SARAO and SANSA successfully launch beta version of Digital Earth South Africa

SARAO and SANSA staff members celebrated the launch of the beta version of the Digital Earth South Africa (DESA) platform on Friday, 28 October 2022.

SARAO in collaboration with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) successfully launched the beta version of the Digital Earth South Africa (DESA) platform on Friday, 28 October 2022.

SANSA collaborated with SARAO to develop DESA leveraging SANSA’s remote sensing skills and SARAO’s high performance computing and large scale data storage skills. SARAO provided the data cube as a service to SANSA which included project management, systems engineering, architecture design and all the storage and hardware requirements.

Apiwe Hotele, SARAO Senior Commercialisation Specialist was the project leader for the project, leading the Science Data Processor team from SARAO and the Earth Observation team from SANSA to deliver DESA.

DESA translates over 30 years of archived Earth Observation (EO) satellite imagery and newly acquired imagery that covers 1.2 million square kilometre landmass of South Africa, SADC countries and other African countries. The system allows users to leverage the full geographic data analysis capabilities of Python using the JupyterHub computing framework. The availability of SANSA’s ARD data in this Python analysis environment creates a powerful and flexible platform for a variety of custom geospatial analysis applications. At the time of the launch, the platform had been tested by users from Eskom, National Geo-spatial Information (NGI), Stats SA and Department of Human Settlements.

The beta release of the Digital Earth SA platform will enable real world testing of the service by end users, allowing further optimisation and service development through user co-design.

During this project skills and knowledge acquired during the construction of a radio telescope were used to develop a fully functional image processing, ingest archiving, data access, sharing and application development platform.

The platform is available at https://desa.sansa.org.za/.

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