CSIR Receives eStation to Enhance EO Data for Environmental Management

eStation antenna installed at CSIR. Source: CSIR

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), through the Marine and Coastal Operations for Southern Africa (MarCOSouth) consortium, has received one of 12 Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) and Africa programmes eStations that enable access to critical earth observation (EO) data.

The installation of the European-funded and African Union-managed GMES and Africa programme eStation, completed in June 2021, will enable regional partners and various research, academic, and industry organisations access to EO data and the MarCOSouth portal to support the implementation of sustainable development policies at continental, regional and national levels.

According to the CSIR project manager for the MarCOSouth project, Riëtte Pretorius, “The e-Station is an operational distributable open-source data processing tool that aims to build and strengthen capacities in Africa to receive, process, analyse and exploit EO data for environmental management. The e-Station collects data from various sources that include, among others, the EUMETSAT and Copernicus services,”.

Copernicus is a European EO programme used to monitor the Earth using satellites and in-situ sensors. It provides accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security. EUMETSAT provides data, products and support services to the Copernicus information services and user communities, focusing on marine life, the atmosphere and climate.

The e-Station installation consists of an outdoor and indoor unit. The outdoor unit is an antenna that allows for the reception of the EUMETCast – Africa data. The indoor unit consists of an acquisition subsystem in the form of a personal computer that operates as the receiver of the EUMETCast data and an uninterrupted power supply and other necessary peripherals. The e-Station (a part of the indoor unit) consists of a personal computer responsible for the acquisition and processing of the data and one responsible for visualising and sharing the data.

“Each of the eStation computers has a EUMETCast key unit for the decryption data keys and the TelliCast software that allows for the decoding of frames and reconstruction of the files,” Pretorius further explained.

This project is part of GMES and Africa’s plan to install 12 eStations across 12 institutions in 11 African countries through the joint effort of the African Union (AU) and European Union Commissions to improve Africa’s sustainable development and serve African needs for quality environmental information.

For more information about the project, kindly contact Riëtte Pretorius.

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