SA’s space technology to help monitor worst drought in history

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Large areas of the country have been gripped by crippling drought, causing cattle to perish and crops to fail.

Scientists has estimated that this might be the worst drought that South Africa has seen in a very long time.

To offset the effects of the drought as much as they can, or at least be better prepared for the future, the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has created SANSA Drought Observatory (SANSA-DO).

The team has already been hard at work, monitoring agricultural drought through remote sensing data, various field indicators and satellite imagery. The idea behind the formation is to provide a comprehensive depiction of the drought phenomena and its adverse impacts on agriculture and food security.


“The team has developed a vegetation change visualisation showing the temporal and spatial progression of vegetation stress during the 2014/2015 growing cycle. The visuals are presented using animated maps which gives quick insight into the development of drought disaster currently being experienced across the country,” SANSA explains.

By creating SANSA-DO and making use of as such technology as possible to track and monitor droughts, the technology will help in taking immediate action while also identifying areas that are extremely affected. There is also a prevention angle to this, as it will be able to identify areas that are more prone to drought, which will naturally aid future planning and give farmers enough time to make the right decision.

“The technology has the ability to further provide an effective means for mapping the location, extent and changes of surface water over-time which will assist in assessing water availability across the country,” SANSA explained.

Charlie Fripp

Charlie Fripp

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.