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Data disruption creates more opportunities for South Africa’s water-science experts

Over the last few decades, the water science community has felt the trembles, if not the actual sonic boom, of the approaching masses of new hydrogeological datasets. This influx is not only a result of high-performance computing (HPC), but also the technological advancements of highly sophisticated ground- and surface-water telemetry systems. Being acutely aware of ongoing developments, and as part of a three-year plan to develop our own database management systems, Umvoto has sought to retain its competitive edge on the international stage.

The database management system

Umvoto’s Database Management Team has combined a highly flexible SQL database management system with a variety of complex data processing tools, such as R and Python programming languages. Our ability to merge and manage a variety of previously isolated data-spheres, allows our scientists to draw intellectual insight from an extremely reliable data repository.

A diagram of approach to database management
Umvoto’s approach to database management follows good data practices and we are continually seeking ways to enhance our efficiencies throughout. From improving our data structures for better collection and collation, to creating integrated workflows and data processing streams with the aim of a centralised database that can be used by multiple users.

The goal of the database management system is to ensure interoperability across multiple data analysis tools and software’s. Our purpose-built dataflows have been intelligently designed to ensure data validation, data security, and most importantly data integrity. Tech-enabled features like these places data innovation at the centre of Umvoto’s offering to clients.

Through this initiative, Umvoto now manages structured datasets for over 500 monitoring sites both locally and internationally. These range from  Air Quality Surveillance and Geothermal Risk Mitigation for weather stations in Tulu Moye Geothermal Power Plant, Ethiopia; to hydrogeological monitoring data for City of Cape Town’s Table Mountain Group Aquifer (TMGA) ; Cape Flats Aquifer (CFA) the and the Atlantis Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and Water Treatment systems.

A diagram of Umvoto's streamlined dataflow
Streamlining workflows involves bring various sources of data together, soft copy(digital) and hard copy (on paper) datasets onto a single digital repository (a process often referred to as digitalisation). Once combined the datasets can be explored for veracity and value, with corrections made if required. This clean data can now be loaded into a central database management system, ensuring the distribution of high-quality data to end users

“It’s no surprise that data has somewhat surpassed the value of resources like gold and oil; as all businesses and industry verticals run on data. We at Umvoto understand this and know its imperative value for our clients. We will continue to strive to provide an informative and unparalleled data experience on all projects. The future of successful water resource management lies not only in the reliable collection of hydrogeological data, but also in the effective management thereof.” says Matthew Misrole, Junior Geologist.


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