News in 2019

Shifting the Paradigm in Africa
Africa Regional Network Meeting 2018

Gaborone, Botswana, 17-19 November 2018

The Botswana Institute of Surveyors hosts: 
Africa Regional Network conference on Geo-Spatial Technology Impacts in Africa, and
The first Africa Young Surveyors meeting

Participants at the ARN Meeting

President Jakoba Kgopolelo of the Botswana Institute of Geomatics (BIG) led the Annual Africa Regional Network Capacity Development workshop 17th – 19th October 2018, at the Tlotlo Hotel and conference Centre in Gaborone, Botswana.  With the workshops facilitated by FIG Vice President Diane Dumashie and partnering with Carsten Bjornsson (ESRI Southern Africa). 

Importantly the conference was preceded by the 1st African Young Surveyors meeting, that sought to deliberate on their own administrative issues; but also crucially a one day workshop titled: “Fitting Africa’s Needs: The Young Surveyors in a Smart World”, coordinated by Kwabena Asiama, Lore kelvin Sepeetsi, and Sam Kingsley.   

The conference focus was on the African Geomatics profession and the impacts of ever changing geospatial technologies, how they can be utilised to best contribute to the challenges and opportunities of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), particularly addressing Goal 11; ‘Make cities inclusive, safe- resilient and sustainable’.

The ARN workshop brought together a record 100 land professionals drawn from Botswana professional Association and also a range of professionals from the FIG family from across the continent including a particularly large contingent from Zimbabwe (great to see you all!), as well as attendees from West and Southern Africa.
The conference was coordinated by BIG President, Jakoba Kgopolelo, Lopang Maphale and Olebogeng Molefhi.  The afternoon participatory workshops were designed by Vice President Diane Dumashie who facilitated the training workshop assisted by Carsten Bjornsson (ESRI Southern Africa).

A highlight was the opening morning’s key note from the Mr Tshepo Mophuting the Deputy Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation services, he highlighted the important role of the private sector working with government, emphasising the government’s ambition to continue to engage.  Lopang Maphale acting as master of ceremonies, introduced key notes from Jakoba Kgopolelo, and Diane Dumashie [key note presentation]

Left Picture: President Jakoba Kgopolelo (BIG), and on his left Mr Tshepo Mophuting the Deputy Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation services. Group Picture on right.

Ultimately we know that as land professionals there is a need to shift our own paradigm of skills and working; we understand the need to act to ensure our relevance in the fast changing technological world. 

The framework to achieve the deliberations used interactive panel discussions that stimulated and set the conference scene, complimented by some remarkable presentations, and followed by participatory workshop, we  explored the need to shift- understood our context- thought how we engage- and importantly how we may deliver geospatial technologies.   

The conference unfolded with a dynamic plenary session on the role of African government in advancing Geospatial Technologies that are fit for purpose.  Our panellists: Peter Newmarch, Abednico Maphuru, Carsten Bjornsson, Chris Williams-Wynn provided a platform for lively debate.

Day 1 Panellist in plenary

Day 2 Panellist addressing the room in plenary

In the afternoon group work, we unpacked the question “As a profession do we do enough to be part of this [smart city] reality?” 

With enthusiasm and momentum created from the previous day, the conference went straight into progressing our deliberations further, with an opening plenary focusing on shifting the paradigm to develop African Smart Cities and Communities.  The panellist included Diane Dumashie, Jakoba Kgopolelo, Maje-Maje and Muhammad Mansur Kabir. Who all provided thought leadership in what it means to develop and plan smart cities.

Group work Day 1 & 2

The afternoon workshop sought to address the second question “What is the shift required in our profession?

To stimulate our thinking, Carsten Bjornsson (ESRI Southern Africa) providing a detailed presentation designed to excite, prompt and engage our thoughts.  Armed with this thought provoking knowledge, in their groups participants designed ‘rapid’ infographics to illustrate what shift is required in our profession as it relates to City themes such as transportation (intelligent road networks, connected cars and public transport), public utilities (smart electricity, water and gas distribution), education, health and social care, emergency services, and public safety.

Carsten Bjornsson (ESRI Southern Africa)

The workshop outcome: Engaging and participation is an important design feature of the ARN workshops, accordingly our deliberation steered us to the question,  “Are we being smart enough, about being smart?  Concluding that we could get better if we ensure

  • To be clear in our messaging and articulating our skills to public and civic society and also our own professions!
  • To Keep our skills relevant with continuous professional development

BIG organised a further day tour to the Department of Surveys and Mapping (Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation services) kindly hosted by Abednico Maphuru, Deputy Director. The department staff generously gave their time to show the group, the Botswana modern project, LAPCAS (Improvement of Land Administration, Procedures, Capacity and Systems in Botswana) to see the department structure and processes, the cadastral information systems and the land information system plot and Plan module.  This was very much appreciated and interesting.

Over the three days we deliberated, discussed, delved deep into geospatial technology impacts- to truly question ourselves and the shifting paradigm that we face.  But it was not all work, BIG also organised play- with an end of conference treat to visit the Mololodi Nature Reserve where BIG hosted a special traditional braai and a fantastic sunset game drive to view giraffe, zebra, deer, roe buck and a tortoise!

"Department of Surveys and Mapping Entrance

Abednico Maphuru Deputy Director and Diane Dumashie, Vice President FIG

Mololodi Nature Reserve

A big and heartfelt thank you to the Botswana Institute of Geomatics, they truly held a memorable round up to the 2015- 2018 ARN Term, for which I and the network are grateful.  My sincere thanks to, President Jakoba Kgopolelo, his team, Molefhi, Lopang, Emma and Lone and those other behind the scenes with whom we have not met.   And sincere thanks to our corporate member ESRI-Southern Africa who without their support both financially and with cutting edge content enabled a highly successful workshop. 

President Jakoba presenting Vice President Diane with her gift

The event ended with a welcome to Jennifer Whittal (UCT) as our new ARN chair, supported by Peter Newmarch (President SAGI).  I am pleased to hand over such a strong network,  It has been a wonderful to make new friends, meet existing friends and make new ones, and I look forward to seeing it grow from strength to strength.

Full details of this workshop may be found on the ARN website


Dr Diane Dumashie FRICS
FIG Vice President, Chair Africa FIG Regional Development Network 2015-18

March 2019