You are cordially invited to the 37th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment (ISRSE), which will convenue in Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa 8-12 May 2017 under the overarching theme “Earth Observation for Development and Adaptation to a Changing World”. ISRSE-37 will be hosted by the South African National Space Agency (SANSA).

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SANSA Leads a South African Delegation on a Study Tour to Japan

On the 11th June 2016 the South African delegation led by SANSA embarked on a four (4) week study tour to Japan. The tour entails advanced training on Remote Sensing and GIS technologies, as well as planned visits to key Japanese institutions that are involved in the space industry. The team is made up of ten (10) delegates, representing the following government departments and state institutions:- SANSA - South African Maritime Safety Agency (SAMSA); Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA); Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS); Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF); Agricultural Research Council (ARC); and - Statistics South Africa (StatsSA).

The tour was made possible by the partnership that SANSA has established with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Support provided by JICA has enabled the South African delegation to obtain access to key technical experts and leading institutions in Japan that are involved in space related activities. The training will focus mainly on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technologies, with emphasis on the development of applications that support projects in agriculture (e.g. crop yield estimation/ forecasting) and the maritime industry (e.g. ship detection and pollution monitoring).

Rangelands And Pasture Productivity (RAPP) Experts convene in Pretoria

SANSA and Common Wealth Scientific Research Organisation, Australia (CSIRO) with support from Department of Science and Technology (DST) and City of Tshwane hosted the 4th Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative (GEOGLAM) Rangelands And Pasture Productivity (RAPP) workshop in Pretoria on 27-29 June 2016. The workshop was attended by 42 international and national scientists focussing on remote sensing and geospatial modelling in range and pasture management and research.

From right: Dr Alex Herd (CSIRO), Dr Phil Mjwara (DST), Dr Sandile Malinga (SANSA) and Dr Jane Olwoch (SANSA)

In South Africa range lands cover over 80% of SA land surface and are an important source of several ecosystem services and functions.

SANSA successfully facilitates SAR Maritime Training in support of Operation Phakisa

The maritime authorities recently benefited from a three day maritime remote sensing course that was recently hosted in Durban by the SAMSA maritime school of excellence on 25-27 May 2016. The Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) training workshop was facilitated by SANSA through its collaborative partnership with JICA and RESTEC in Japan. The course was attended by nineteen participants from SAMSA, Transnet and SANSA. The course was aimed at developing remote sensing competencies in maritime surveillance and draws on RESTEC’s well established expertise in this area. The long term objective of this capacity building initiative was to develop the requisite earth observation skills for the maritime authorities to enable them to fully support Operation Phakisa.

Crop monitoring system widely hailed by key agricultural stakeholders

The agricultural sector in South Africa is set to benefit from the crop monitoring system that has recently been developed by the SANSA in partnership with Airbus Defence and Space. The crop monitoring system called Crop Watch for South Africa was funded by the UK Space Agency under the International Space Partnership Program. Crop Watch system is aimed to providing crop stress information to the farming community in South Africa. An end to end system that uses DMC, SPOT 6, and Sentinel-2 and Landsat 8 satellite imagery was developed for the production of temporal vegetation characteristics indicative of crop vigor and stress. A number of stakeholders a set to benefit from this system and these include the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), National Agricultural Marketing Authority (NAMC), Farmers, Commercial Banks, Insurance Firms and Agricultural Chamber of Commerce. Further work on Crop Watch will be aimed at extending the functionality of the monitoring system to include crop yield estimations and forecasting. This project clearly demonstrates the value of satellite-based remote sensing in food security and has been widely applauded by key stakeholders in the agricultural sector.

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