist at GCS, explained the work they are involved in and their career paths.

    Chetty, who also represented GISSA, told students about the benefits of belonging to an organisation such as GISSA. He explained that the organisation offers special student membership, with benefits that include rubbing shoulders with experts in the industry and staying up to date with the latest developments in the field.

    Appropriate academic qualification also enhances employment opportunities, and employment opportunities in GIS are well distributed between the private and public sector, Chetty explained. He made reference to the “GIS as a tool versus GIS as a discipline” debate, and how bodies and organisations like Plato and GISSA treat GIS as a discipline with standards for work accountability.

    He also recommended students register with Plato for this reason, adding that networking with experts could lead to interesting MSc topic ideas and good work opportunities when graduating. Still being associated with the university places them in goods standing to join these organisations.

    Saunders showed students some of the work he has done in mineral mapping using GIS. Remote sensing, a field in its own right, is also seeing an explosion of new technology and opportunities, and Saunders said GIS is a great way to approach remote sensing.

    The main arguments for considering GIS careers however appeared to be that GIS is a young and a dynamic, crosscutting discipline in which one gets to deal with many aspects of a business and many interesting people and projects.

    Original article

  • 28 Oct 2015 11:07 AM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)

    Source: EE Publishers, Article: PositionIT

    Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality (NMMDM) is advocating for the quality production of spatial data, as well as promoting the use of spatial data to inform proper planning, decision making, policy development, and to help enhance basic service delivery through various initiatives, as required by the law, the Spatial Data Infrastructure Act (SDIA) and related legislations.

    One of these initiatives was the creation of a GIS road show for rural schools, the first of which took place in 2013. Through multiple partnerships the district was able to reach eight remote schools within a period of four days with a total number of 272 Grade 10 and 11 learners in attendance who were accompanied by twelve Geography teachers, subject specialists, and other officials from the Provincial Department of Education. Educating these rural communicates about spatial information has resulted in a 5 to 6% increase in the pass rate in the subject of Geography in schools which participated in the GIS roadshow. Following demands from within the profession, NMMDM decided to seek support from key role-players in taking this initiative to another level.

    As a result from 12 to 16 October 2015, the municipality is hosting another GIS road show which will involve even more stakeholders, and which aims to establish a strong collaboration that will assist capacity building and endorse functional enterprise GIS district wide, and harmonise working relations with other data custodians. With this initiative NMMDM is aiming to take the geomatics profession to local communities, facilitate capacity building for the enhancement of basic service delivery, and source technical expertise as well as monitoring and evaluation. It also aims to pursue resources for the improvement of geospatial tools, ensure skills development and mentorship, and assist the five constituent local municipalities in implementing the recently enacted Spatial Land Use Management Act (16 of 2013) and all the related legislations.

    Contact Flora Makgale, Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, Tel 018 381-9400,

    Original article

  • 27 Oct 2015 3:11 PM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)

    Source: AZERNEWS , Article: Nigar Orujova

    A second satellite program in Azerbaijan will cost over $191 million, the State Procurement Agency of Azerbaijan reported.

    These funds will be spent on the construction of the second geostationary satellite Azerspace-2/Intelsat 38 and the purchase of ground satellite equipment.

    The second satellite program will be financed with long-term and concessional loans from Export Development Canada.

    Canadian Space Systems/Loral, a leading provider of commercial satellites, will build Azerbaijan’s second telecommunications satellite.

    The satellite design is based on the highly reliable SSL 1300 satellite platform, which provides flexibility for a broad range of applications and technology advances.

    Azerspace-2 is scheduled for launch in late 2017-early 2018. Work on the installation of ground station equipment must be completed no later than 2017, and the ready satellite shipped to the launch site before the end of 2017.

    Azerspace-2 will be launched into orbit by a French company, according to Communications and High Technologies Minister Ali Abbasov.

    The country’s first satellite was launched on an Ariane 5 ECA carrier rocket from French company Arianespace.

    He said that the second satellite would be a part of a new satellite constellation, which includes radar satellites as well. This advantage will allow Azerbaijan to use not only the telecommunications capabilities of the spacecraft, but also enhance its ability to monitor the Earth's surface.

    Azerbaijan entered the space club less than two years ago with the launch of the first Azerbaijani telecommunications satellite Azerspace-1, which provide services such as digital television, data transmission, VSAT multi-service networks, and governmental communications.

    The total value of the Azerspace-1 project is about $230 million.

