Lee Annamalai

LAnnamalai_The Space/ICT convergence: Improved spatial awareness and African geospatial innovations

Lee Annamalai
Annamalai manages the CSIR’s Earth observation information and communications technology (ICT) systems group. He has a Master’s in engineering from the University of Pretoria and was part of the team that developed the South African Space Strategy. He is an inaugural board member of the South African National Space Agency.

About the talk: As human beings we perceive the world not as it is, but as we are, and the manner in which we resolve this perception problem is through measurement. As remote sensing or Earth observation scientists, we understand this. We understand that measurement of the world, and of the Earth system, is critical to bring into clear perspective the changes that are going on around us. Our ability to understand the world, to measure and change perceptions is now facing a new challenge, which is a challenge of data – how to draw insights, to forecast and to act on the exabytes of data being delivered to us at ever-increasing velocity from thousands of satellites and millions of sensors.

The paradigm shift that is upon us is that traditional remote sensing and spatial analysis, the purview of geographers and environmental scientists, are changing into an ICT solution space. It is now widely accepted that remote and in-situ sensing is an important pillar of the information society. The associated information processing, algorithm development, innovative analytical techniques and management philosophies associated with large data sets must therefore also be invested in, in order to keep pace with the advances made in sensing capabilities.

Annamalai will discuss trends in ICT that have merged with Earth observation, one of the first big data generating fields, and how innovation in this space across the continent is leading to new operational information systems, giving rise to a smarter African continent.


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