NEWS


Global Mapper v.19 released
SMC Synergy is pleased to announce the release of Global Mapper version 19. With numerous functional improvements and performance enhancements throughout the application, the version 19 release is further evidence of Global Mapper's growing reputation as a viable alternative to traditional GIS software. Highlights of this release include a powerful new attribute editor; a new tool for dynamically adjusting the light source position for hillshade rendering; and drag and drop docking functionality for improved multi-view window management.
SMC Synergy attended the UNCCD COP 13 Meeting in China as part of the NEPAD delegation
SMC Synergy attended the UNCCD COP 13 Meeting from 11 to 15 September 2017 in Ordos, China as part of the NEPAD delegation. Dirk Pretorius as secretary of the AfriOCAT management group presented an overview of the WOCAT Programme and progress with the establishment of AfriOCAT during a side event on 14 September. Guest speakers included: Dr. Paul Elvis Tangem (African Union) and Dr. Dennis Garrity (ICRAF) - the moderator for the event was Dr. Philippe Eric Dardel (World Bank). One of the main points raised during the event was the role AfriOCAT had to play in demonstrating the value of the WOCAT programme/tools in SLM in Africa.
3D Digitizing functionality in Global Mapper v18
With the release of Global Mapper v18 the 3D View include new 3D digitizing and editing functionality, including the option to snap to existing 3D points, lines, or polygons. This new function will be extremely useful for soil and terrain-unit mapping.
Global Mapper Advanced Training AND LiDAR Module, Midrand, Gauteng
Another successful training event was hosted by SMC Synergy at the Protea Hotel in Midrand, this time the Advanced Training on Global Mapper also included the first training event in South Africa on the LiDAR module. The latter was also attended as a single day event. As one can see, all were happy with the outcome.
Geo-spatial Information for Conservation - an indispensable Tool
Conservation and Environmental management is increasingly dependent on quality Geo-spatial information. Whilst the initial use of maps had political and economic resource exploitation objectives, conservation also required accurate maps. Geo-spatial information (as in GIS systems) is today an indispensable tool for conservation and management of the environment. One can hardly deliberate on any environmental issue without the relevant information presented, more often than not, as maps.

New trends and technologies

Today many satellite-based datasets are freely available; Google Maps is the best known example and pervasively used. But there are many more that are not that obvious to those outside the industry.
Programs backed by large investments from space-faring nations make datasets readily available, and often for free. One notable example is the Sentinel Satellite, part of the European Earth Observation Programme, with a budget of €4.3 Billion. Sentinel images are freely available. (apps.sentinel-hub.com/sentinel-playground/).
This provides opportunities for improved conservation management, which up to now was only the domain of well-funded specialists in government and large corporations. This article contains examples which demonstrate the diversity of use and what can be achieved with low cost and available datasets, and affordable GIS platforms.
Monitoring of Invasive Species - Water Hyacinth Infestation (WHI)
Monitoring of Invasive Species - Water Hyacinth Infestation (WHI)
The Hartbeespoortdam (near Pretoria) is a well-known landmark and weekend destination for many outdoor enthusiasts. Unfortunately it is also known for its poor water quality caused by many factors upstream in the feed rivers.
The "Metsi-a-Me" Water Affairs project showed success with the management of remediation of the Hartbeespoortdam, such as keeping the proliferation of Water Hyacinth at bay. However, in March of 2016 Water Affairs terminated the project and the Water Hyacinth Infestation on the dam surface took hold. Growth during the summer months of 2016/17 caused coverage of more than 30% of the dam by April 2017 (see fig 1), as the Water Hyacinth population is known to double every 12 days in favourable circumstances. This has serious implications for many people around the dam; it affects recreation and fishing activities and therefore negatively impacts tourism. The biodiversity in and around the dam is also negatively impacted, clearly shown by a reduction of about 60% in bird numbers confirmed by the bi-annual CWAC count by Birdlife Harties. (CWAC = Coordinated Waterbird Count)
The local community in Hartbeespoort responded by setting up a steering committee to direct action plans to improve the situation and involve Water Affairs to take up their responsibility again.
It is important to regularly monitor the area covered by Hyacinth in order to measure the size of the problem and also to determine the effect of the mitigation actions. This is done by using Landsat and Sentinel Satellite imagery, and completing analysis available in GIS systems such as Global Mapperâ„¢. Between March 2017 and end June 2017 a total of 19 cloud-free Sentinel satellite images are available to analyse and monitor.
The objective is to reduce the coverage of Hyacinth to 10% after the winter months. At the same time the community will be working towards the re-establishment of the Metsi-a-Me project and for Water Affairs to take up its remediation responsibility.