    Azerspace-2 will be placed in an orbital position of 45 degrees east longitude and the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization rents 45.9 percent of its resources.

    Azerspace-2 will cover a service area of Europe, South-East Asia, Middle East and Africa.

    The geostationary satellite Azerspace-2 will be equipped with Ku- and Ka-band transponders, designed to provide digital broadcasting, Internet access, data transmission, the creation of VSAT multi-service networks, and other services.

    Moreover, Azerbaijan's satellite operator Azercosmos operates the AzerSky low-orbit satellite.

    Azersky has a broad range of applications including defense and security, emergency response, the exploration of natural resources, maritime surveillance, sea faring, environmental protection, urban planning, cartography, and tourism.

    The satellite is capable of shooting 6 million square kilometers of the surface of the Earth. The resolution of the images obtained will be 1.5 meters. The satellite will work in orbit for 12 years.

    Pictures taken from AzerSky will be used in agriculture, the Communications and High Technologies Ministry reported earlier. The satellite will capture photos of the earth's surface before late 2015.

    Pictures will be obtained both from the AzerSky satellite and the Pleiades satellite of the French Airbus Defence and Space Company. The resolution of images obtained from the Pleiades satellite, is 0.5 meters, and 1.5 meters from the Azersky satellite.

    Original article

    Other articles

    Cost of second Azerbaijani satellite to exceed $19M

  • 26 Oct 2015 2:09 PM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)
    Source: African Union


    The AU took a Summit Decision EX. CL/Dec.420 (XIII) to reconfiguration all sectorial Ministerial Conferences into ‘Specialized Technical Committees” with the objective of enhancing the methods of work, and improving sectorial relationships, synergies, effectiveness and efficiency. In this regard, Education, Science and Technology were merged under the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Education, Science and Technology (STC-EST).
    There is no doubt that the Education, Science and Technology sectors are complementary and should effectively drive Africa’s social and economic development and accelerate the transition of African countries to innovation-led, knowledge-based economies. Hitherto, the African Union Commission has been convening separately the African Ministers responsible for education (COMEDAF) and Ministers responsible for Science and technology (AMCOST).
    Consequently, the Commission will convene the first Ordinary Session of the STC on Education, Science and Technology from the 27th to the 30th of October 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The meeting will ensure continuity and consideration of the outcomes and progress in the implementation of the last meetings of AMCOST V and COMEDAF VI, as well as agree on the future functional governance of education and STI in the continent. There will also be an exhibition of model TVET programmes and on Space Sciences.

    1. To update the Ministers on the status of on-going programmes and on RECs and Member States’ performance in the education, science and technology sectors;
    2. Discuss AU Summit Decisions relevant to the conduct of education, science and technology on the continent;
    3. Consider the Education and TVET strategies and the STISA implementation plan;
    4. Consider the Africa Space Policy and Strategy;
    5. Consider funding and mobilisation of resources, especially domestic resources; and
    6. Establish precedence for conducting AU continental business in the fields of education, science and technology

    Expected Outcomes
    1. Endorsement of the Continental Strategy for Education for Africa (CESA 16-25) and other continental strategies, roadmaps and implementation plans in education, science and technology;
    2. Report on the first meeting of the STC on Education, Science and Technology;
    3. Agreement on reporting and follow up mechanisms for the continental agenda;
    4. Actions for decisions during the next Summit of Heads of State.

    • AU Ministers of Education, Science and Technology
    • Senior Education, Science and Technology Officials
    • Regional Economic Communities
    • Development Partners (as observers)

    Original article

  • 26 Oct 2015 1:24 PM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)

    Source: Department of Environmental Affairs


    The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), held a stakeholder workshop to refine the user-requirements of the new National Ocean and Coastal Information Management System (O&C IMS), from 14 - 15 October 2015, in Milnerton, Cape Town.

    The two departments have started an exciting process to work with key stakeholders to develop a National Ocean and Coastal Information Management System for South Africa, as well as to extend earth observation capability which is known as the O&C IMS Project.

    The Department of Environmental Affairs has a legal obligation to develop the National Ocean and Coastal Information Management System for South Africa. The White Paper for Sustainable Coastal Development in South Africa of 2000, indicated that there was a need for a National Coastal Information Management Systems and mandated DEA to develop a system that is user-friendly, cost effective and integrates the national information systems related to coastal management and protection. 

