Thursday, January 17, 2008

Invitation to Workshops for the Finalisation of the National Land Cover Class Definition for South Africa

Background: The purpose of the Chief Directorate of Surveys and Mapping (CDSM) of South Africa is to provide accurate, up to date and accessible national mapping and other geo-spatial, Earth imagery, integrated spatial reference framework in support of the national infrastructure and sustainable development, as mandated by the Land Survey Act, 1997 (Act No. 8 of 1997), to enhance planning and monitoring of land reform, national infrastructure and sustainable development, nationally and regionally.

Land cover and land cover change information is of strategic importance for the formulation of policies regarding natural resource management. A wide range of government departments, conservation agencies and large companies are users of this information. Two national Land Cover mapping exercises were undertaken between 1994-1996 and 2000-2003 and were driven by a consortium between the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and CDSM with various other stakeholders from industry. These projects could only materialise after concluding a lengthy funding exercise so that a sustainable and consistent land cover classification over time could be assured over the next few years.

Purpose Of Workshops: CDSM is expanding its national mapping initiatives to include programmatic land cover classification and deliver land cover products at predefined intervals and with consistent and defined standard.

CDSM has started to define classes that will be classified for a new generation of land cover products based on the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Land Cover Classification System (LCCS). Formulation of a LCCS classification tree for South Africa will be the first step in the class translation. Following this, the National Land Cover Legend as described in the South African National Standard 1877 (SANS) will be translated indicating the class leaf in the LCCS hierarchical tree, that a 1877 class and subclass will fall into. This is particularly relevant as the LCCS is adopted as international standard for a range of international land cover projects ranging from the Global Land Cover Network (GLCN), Global Observation of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD), GMES GEOLAND and CORINE.

The remaining classes still need to be translated and defined during workshops incorporating technical experts on land cover classification and a wide user community. CDSM has given the facilitation of these workshops out for tender, which was awarded to the Satellite Applications Center (SAC). Two staff members of SAC, namely Mr. Alex Fortescue and Mr. Wolfgang Lück will facilitate the workshops.

Outcomes Of Workshops:
# A detailed report on the outcomes of each meeting will be drafted by the facilitator SAC.

# Recommendations on the final classes suitable for 1:50 000 mapping in terms of potential users per class, suitable data for the extraction of a class, thematic accuracy to be expected, required budget for national mapping, suitable classification methods for the extraction of a class will be made.



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