Gauteng puts spotlight on SDIs, social media and CPD

July 29th, 2012, Published in Articles: PositionIT

Over 120 people attended the GISSA Gauteng  General Meeting held on 27 July 2012 at the Kempton Park Civic Centre. GISSA Gauteng chairperson Adrian Roos welcomed everyone and provided feedback on the activities of the GISSA Gauteng branch.

Marius van der Merwe, Antony Cooper, Adrian Roos and Wim Hugo

The first order of the day was a presentation on GISSA Ukubuzana 2012 by Dawn Newman and Slindi Mhlongo of the GISSA Ukubuzana Steering Committee. Newman reported that preparations for the conference were going well and that there had been a good response to the call for papers. She said the conference had an impressive line-up of keynote speakers and encouraged everyone to register for the conference. Mhlongo gave an update on the social media activities surrounding the conference and called on the delegates to follow the conference activities on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Prizes were handed out to the delegates who had “liked” the Facebook and LinkedIn pages and/or were following GISSA Ukubuzana on Twitter.

Daniel Sebake, Jacob Modiba and Sharon Cembi

Next on the podium was Mathews Makinta from Statistics South Africa who explained that StatsSA would like to create a new and improved Small Area Layer (SAL) to disseminate the 2011 census data. SAL is aimed at empowering government departments, municipalities, private businesses, NGOs, educational institutions and so on with the lowest geographic layer that will be linked to the census data to enable better planning and decision-making processes. He called on the delegates to fill in a survey ranking the list of census variables for the development of SAL according to their needs and to provide feedback on their experience of using SAL.

Marius van der Merwe from 28 East, then gave a presentation on Google Geospatial and the various Google Geo products explaining how they can be used as geospatial solutions across a variety of industries.  This was followed by a presentation on the various social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – given by Adrian Roos.

The highlight of the day was a presentation by Wim Hugo from SAEON who spoke about Extended Geospatial Data Infrastructures (XGDI), describing how their underlying fabric is a massive, open and liberalised meta-data resource that can be mined for new information and knowedge. During the course of his talk, Hugo emphasised that it is possible, desirable and in the public interest to ensure that scientific data is described properly, preserved properly and is discoverable.

Following this was a Q&A session on spatial data infrastructures (SDI)  led by Antony Cooper.  Cooper spoke on fostering collaboration in the GISc industry and explained the different concepts of user-generated content, volunteered geographic information and crowdsourcing.

Next up was Daniel Sebake from the Council for Geoscience, who spoke on “SDI challenges: real or imaginary hurdles”.  After explaining the concept and background of SDIs, Sebake expanded on some of the concerns regarding spatial data sharing. These included concerns about negative impacts on revenue streams; copyright issues, data privacy and data ownership; a lack of common data definitions, formats and models; and inadequate support from strategic management plans and policies. Sharon Cembi from African Nickel Limited also gave an interesting presentation comparing the commercial and open source geoscientific data management systems for geological exploration and mining.

The last presentation of the day dealt with PLATO’s Continuing Professional Development Programme (CPD) which came into effect on 1 June 2012. Adrian Roos explained that delegates needed to earn a minimum of 3 CPD points in a particular year and had to earn 20 points over a five-year period. He detailed how the CPD points could be earned and expanded on the many possible ways to earn CPD points including being a member of GISSA, attending GISSA meetings and conferences, assisting on the various GISSA committees, and attending and presenting at geospatial and industry-related conferences.

Contact Adrian Roos, GISSA Gauteng, Tel 011 231-1300,

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