    The White Paper further indicated that provision had to be made to ensure that all stakeholders have access to information and need to include specialist advisory and technical support for decision-making in all spheres of Government. In 2008 the Integrated Coastal Management Act (Act no. 24 of 2008) placed a legal obligation on the Minister of the DEA to develop such an information and reporting system. The creation of a national O&C IMS is a key requirement in order to fully implement the White Paper for Sustainable Coastal Development in South Africa (2000), the Integrated Coastal Management Act (Act No. 24 of 2008), the National Environmental Management of the Oceans White Paper (2014) and the outcomes of Operation Phakisa.

    The purpose of this workshop was to bring together ocean and coastal stakeholders to provide inputs into the National O&C IMS Project, find commonalities, facilitate collaboration in an inclusive environment; and form technical working groups to support the O&C IMS Project objectives going forward. The output of this workshop will be a technical roadmap for the next five years for the National O&C IMS Project and will include the prioritized specification of the O&C IMS core Information and Communication Technology development.

    This project forms part of the Operation Phakisa (Marine Protection Services and Ocean Governance - Initiative 6: National Ocean and Coastal Information System and Extending Earth Observation Capability) Action Plan endorsed by Cabinet and will take five years to fully develop. However, it is foreseen that elements of an operational system will already be functional by the end of 2016.

    Operation Phakisa is an initiative by the Presidency, which aims to unlock the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans. The Oceans Economy Lab, under the leadership of the Department of Environmental Affairs, has already been completed. To unlock the ocean economy, four priority areas were identified as new growth areas in the ocean economy, with the objective of growing them and deriving value for the country. The four priority areas are, Marine transport and manufacturing activities, Offshore oil and gas exploration, Aquaculture; and Marine protection services and ocean governance.

    The outcomes of the Operation Phakisa Initiative 6 O&C IMS Project and Extending Earth Observation Capability is to: Firstly establish Earth Observation Technology Capacity for the South African Exclusive Economic Zone as well as the extended continental shelf by 2019/20. Secondly, to deliver the National Ocean and Coasts Information Management System by 2019/20, and finally to establish and implement the Data and Earth Observation Infrastructure required of the O&C IMS.  These processes will run in parallel and key to its success is the development of an Information Management System that will integrate current and future data sources and systems, information and decision-support tools into a user-friendly and cost effective National Ocean and Coastal Information Management System for the benefit of relevant stakeholders.

    It is envisaged that the O&C IMS Project will allow the department to link with other partners in South Africa and, eventually, within the continent of Africa and internationally. The vision for this project is to have a product that will be accessible in terms of information which can be interactive, controlled and used as a tool for improved decision-making, predictive modelling, research and public information. Some areas of the system will naturally be restricted to authorised users only.

    The department has appointed the CSIR Meraka Institute to assist in coordinating the implementation of this project. A Project Steering Committee has been established and the work has commenced.

    Original article


  • 08 Oct 2015 9:32 AM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)
    Source:, Article: Matthew Peach

    Image sensor technology developer Teledyne Dalsa is to partner with Denel Spaceteq, Stellenbosch, South Africa, a high-performance satellite systems and solutions provider to African and international aerospace market, with the aim of developing a new multi-spectral image sensor for advanced earth observations.

    With Teledyne Dalsa’s experience in multispectral imaging, and Spaceteq’s background in earth observation satellites, this multimillion dollar development project is expected to return high resolution images by 2019 when the next satellite launch is scheduled.

    The earth observation application will contribute to the ARMC (African Resource Management are expected to enable acquisition of data for applications such as agriculture, crop and forestry management, urban planning, environment and disaster monitoring.

    Sensor priority

    Patrick Ndhlovu, General Manager of Spaceteq, commented, “We’re excited to see this project move forward with Teledyne Dalsa. Earth observation satellites are developed by firstly choosing the ideal sensor, then the optics, and then building the rest around that. With their deep understanding of multispectral and hyperspectral imaging, and the challenges associated with these harsh environments, Teledyne Dalsa is an obvious choice for this critical aspect of our product.”

    Jean Pierre Luevano, International Sales Manager at Teledyne Dalsa, said, “Our experience with system designs optimized for radiation hardness and extreme environments will give Spaceteq and its customer a competitive advantage in today’s earth observation market by providing unprecedented high resolution images at very small ground resolutions.”

    Teledyne Dalsa’s multispectral imaging solutions leverage its long experience in design, fabrication and packaging technologies to achieve multispectral sensitivity in a single fully miniaturized package. A single device can contain multiple imaging areas tailored to different multispectral bandwidths. Positioning advanced dichroic filters directly in the imaging area achieves highly efficient multispectral sensors at various resolutions.

