Umvoto Newsletter 2014

December 10, 2014

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Frames of Reference

Umvoto Associate Richard Wonnacott attended the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) Reference Frames for Applications in Geodetic Science (REFAG ) 2014 symposium in Luxembourg from 13- 17 October. He did a presentation on The first AFREF (Africa Geodetic Reference Frame) static solution, co-authored with seven others. Africa Geodetic Reference Frame (AFREF) is a project to unify the geodetic reference frames of Africa using GNSS (GPS) as the primary observing technique.… Read the rest


November 4, 2014

Umvoto’s considerable GPS skills and time have been donated to an unusual project – to lay out the grid for a  land art team that is making  a snake eagle geoglyph in the Karoo. This is a large artwork etched into the landscape that is intended to raise awareness among those who walk and view it.… Read the rest

Umvoto expertise at UCT Summer School Extension

October 29, 2014

Paul Lee, Umvoto’s Senior Environmental Scientist and Climatologist, was recently   a guest lecturer at the University of Cape Town’s Summer School Extension programme (15 & 20 October). He described his experiences of living through the extremes of winter darkness during a year in Antarctica, isolated from the world while conducting scientific research.… Read the rest

Umvoto rises with the tide of Muizenberg development

June 4, 2014

The latest addition to the revival of the Muizenberg beachfront is a sensitively refurbished new headquarters for earth and water sciences consultancy Umvoto Africa. The double-storey former Toy Museum, situated at 8 Beach Road, was originally designed in 1916 by the architectural office of Herbert Baker, Kendall and Morris. Named Aeolia, it was a typical example of South African residential architecture by the firm of Sir Herbert Baker – a solid, sturdy, symmetrical H-plan building.… Read the rest

Oudtshoorn Water Project Wins Design Accolade

February 17, 2014

Oudtshoorn, capital of the Klein Karoo, has been linked to good design since the ostrich feather boom of the 1870s, with its flamboyant fashions and opulent palaces. This year, in a modern twist to the story, its municipal water project has been selected as part of World Design Capital 2014 (WDC2014).… Read the rest

(L to R) Umvoto Africa Associate Richard Wonnacott with Dr Chris Hartnady, Umvoto Africa Technical Director

Geodesy Guru joins Umvoto Africa

February 3, 2014

Water, energy and earth sciences consultancy Umvoto Africa’s expertise has got another boost with Richard Wonnacott, a geodesy specialist, joining the company as an Associate. The field of geodesy deals with the measurement and representation of the earth, including its gravitational field, in three-dimensional, time-varying space. Wonnacott spent much of his career with the Chief Directorate: National Geospatial information and Directorate of Survey Services. … Read the rest

Umvoto Africa amended wellhead following installation of pumping equipment

New wellhead for hydraulic tests of strong artesian boreholes

October 28, 2013

Artesian boreholes – which spontaneously discharge water without being pumped – are a common feature worldwide. However, the hydraulic testing of these boreholes, and estimating of aquifer properties (where groundwater occurs in reasonable quantities, it is referred to as an aquifer) are still challenging for hydrogeologists. Cape Town water and earth sciences consultancy Umvoto Africa is addressing this challenge with the development of a specially designed and constructed wellhead for the installation of the pump and monitoring equipment prior to the hydraulic test.… Read the rest

Umvoto GIS technician Alex Kuhudzai (back) discusses mapping with (left to right) Marshall Fusa, Vusani Tshilande, Admire Nhamo and Tawanda Mpofu.

Umvoto Africa updates SA dwelling and building structures inventory

October 21, 2013

Earth sciences consultancy Umvoto Africa is currently contributing to a project to update Eskom’s dwelling and building structures inventory. The project involves verifying previously captured points (dwellings and building structures) on SPOT 5 satellite imagery and capturing points or polygons (informal dense areas) that were not mapped previously. Umvoto is mapping parts of the Eastern, Western and Northern Cape, and parts of the Free State; other service providers research other provincial areas, for a project that covers the entire country.… Read the rest

Umvoto at University of Turin

Umvoto Africa presentation at Turin University

September 30, 2013

Staff and post-graduate students at the University of Turin, Italy, attended a seminar earlier this year on South Africa’s natural resources and their geo-ethical use. The speaker was Dr Chris Hartnady, technical director of Cape Town-based earth sciences consultancy Umvoto Africa. The event was organised by Umvoto in collaboration with Dr Marco Giardino, lecturer in Applied Geomorphology in the Department of Earth Sciences (Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra) and Elana Ochse, Associate Professor in the Department of Culture, Politics and Society at the University of Turin.… Read the rest

Capacity building for climate change in rural South Africa

September 26, 2013

Cape Town-based earth sciences and water consultancy Umvoto Africa is undertaking a two-year study funded by the Water Research Commission (WRC) to examine rural attitudes towards climate change and how they can increase their resilience. A pilot project, based on a series of community and local authority workshops, has focused on Tsengiwe village near Cala (four hours’ drive from East London) in the Eastern Cape.… Read the rest

SA disaster risk reduction expert judges $50 000 UN award

September 5, 2013

One of South Africa’s foremost disaster risk consultants, Rowena Hay (founder and MD of earth sciences consultancy Umvoto Africa) was recently one of four international judges of the United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Geneva, Switzerland. The $50 000 biannual award recognizes excellence in innovation, outreach and collaboration to improve the resilience of nations and communities to disasters.… Read the rest