The COVID-19 pandemic has been described as the greatest challenge that the world has faced since the second world war. Its impact, in terms of both loss of life and reduced economic growth, has been devastating. South Africa, although at an early stage of the pandemic, is entering uncharted territory with increasing rates of infection. A key factor in the fight against the pandemic is the rapid availability of appropriate information in the hands of key decision makers. [caption id="attachment_5718" align="alignleft" width="504"] Gauteng informal settlements[/caption] The South African National Space Agency (SANSA), through its twin mandates to acquire, disseminate and distribute space based data and information for decision making, as well as coordinating the South African Space Sector, is aligning itself and the South African Space Sector’s capabilities and capacities towards the fight against COVID -19. The objective is to provide decision makers with relevant space derived spatial information and tools to support evidence based decision making in their efforts at implementing a national response to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

First of its kind industry body to grow South Africa’s geospatial sector When we think of space, we generally think of SciFi shows such as Star Trek, or humanity’s current plans to send manned missions to Mars. Most people don’t think about space as a business enabler, and yet that is exactly what it has become over the years. The convergence of earth observation, space navigation and positioning, telecommunications and location intelligence is generating massive opportunities for companies in every sector. Observing the Earth, location and geospatial intelligence have rapidly gravitated to the core of digitisation and innovation. In fact, the geospatial intelligence domain across the world is set to grow exponentially as more and more business data is integrated with location information across enterprise level functions. This rapid rate of growth can be accredited to the continuous technology advancements in the industry, the democratisation of geospatial information and integration with advancing digital technologies resulting in innovative business models such as Uber.