    About Denel Spaceteq

    Denel Spaceteq is a provider of high-performance small- and medium-sized satellites and related systems and solutions to the local and international aerospace market. Spaceteq through the absorption of SunSpace has its origins in the SUNSAT satellite programme of Stellenbosch University.

    SUNSAT, South Africa's first satellite, was developed completely by a local team of engineers, and launched in 1999 by the American space agency NASA. Most of the team who designed and developed SUNSAT forms the core of Spacteq today.

    Original article

  • 07 Oct 2015 12:45 PM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)
    Source: Metering and Smart Energy International, Article: Nicholas Nhede

    Nigeria's state utility EEDC launches GIS system to map its distribution network.

    Nigerian utility EEDC is launching a GIS system to map its distribution network and all metering points within its service territory

    In West Africa, Nigerian utility Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) has launched an integrated network improvement programme aimed at upgrading the utility's mapping and metering system.

    According to a local news source, the programme includes the implementation of a GIS system beginning this week, which will pave the way for a smart meter rollout project in five states in eastern Nigeria.

    EEDC's principal communication manager Eugene Aniowo said the GIS programme will provide a digital map that will be used to develop a comprehensive addressing system, with the postcodes of the entire south-east region of Nigeria.

    The system will also identify and provide a record of assets and consumers within the EEDC network in Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo and Abia.

    EEDC will install smart meters to metering points detected by the GIS system, Metering & Smart Energy International has learnt.

    The GIS system will also provide benefit to the region's navigational system and enhance security through the tracking of criminals.

    CAPMI meter scheme

    The news comes as Nigeria inches towards metering all customers.

    Lagos electricity distribution company Eko is urging consumers to utilise the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) scheme to install smart meters on their premises ahead of a wider scale roll-out, reported Business Day last week.

    The aim of CAPMI is as a stop-gap measure prior to the smart metering programme supposed to meter all Eko customers by 2018.

    Eko managing director and CEO Oladele Amoda said the CAPMI programme asks customers to pay upfront for the meter and installation, and receive a refund through their electricity bills.

    Smart metering in West Africa

    In other African smart meter news, the Ashanti regional office of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has begun a pre-installation survey of all government institutions and agencies to assess the viability of the deployment of smart prepaid meters to reduce the government’s indebtedness to the utility.

    According to GhanaWeb, the project undertaken by Ghanaian electricity metering solution company ElectroMeter will run for the next seven years - in line with the government’s directive to all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to avoid wastage of power and reduce debt.

    The company has begun with the installation of more than 200,000 meters in eight districts in the region, including Danyame, Abuakwa and Suame.

    Original article

  • 07 Oct 2015 12:38 PM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)

    Source: MESA

    The first Forum of the Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) conducted in Kenya from 31st August – 4th September 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The Forum discussed how Earth Observation data through the MESA Project supports policy, planning and decision making at the national, regional and continental level in Africa.

    Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, H.E. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, in her opening statement said: “This Forum is a great opportunity for all of us: African Decision-makers, Experts, Service Providers and the User Community to exchange views on various aspects of the project in order for the MESA project to remain relevant and useful to the community that it is intended to serve in its multiple sectoral areas of focus including agriculture, coastal and marine resources, climate variability and Climate change including assessment, natural resources conservation, disaster risks reduction, flood and drought monitoring, fisheries, forestry monitoring, land degradation mitigation, livestock management, monitoring of wildfires, and water resources management"

    "Before this, my office and team members had to travel physically to protected areas which took several days and incurred huge costs. Thanks to the MESA projects, KWS can now get a snapshot of satellite images of the protected areas on a single page. That is a clear example of how these technologies and the ones to be discussed here over the next five days impact our everyday lives. The funds saved from such initiatives can be now channeled by Government to further research and innovation towards safeguarding our environment" said her keynote address Prof. Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and Regional Development Authority of the Republic of Kenya.

    During this time delegates have exchanged best practices that have helped African Governments and organisations to establish coherent frameworks for the development of Earth Observation activities which are influencing policy for environmental sustainability for future generations.

    The Forum has the theme “Streamlining MESA products and services towards the decision making cycle in support of sustainable environmental management” and will be organised by the African Union Commission (AUC) together with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources with the support of the European Union. 200 international delegates comprising of decision and policy makers, planners, earth observation data users and experts from across the continent.

