Delivering South African solutions with spatial analytics

September 15th, 2019, Published in Articles: PositionIT

Using the power of spatial information and geospatial technology could help solve South African problems and deliver solutions.

South Africa is facing challenges on many levels. Poverty, crime, inequality, inefficiency and corruption are hampering the country’s social and economic development. The way to address these issues lies in understanding the causes, identifying innovative, cost-effective solutions and implementing them. Of course, it is easier said than done, but South Africans are always ready for a challenge. Besides, we have no choice.

Fig. 1: The Science of Where working to locate, visualise, and analyse potential risk.

While not all of South Africa’s problems can be solved by applying geospatial analysis, a significant proportion can be addressed. Examples include enhanced delivery of basic services, better disaster management, and improved management and utilisation of resources. Getting this alone right has great potential to improve the lives of many South Africans.

Unlocking understanding

In today’s connected, mobile world, location is a powerful and common reference point. By combining location information and datasets from various sources, patterns can be identified and new connections made to derive solutions that are not visible at first glance. Esri calls this “The Science of Where”.

The Science of Where is all about the power of geographical information. It is about using high-powered, high-performance mapping and spatial analytics capabilities to reveal where things are happening, or not happening, and to provide insight into the reasons behind it – the why. It can assist governments, organisations and businesses to optimise their workflows and enhance their effectiveness.

Visualising the results

The results derived from spatial analysis of a particular situation can be shared via interactive, real-time maps, visualisations, and dashboards. These information displays enable organisations and people to identify patterns amidst the seeming chaos, empowering them to derive workable solutions or services.

Operations dashboards, in particular, provide location-aware data visualisation and analytics for a real-time operational view of people, services, assets, and events. These enable decision-makers to view the activities and key performance indicators most vital to meeting their organisations’ objectives, allowing for more effective decision-making.

Developing spatial skills

Over the past 30 years, Esri South Africa has helped local organisations to deliver better solutions to their clients. The company aims to continue doing this and hope to use its technology to assist in addressing some of the challenges South Africa faces.

A crucial part of doing this involves empowering South Africans to work with spatial information. Esri South Africa does this by actively engaging with educators to develop the spatial awareness of learners. The company also has an ongoing internship programme, offers an industry aligned Geo-information Science and Technology (GISc&T) Diploma, and encourages life-long learning by providing training courses and exposure to the latest Esri technology.

Contact Esri South Africa, Tel 011 238-6300,

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