Older news

Crowd-sourcing projects: Mapping the distribution of bird species
Crowd-sourcing projects: Mapping the distribution of bird species
The Second Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP2) is the most important bird conservation project in the region. Many other ...


SMC Synergy attending the WOCAT meeting in Cali, Colombia
Dirk Pretorius from SMC Synegy attended the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) Symposium and Network Meeting in Cali, Colombia. The meeting hosted by CIAT focused on ...


Bushmon - Bush Expert Project Management System
SMC Synergy developed Bushmon (Bush Expert Project Management System) for the North West University as part of a bush encroachment project funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs. The ...


SMC Synergy at the ISRSE 37 in Tshwane
SMC Synergy (Dirk and Renier) attended the 37th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment (ISRSE-37) in Tshwane, South Africa from 8 to 12 May 2017. The theme was “Earth Observation ...


Bush Expert Workshop at the North West University
SMC Synergy participated in the Bush Expert workshop held at the North West University from 28 to 29 March 2017. Professor Klaus Kellner (project leader) arranged the workshop to facilitate the ...


WOCAT/LADA Land Degradation Assesment methodology used to map land degradation for the proposed Ntabelanga dam
SMC Synergy used the WOCAT/LADA Land Degradation Mapping methodology to map the occurrence of gully erosion, loss of topsoil, river bank erosion and possible occurrence of alien vegetation species in ...


SMC Synergy presented progress with the Intermon system to DEA
Dirk Pretorius from SMC Synergy presented a progress report on the development of the Intermon System at a DEA NRM project meeting held at SANBI on the 7th of March 2017. His presentation included ...


Global Mapper in Mining
Teams from Sibanye Platinum and United Drones in training - SMC Synergy working on honing the workflow that will save cost and improve productivity of their operations. Global Mapper is the system of ...


Global Mapper - DSM to DTM conversion
The LiDAR module of Global Mapper was recently successfully used to extract a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) from Digital Surface Model (DSM) data. Crops on a centre pivot created problems in the ...


Intermon - a system to assist DEA to capture information on NRM interventions
SMC Synergy developed a web based system to collect information on interventions by the Natural Resource Management (NRM) Programmes of the Department of Environmental Affairs. Intermon enables NRM ...


SMC Synergy collaborate with NWU and MMU on bush encroachment project for DEA
In October 2016 SMC Synergy joined forces with researchers from the School of Biological Sciences (North West University - NWU Potchefstroom) and the School of Science & the Environment ...


Global Mapper Advanced Training in KZN completed
Another Advanced Training on Global Mapper was completed in Mount Edgecombe, KZN. (7-9 February 2017). This was the 7th event facilitated by SMC Synergy in Africa. Participants were mostly from the ...


WOCAT Symposium, 17th WOCAT Network and Steering Committee meeting in Feldafing, Germany - 8 to 13 June 2015
Dirk Pretorius attended the WOCAT Symposium, Network and Steering Committee Meeting in Germany during June 2015. The 2015 annual WOCAT event opened with the WOCAT Symposium, which called for ...


TRAINING AND CAPACITY BUILDING IN AFRICA
The Global Mapper Product suite provides opportunities for a variety of applications. The SMC Synergy team understands the important role of training, it forms part of our "whole ...


Visit to WOCAT
Dirk (SMC Synergy) and Carin Pretorius (CEIT Development) visited the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern during February 2015. The meeting was conducted with Dr. ...


Visit to the ISRIC
Dirk Pretorius visited the International Soil Reference and Information Centre (ISRIC) in Wageningen, Netherlands during February 2015. He met with Dr. Godert van Lynden to discuss the ...


Data capturing with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV - drones)
SMC Synergy partnered with Dynamic Objectiv during 2014 to strengthen its data capturing capabilities with the aid of Unmanned Aerial Aircrafts (UAV). Dynamic Objektiv has invested more than 3 years ...


SMC Synergy appointed as independent contractor by DEA
SMC Synergy was appointed as independent contractor by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in September 2014 to assist with the planning, management, control and implementation of various ...