The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) was established in 2010. Following a period of rapid growth and transition the agency has made significant advancements towards addressing its mandate of deriving greater value from space science and technology for the benefit of South African society.

GEO to Keep Unleashing the Power of Open Data

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Remarks by the Minister of Science and technology

Press release from the GEO Conference

Geneva, 17 January 2014 – In Geneva today, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) received unanimous endorsement to unleash the power of open data for a second decade. There was agreement to continue building on the organization's first 10 years of pioneering environmental advances, which are designed to improve the quality of life of people everywhere. Fueled by open data, GEO's efforts are now evident in most regions of the world. GEO is comprised of 90 member nations, the European Commission and 77 Participating Organizations.

"GEO is successfully meeting its mandate, which is to make data and other information open, accessible and easy to discover for decision makers around the world," said Mr. Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment. "GEO's vision is now operational, a proven force for putting sound science to work across nine essential areas: agriculture, biodiversity, climate, disasters, ecosystems, energy, health, water and weather."


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From Department of Science and Technology

 Thank you Chair


We would like to highlight some of the advances made by South Africa with respect to Earth Observation and our contributions to GEO vision and GEOSS.

South Africa, through the Department of Science and Technology, has made major strides in the development and implementation of the South African Earth Observation Strategy (SAEOS), which is aimed at promoting an integrated Earth observation system. The strategy, approved in October 2006 and launched during the margins of the GEO IV Plenary in Cape Town, captures the country’s response to the 10-year Implementation Plan for a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). The SAEOS Earth Observation Data Centre and the web-based Portal have been developed and are currently being operationalised and institutionalised. The Portal is integrated to the GCI and contributed resources to the GEOSS Data-CORE. South Africa strongly believes that the SAEOS model could form the basis for other African EO strategies.


National Communities of Practice have been established and these have been encouraged to contribute to GEO Work Plan and activities. South Africa is now active in 19 GEO tasks and is lead of 4 components. For a country with limited resources and capacity, this is a significant contribution. South Africa – through NEOSS, has also played a significant support role in launching AfriGEOSS and promoting the initiative within the GEO community and in other relevant platforms. Furthermore, South Africa is involved in (and will continue to be involved in) initiatives such as the Africa Working Group on Land Cover Mapping, GEO Global Agriculture Monitoring (GEOGLAM), Blue Planet, GEO Global Biodiversity Network (GEOBON), African Water Cycle Initiative and GEO Common Infrastructure (GCI). In all these initiatives South Africa has both contributed and benefited from its participation.

With further development and enhancement of the SAEOSS Portal, South Africa continues to contribute to data discovery and access of space, aerial and in-situ datasets.


The Research and Development institutions in South Africa like the CSIR, are actively applying the standards and interoperability philosophy promoted by GEO such that important locally produced datasets can be freely shared and accessed. For example, through Sensor Web Enablement Southern Ocean datasets that were not previous openly available have been incorporated into SAEOSS. GEO-Spatial infrastructure that can be shared and accessed across the continent has been established at the CSIR and is used to host data and operational services accessible to all. Our institutions are also actively working on Earth Observation projects with many of our other African partners and are making use of GEO led innovations like GEONETCAST together with mobile technology to provide access to EO services as a way to deal with infrastructure challenges.

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