South Africa’s new estuary information system

March 24th, 2019, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: PositionIT

The new South African Estuary Information System (SAEIS) and Database (SAED) can now be accessed at The SAEIS website currently accommodates information on 275 estuaries, as well as 2270 literary works and 3006 images. The new site follows a re-write to overcome problems that made the old website dysfunctional and unusable for many years.

The new South African Estuary Information System (SAEIS).

The new South African Estuary Information System (SAEIS).

In the early 2000s, a need was identified for a single repository of information, data and reports on estuaries. In 2007 an initiative by a group of estuarine scientists led to the 2008 national estuarine workshop in Grahamstown attended by various stakeholders including DEAT: MCM (now DEA, Oceans and Coasts and DAFF), DWAF (now DWA and DAFF), C.A.P.E. (CapeNature), Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, CSIR and SAEON. Further meetings followed which included various NGOs and leaders in the field of estuarine research followed in 2009. The source databases from CSIR and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife formed the foundation of the SAEIS and SAED. In 2010, Version 1.0 was developed in Microsoft Access. On 2 July 2012, SAEIS was officially launched at the South African Society of Aquatic Scientists (SASAqS) Symposium.

Much has changed since 2012, such as the new estuary classification system about to be published in 2019. There is a need to document these changes and update the data in the online system. On the technical side, the SAEIS website is read-only and the functionality of the standalone version needs to be implemented in the online version to add new and update old information. SAED, which allows archiving of data (open source or private) by organisations and individuals, needs revisiting and implementation.

Roadshows to meet with stakeholders are planned for early 2019. The main priority of these is to facilitate discussion on new features needed for the SAEIS website and renew data agreements with the various authors and institutions that provided information for the SAEIS.

The WRC report that details the South Africa Estuary Information System (SAEIS) and Database (SAED) is available online here.

Contact SAEON,

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