SMC Synergy at the SANSA Space for National Development Week
SMC Synergy attended the Space for National Development Week that was hosted by SANSA. Dirk Pretorius presented an overview of remote sensing needs for the Natural Resource Management Programme of the Department of Environmental Affairs.
The following recommendations (remote sensing needs) were listed:
- Access to historical as well as “in-time” data e.g. SPOT archive
- SAR fractional canopy cover (PALSAR & Sentinel 1)
- High resolution data (Pleiades, WorldView 2 etc.)

Data should be accessible through:

  •  Web map Service (all historical data as well as newly ordered images)
  •  Maps API (maps for application development - e.g. Intermon) - time series analysis, change detection, basic processing (NDVI etc.)

SMC Synergy assisting DEA NRM programmes to capture rehabilitation interventions in the WOCAT SLM database
SMC Synergy is currently assisting the Department of Environmental Affairs (NRM programmes) to capture successful rehabilitation projects in the global WOCAT database. Japie Buckle (DEA) and Dirk Pretorius (SMC) started capturing the reshaping of gully erosion in the Mapungubwe National Park as well as ponding in the Mount Fletcher area by means of the WOCAT technology questionnaire. The capturing on information regarding rehabilitation projects will be one of the priorities for DEA with the main objective to share and spread valuable knowledge in land management, support evidence-based decision-making and scale up identified good practices, thereby contributing to preventing and reducing land degradation and to restoring degraded land. The following information is captured for these projects:

    - General information
    - Description of the technology
    - Classification of the technology
    - Natural and human environment
    - Impacts on ecosystem services
    - Reference to other projects
WOCAT Director visit SA
SMC Synergy hosted Prof Hanspeter Liniger (Director of WOCAT - World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies) who is visiting South Africa. We started this with a quick tour of The Nash Nature Reserve - right in the heart of Cradle of humankind. It is an exceptional Nature Reserve, close to the busy centre of Gauteng, and preparations were done for a Field Survey next week. The drone surveys will be imported and processed with the newly available tools in Global Mapper LiDAR Module: the "Pixel to Point Tool, and newly released 3D Mesh Creation function.
SABAP2 - demonstrating the versatility of GLOBAL MAPPER
The second Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP2) is the most important bird conservation project in the region, with benchmark world class protocol, processes and data gathering techniques developed and supported by the ADU of the University of Cape Town, and a group of volunteer citizen scientists.

Since its start in July 2007, SABAP2 involved more than 2400 volunteers for the input of more than 200 000 cards, including more than 10.5 million records.

With developing technology the use of smartphones (I-phone and Android devices) provided the option to easily and affordably input details of each observation with very high location accuracy. This is in contrast to the initial cards with a "territory mapping" approach; a list is compiled for an area of roughly 60 square km (a pentad is 5 minutes X 5 minutes).

There are obvious advantages with accurate location for each record:

  •   Habitats for specific species can be identified
  •   Coverage gaps within specific pentads can be located
  •   Species heard only can be placed within circular areas with fair accuracy
  •   and many more

With the introduction of the BirdLasser App ( from about mid 2014 location accuracy is now available.

SMC developed a workflow in GLOBAL MAPPER to re-allocate "territory map" records with a reasonable level of accuracy as point data records with location information. This will be further explored and can support additional analysis options for the full SABAP2 data-set.
Mapping the Heritage for the Magaliesberg Biosphere
It is not that well known that Hartbeespoort is the second most popular tourist destination in AFRICA, measured against the number of visitors. Only the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town receives more annual visitors.

To support tourists and enthusiasts, the very rich heritage of Hartbeespoort and the Magaliesberg Biosphere has been mapped (using Global Mapper) and will be made available to visitors. There are more than 200 sites of national and International importance and an example of the Mapping information, with GPS coordinates also available, of one of the sites is shared - Barton's Folly is one of the best preserved Blockhouses from the Anglo Boer War of 1899 to 1902.
Monitoring Hyacinth Growth on the Hartbeespoortdam
Global Mapper is an efficient tool to analyse Multi-spectral Imagery; but unfortunately with both Sentinel and Landsat Imagery freely available, the value is still largely untapped. Image processing with Global Mapper's Raster Calculator can make the difference in extracting valuable information from these images.

SMC supported the HRSC (Hartbeespoortdam Rehabilitation Steering Committee) and Harties Foundation NPO with a reliable assessment of Hyacinth Coverage of the Hartbeespoortdam over the past year, and was consulted how best to use available satellite Imagery to address the challenge. In this action Frikkie Botha and his students from TUT was also advised and trained on the workflow to use the imagery and outputs in planning and implementation.

With Hyacinth coverage peaking above 30% of the surface during July and August 2017, it is now down to around 16% (or just above 300 ha). The latest Sentinel image of 28 December 2017 shows the hyacinth cover on the southern shore of the HBP dam, and how it compared with the situation on 5 August 2017.

With the "easy to use" analysis tools in Global Mapper the workflow can be repeated in a matter of minutes as soon as the satellite image is available. The HRSC regarded this input as crucial not only in support of the important technical work, but also to support fund raising initiatives and raise public awareness.

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