SANSA intends to join a consortia of South African institutions, which includes the Universities of Cape Town, North West, Pretoria, Sol Plaatje, Western Cape and WITS as well as the SKA-South Africa, to establish a proto-type African Research Cloud (proto-type ARC). The Agency is in the process of finalising an MOU that will formally cement its membership in the consortia.
The African Research Cloud (ARC) aims to bring together resources and expertise from multiple institutions across the continent to establish a distributed and shared infrastructure, tools and environment for big data research in strategic domain's such as astronomy, bioinformatics and Earth observation.
The first phase of development of the ARC involves South African institutions collaboratively developing a functional proto-type for the ARC. During this phase the focus will be on, amongst others, defining strategic science demonstration projects and enabling the development of a continental pilot which should result in the full roll out of the ARC by the middle of the next decade.
SANSA will provide an Earth observation node for the proto-type ARC and ultimately the ARC. The EO node will enable the Earth observation community in South Africa and the continent to engage in EO focused big data research. In so doing SANSA will be leveraging its data infrastructure to provide more timely and accurate information for determining, amongst others, progress on initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals, food security and water resource management. This node of the ARC will ultimately provide support of evidenced based policy and decision making across the continent and will thus support the objectives of the African Space Strategy and AfriGEOSS.