Directorate: Research Support Services
Geographic Information System (GIS) Unit
The GIS unit is a component of Research Support Services in the Research and Technology Development Services (RTDS) Programme.
Apart from undertaking and supporting research needs in RTDS, the GIS provides a broad range of functions and services, many of which are transversal in nature. We work in a very dynamic and fast-evolving field which also encompasses technologies such as Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) mapping, Spatial Web and dashboard development and the development of various spatial models and analytical tools. We also manage and provide access to a newly established weather-monitoring network spread across the province – one of the recommended actions emanating from the SmartAgri Programme.
The GIS at WCDoA had its origins in the mapping of natural and agricultural resources – strongly focused on soils, climate, water, vegetation and agricultural activities. Whilst these still comprise a large part of our activities and spatial database, the scope of GIS and its spatial data has become all-encompassing, having being identified as a key (and mandated) component of national development planning at all levels of government. To this end the GIS unit manages and provides access to the detailed land use data from the WCDoA “Flyover” – a detailed field-level observation census of cultivated land conducted every 4 to 5 years, indicating the “footprint” of agriculture in terms of crops and infrastructure. We work closely with other provincial departments, as well as liaising with national Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. We are also required to conform to the requirements of national spatial legislation specific to governmental GIS facilities and operations.
The GIS unit is nominally structured into two overarching (and often overlapping) focus areas:
- The Research and Development component, focused on developing spatial technologies, undertaking research projects and analytics leveraging the application of GIS and associated technologies for agriculture. This component guides the strategic development of WCDoA’s agricultural GIS in the Department and province. (Dr Mike Wallace)
- The GIS Services component, providing support to a wide range of stakeholders, clients and government officials, often on an ad-hoc This support can be in the form of maps, Web applications, data extraction and analysis – and even rapidly deployed spatial apps and dashboards, where appropriate. (Francois Koegelenberg).
- We have 2 GIS Technicians at Elsenburg (Liezl McKenzie and Ronelda Jacobs) and 2 GIS Operators working from Worcester and Bredasdorp respectively (Wilanie de Villiers and Esther Wessels).
The unit is responsible for the maintenance and development of the formidable and ever-growing provincial spatial database. Many of our key datasets are made available for viewing in the popular CapeFarmMapper application which also provides limited analytical and mapping capabilities to stakeholders.
Information at a glance – please contact the department on: