Spotlight on job reservation and mapping

December 11th, 2015, Published in Articles: PositionIT


Mapping and job reservation for GISc Practitioners were the main focus of GISSA Gauteng’s end-of-year meeting on 26 November 2015 at the Pretoria Botanical Gardens.

The first speaker on the day was Dr. Peter Schmitz from the International Cartographic Association (ICA) who spoke about 2015-2016 being International Map Year (IMY). He explained that IMY is a worldwide celebration of maps and their unique role in our world, and detailed how this ICA initiative, via support from the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) unit, has provided opportunities to demonstrate, follow, and get involved in the art, science and technology of making and using maps and geographic information.

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Peter Schmitz, Lawrence Keefe, Michelle Bester, Helena Fourie, Lydia du Toit, Sammy Katumba and Samuel Osei.

See more photos from the gallery here

Schmitz provided details on the ICA’s introductory book on mapping, The World of Maps, which contains information on a variety of cartographic topics and issues for people interested in contemporary mapping. He also advised GISSA members that Geomatics Indaba 2016 will be hosting  a special ICA stream covering map production and geoinformation management, and called for GISSA members to submit papers in support of this track. Papers can be submitted for the peer-reviewed track or for the general paper track.

Following on from this Helena Fourie from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s National Spatial Information Framework gave an informative talk on mapping principles, map templates and cartographic standards. She explained that a map is a graphic means of communicating some aspect of the real world’s natural and/or artificial phenomena to a specific group of users on a suitable medium. She followed this up with an explanation of the cartographic standards used by various organisations including the DRDLR’s National Geo-spatial Information directorate, the International Hydrographic Organisation, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).

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Students from the University of Pretoria presenting on their mapping projects

Esri South Africa’s Lawrence Keefe then took to the podium to talk about story maps which are a combination of maps, photos, text and other media in a single interactive application. He did this by taking the audience through the story map of Hubertha the hippo, who in 1928 became a minor celebrity as she travelled across KwaZulu-Natal, via Durban’s West Street, down to the Eastern Cape where she was shot by a farmer. Keefe explained that story maps are ideal for public outreach programmes, stakeholder engagement and GIS project presentations, and provided details on how to get started on building a story map.

Next up was Sammy Katumba from the Gauteng City Region Observatory (GCRO) who told the story of his organisation via one of their popular outputs, the Map of the Month. He explained that the GCRO uses GIS to analyse and visualise data in innovative ways, and provided details on a selection of its more popular map outputs including the 2014 provincial election results, the Census 2011 Cartogram, and the AfriGIS Matrix Businesses. Katumba added that there are unlimited ways to analyse and visualise data, and that the focus of the Map of the Month product is on simple well-designed maps.

Then it was the chance of students from the University of Pretoria to provide details on their web mapping projects. These included mapping the informal settlement of Alaska in Mamelodi and providing GIS solutions that could be used by municipal emergency services and community organisations to facilitate emergency response services, and by the community to facilitate optimal access to healthcare facilities. As part of their project, the students were required to create at least one map, a 3D model, a web mapping application, and a blog discussing their project and the challenges encountered.

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Lourens van Zyl, Mlondolozi Ncapayi, Jannie Dry, and Samuel Osei.

In line with the meeting’s IMY theme, GISSA Gauteng hosted a map competition for its members with prizes sponsored by Aciel Geomatics. The entries received were evaluated according to the map’s purpose, its ability to reach its target audience, design criteria such as colour use, symbology, scale and projections as well as readability and the map’s overall impression. The winners of the competition were revealed during the course of the meeting:

First place was awarded to Mlondolozi Ncapayi whose map shows the extent of the Mponeng Gold Plant, areas of responsibility, facilities and activities within the plant with the aim being to orientate the audit team and assist them their planning and resource requirements.

Second place went to Lourens van Zyl who compiled a map for a friend going on an expedition to the Himalayas which will enable the expedition team to orientate themselves along the route. The map had to be as small as possible to fit in to a jacket pocket, and was designed on A4 to be folded three times so the final product is 21,0 x 9,9 cm in size.

Third place was given to Jannie Dry who created a map on a Super A0 paper format to provide clients with an overview of the City of Tshwane’s jurisdiction.

The winners’ maps can be viewed here.

Last but by no means least, the meeting focused on the topic of job reservation for GISc Practitioners. GISSA Gauteng Chairperson, Samuel Osei, took the delegates through the reference document that had been compiled by the task team on the various roles that could possibly be reserved for GIS technicians, technologists and professionals under the proposed job reservation policy. He also undertook to email the document to all GISSA Gauteng members so that they could have a thorough look at it and provide feedback to the committee, which would then be passed on to GISSA National Council which is responsible for preparing the final proposed document and presenting it to the minister.

See more photos from the gallery here

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