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Open Source Geospatial Solutions

AfriSpatial can help you…

  • Design and implement Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Develop custom geospatial applications
  • Train and develop your staff with FOSS (Free and Open Source) GIS tools
  • Integrate diverse GIS software and data in your enterprise
  • Migrate from proprietary (privative) software to FOSS software
  • With system and staff support

Afrispatial attended the SA GEO 2013 conference at the university of fort Hare to present its  current work in the remote sensing field. The presentation mainly focused on how Afrispatial is preparing teachers in helping them understand the basics of remote sensing and how remote sensing techniques can be applied using Open Source GIS such as QGIS. Bridget Fleming, a Geography teacher and examiner with more than 26 years in the teaching profession and  Admire Nyakudya, a graduate in remote sensing, are rolling out teacher education for remote sensing and GIS in the whole country in preparing teachers for understanding remote sensing since it will be fully part of the curriculum as of next year. As well as presenting the courses, Afrispatial is also involved in preparing course material which the teachers will be able to get free under an open licence.

The involvement of Afrispatial in educating teachers received a welcome from all the participants and it resulted in the establishment of a Community of Practice for remote sensing education whose primary aim is to consolidate what Afrispatial is doing and also ensure that all other relevant professionals (remote sensing scientists and experts) can collaborate and produce standardised teaching materials to use in preparing teachers for the remote sensing curriculum. Afrispatial made a plea for collaborating with the Education department to have competent teachers who are equal to the task of teaching new technology as it becomes available, as is already the case with the Western Cape Department of Education.

The SA GEO conference also had notable speakers from SANSA, ARC, academics from the major universities in the country and students from the University of Fort Hare. They showcased the work that they are undertaking in the remote sensing field. SANSA talked about the satellite that they are planning on launching and there was much discussion on what the remote sensing experts expected the satellite to cover, the bands that it will be monitoring and how to adjust that to the budget that they have; their initiative in distributing the Fundisa disk with SPOT 5 images for   students in South African universities and the need to establish a portal to share data.

Other notable presentations centred on how remote sensing is being utilised in the industry and examples of topics that were presented are Land cover mapping for erosion modelling of Macubeni, Eastern Cape and the value of terrain attributes to map land at risky of soil salinity. All presentations that were done during the conference will be available for public viewing on the SA GEO website.

As the conference wound up, one of  the primary sponsors, SACNASP (South African Council for Natural Scientific Professionals) encouraged all participants to be registered within the professional body and highlighted the importance of being a registered professional and the code of conduct required of professional. The registration material is readily available at the SACNASP website.

A plenary sessionA plenary session
A plenary session
Adriaan van Niekerk presenting to the RS CoPAdriaan van Niekerk presenting to the RS CoP
Adriaan van Niekerk presenting to the RS CoP
The authorThe author
The author

A belated Open Data Hackathon announcement: AfriSpatial has released a project for the public to contribute to styling South African National map data as supplied by NGI. Read more about it, clone it and contribute at It is all about serving up 1:50000 topographical map data styled just like the familiar paper map sheets, as one seamless layer for the whole country. And of course enabling anyone else to do the same. If you like it and use it we hope you will contribute to improving the map for everyone’s benefit.


If you just want to see the map, you can register on and switch on the “NGI/NGI Topographical” layer. Zoom in to 1:64000 or closer anywhere in the country and check it out. I know one thing: Geography teachers are going to love it. While you’re at it, switch to the “NGI Aerial Photography” base layer and adjust the topo layer’s opacity with the slider.

Happy styling!