    The MESA Project is a European Union funded Programme implemented with the overall coordination of the African Union Commission and steering by the Regional Economic Communities and Inter-Governmental Organisations(CEMAC, ECOWAS, IGAD, IOC and SADC) and the ACP Secretariat, in close cooperation with the European Union and partners such as EUMETSAT and the EC Joint Research Centre.

    Original article

  • 06 Oct 2015 3:30 PM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)

    Source: The Cairo Post

    A new Egyptian Satellite will be launched by 2017 per an agreement signed last week between the National Authority for Remote Sensing & Space Sciences (NARSS) and Germany.

    CAIRO: A new Egyptian Satellite will be launched by 2017 per an agreement signed last week between the National Authority for Remote Sensing & Space Sciences (NARSS) and Germany, Youm7 reported Monday.

    The satellite will be used for the scientific activities, officials from the NARSS told Youm7, adding that Egypt aims to launch several satellites in the upcoming period.

    According to the signed deal, the satellite hardware would German while the software part would be Egyptian. However, both sides did not agree on the body that will put the satellite into orbit.

    On April 16, the new Egyptian Satellite EgySat was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

    Original article

  • 06 Oct 2015 3:20 PM | AARSE Admin (Administrator)

    Source: SciDev.Net - Sub-Saharan Africa desk

    Scientists have created a flowering map for a semi-arid savannah site in Africa using a new remote sensing technology.
    Researchers from Finland, Kenya, South Africa and Sudan, who created the map, say that despite significant rural populations of Africa getting income from bee keeping, data on the abundance and distribution of flowering melliferous plants — those that produce nectar and pollen collected by honey bees — are scarce.
      “As more than 90 per cent of vegetable and fruits we eat are reliant on pollination, the availability of flowering plants and bees becomes a food security issue,” says Tobias Landmann, a co-author of the study and head of Geo-Information Unit of the Kenya-headquartered International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology. 

    The space-borne technology combines two mapping techniques — digital imaging and spectroscopy — that increase the ability to detect individually separate and distinct materials of interest for gathering key information towards identifying and classifying them, Landmann adds.
    According to the study published in the Remote Sensing of Environmentjournal this month (1 September), researchers deployed a space-borne sensor on an aircraft, thus covering larger areas more effectively and systematically than ground surveys. They used the aircraft to help collect data on flowering plants in Mwingi County, eastern Kenya, during flowering seasons in February 2013 and January 2014. The researchers grouped flowering plants into brown leaves, crops, white forbs, white green and yellow green.
    “All flowering plant groups together could be mapped with an overall accuracy of 83 per cent,” the researchers write in the journal.
    Landmann tells SciDev.Net: “Previously farmers were drawing up floral calendars using field notes. This is tedious and highly subjective to errors. Farmers need floral calendars to know what to expect from the landscape in terms of bee hive productivity.”
     According to its creators, the map is the first for a semi-arid savannah site in Africa.
    Landmann adds that the new strategy for producing the map could be replicated in other parts of Africa because there are new and good spatial and spectral resolution space-borne remote sensing sensors available.
    But he adds satellite signals would have to be validated using field observations within a particular area.
    According to Landmann, the map could benefit agricultural extension officers, decision makers and beekeepers.
    “Many beekeepers in rural Africa are dependent on products from bee keeping such as propolis, honey and wax [for] livelihoods strategy,” says Landmann. “For instance, in Kenya up to 25 per cent of farmers generate extra income from selling bee keeping products.”
    He explains that practices such as deforestation remove flowering trees from the landscape, impeding bee productivity and ultimately livelihoods.   
    The project took one and a half years to complete as part of a 13 million euro (about US$14.7 million) project on bee health funded by the European Union.
    Lusike Wasilwa, head of crop systems at the Kenya Agriculture Livestock Research Organisation, who was not involved in the study, says: “This will provide information on foraging of pollinators required by farmers to project impact on yields. It will also show the importance of pollinators.”

    A Kenya-based consultant in research and agronomy, Peter Okoth, says the study is novel in the field of flower mapping, but adds that many interested actors might find it costly to use aircrafts for collecting data.

    ​ “More financial resources are therefore needed in order to extend the benefits of the mapping methodology beyond [the site] in Kenya,” he explains.
    But Landmann says they intend to adapt and then apply a similar approach to satellite data to map larger areas without always having to rely on aircrafts, which is more expensive and tedious.


    Tobias Landmann and others Application of hyperspectral remote sensing for flower mapping in African savannas (Remote Sensing of Environment, 1 September 2015)

  This site is managed by Space 4 Development