South Africa National Space Agency’s (SANSA) Satellite has been deployed in the fight against Covid-19. President Cyril Ramaphosa disclosed plans to use satellite data in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative will be aided by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
In an interview, the Managing Director of Earth Observation, SANSA, Andiswa Mlisa said, “One of our approaches of dealing with COVID-19 is to ensure that existing SANSA products and services are accessible to (the) government through the CSIR’s #COVID19 Information Centre. We are part of the entities that are working with the CSIR on the coordinated response by the National System of Innovation (NSI) and the Department of Science and Innovation”.
This initiative will make use of the Earth observation data generated by SANSA, to access human settlements and water bodies, which are important datasets in tackling the pandemic. In conjunction with the Department of Human Settlements, this looks at the ”de-densification of informal settlements to reduce overcrowding, and also to provide water to those settlements,” according to a Remote Sending Scientist at Sansa, Nale Mudau.
Also, the Department of Small Business Development intends to know how far wholesalers are from Spaza shops to enable the government to know how to help them. To tackle this, SANSA has developed an app, in spite of the lockdown, to help locate Spaza shops.
Andiswa Mlisa hopes that this program can address the problems caused by the pandemic, while also curbing the spread of the virus.
“At the end, we want to develop a decision-support tool with all this information for small business, air quality, human settlements and traffic. It should be put into a portal where users can access that information with the necessary analysis to make decisions,” says Mudau.