The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. It undertakes directed research and development for socio-economic growth.

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Earth observation

Ecosystems provide critical services to human societies and need to be maintained and enhanced. Some of these services include water, fibre, biodiversity, food, and support functions such as reduction of risks to assets and people. Ecosystem services face a number of threats including resource overuse and depletion, alien species invasion and climate change. Our environment is spatial in nature but often decisions about the environment are taken with limited spatially explicit information. Information derived from satellite images is a key tool responding to the decision-making challenges presented by resource management.

The CSIR’s Earth Observation research group conducts regional assessments of the state and dynamic of terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems as well as its services.

The group seeks to:

  • Develop new and/or improved products and applications combining in a novel manner existing and new sensor technologies and in-situ data; this includes algorithm development, calibration/validation and integration of multi-source and multi-sensor field/airborne/satellite approaches;
  • Develop end-to-end systems, operationalisation of earth observation applications; processing chain and product dissemination;
  • Support stakeholders in the integration and use of earth observation products in their existing monitoring needs, processes, and decision-making systems; and
  • Contribute to the training of remote sensing scientists in South Africa.

Key national stakeholders

  • National and provincial government: Department of Environmental Affairs, Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, Department of Water and Sanitation, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, the South African Biodiversity Institute, and various local agencies.
  • Department of Science and Technology Space Grand Challenge, South African National Space Agency, South African Group on Earth Observations and various initiatives such as the National Space Program and the development of South African Earth Observation Satellites.
About this section
Overview: Natural Resources & the Environment
Overview: Ecosystems
Meet our research leaders
Brochures and fact sheets
Contact details
Research groups
Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Earth observation
Ecosystem processes and dynamics
News and events
Institutionalising a GSDI at the CSIR (Position IT)
Earth-Observation Summit Endorses Global Data Sharing (Science)
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