GeoRabble Cape Town #1 Event Wrap

The first Cape Town GeoRabble event, sponsored by AAM Group, took place on Wednesday evening at the Mowbray Golf Club in Cape Town. Approximately 20 people from various industry spheres including government, academia, engineering, geo consulting, software development and internet start-ups attended the night.

The nights speakers in action.
The nights presenters in action.

We started at 18h00 with a short welcome and all round introductions, followed by the first presentation delivered by Chris Tanner, titled 3D Modelling. He provided the audience with an amazing bird’s eye view on the level of detail and accuracy that can be achieved in 3D models created by combining aerial photography and LiDAR data. This was followed by another 3D orientated topic titled, Low-cost 3D mapping of an urban environment using Structure from Motion , presented by Sebastien Wenger. Mike Steyn entertained the audience with a summarised view into the past, current and future development in GIS through a presentation topic titled; The Moore’s affect in GIS. This thought provoking presentation highlighted the rapid growth in technology in general and how the geo world is following this trend. The last formal presentation was delivered by Chlodwik Rossouw who asked the question, Is GIS a profession or a tool? He highlighted the different uses of geo tools, technologies & skills across a variety of industry sectors and how industry specific knowledge is affecting our industry. Both Mike and his topics urged people to keep an inclusive and not exclusive mind set and therefore stay aware of what is happening outside of their own geo realm and to keep moving with technological and industry advances.

The night was concluded with quite a few open discussions on how we can build on this first GeoRabble Cape Town event in order for it to appeal to the wider geo community.  This successful first night was concluded by more general discussions, networking, food and drink.

Thank you greatly for all who attended, plus AAM Group for sponsoring the event! … until next time.

Inaugural African GeoRabble – Wrap-up

The inaugural African GeoRabble was hosted by the University of Pretoria and sponsored by AAM Africa. Over 30 GeoRabblers from industries spanning education, government, private and non-profit were treated to geoinspired talks from academic and private industry leaders.

First up was Peter Schmitz who shared on how GIS is being used to solve complex crime mysteries.

Peter was followed by Marius van der Merwe who unpacked “cloud computing in plain English”, how it affects the GIS community in a world that demands information at their fingertips. A truly inspiring look into the future of GIS applications and data storage, dissemination and analysis!

Marius van der Merwe
Marius van der Merwe: part of his slide deck, or is the MC telling him time’s up? (photo: Roger Blewett)


From the cloud to the sun, Samy Katumba exposed rabblers to Geoapplications in renewable energy mapping and how solar energy is being used to “em-power” African communities in remote locations.

Stuart Martin took GeoRabblers down a walk on memory lane using imagery. His interactive talk titled “looking beyond the picture” captured moment’s history and how through further thought one can extract more than meets the eye.

Before we knew it, Victoria Rautenbach was in the spotlight shedding insights into spatial cognition and perception. Victoria shed light on how GIS and gaming is demystifying gender stereotypes in spatial perception.

Thanks to the South African GeoRabble team for their commitment in making this first event a huge success. We look forward to many such events throughout South Africa in the years to come. Off to Cape Town we go. To register, visit

GeoRabble Perth #7 Event Wrap

GR7Perth_crowdWith a roll of the dice, the evening kicked off to an exciting start with speaker Kate Raynes-Goldie who brought the world of community game design to the GeoRabble stage. GeoRabblers got a glimpse into how location plays an important role in the construct of community games where play involves people gathering in locations or moving across them. Examples were given of “Gentrification” and Paparazzi; the latter of which was a GPS driven cat-and-mouse game of ambushes, paranoia and scandalous photos; drawing a link with the (perhaps) more familiar ‘game’ of geocaching. A “Community Games” workshop will be held at SpaceCubed in July, for those interested in learning about game design.

Next up on the GeoRabble mic was Erwin Vos, who delighted GeoRabble crowd with pretty pictures and anecdotes of jobs gone-past (including a stint as a sous-chef at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics); with, of course, more onus on the pretty pictures! Passionate about imagery, Erwin describe the multitude of opportunities that exist for interpreting, analysing and using imagery; from detecting houses with poor insulation through to detecting land use change. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination (and knowledge of imagery components and techniques)!

The night’s mystery speaker was then (in dramatic drum rolling excitement) unveiled: Andy Waddington! Well, perhaps not in such dramatic fashion, but you get the idea. An experienced FIG/IHO Cat A Hydrographer (not sure what all those letters mean, but I’m sure they’re awe-inspiring!), Andy spoke about the charting of marine areas and sailed us through the methodologies carried out in the past (“There be dragons” was, once upon a time, a sufficient enough map indicator), those at present and those potentially used in the future. Andy also spoke about how charting now involves less dangerous voyages into areas to be charted (thanks to the power of spatial technologies such as lidar) but that in turn curtailing decisions had to made on aspects such how much area to survey or how much detail to capture. In the context of this, Andy stressed the importance of being able to know when to reuse data and gather as much information as possible from what was available.

Back on dry land, Liz Marjot was the next speaker of the night and spoke about a WA program called Spatial Technology in Schools (STIS). Liz described how the program came into being and the importance of spatial education for youth today. In particular, Liz spoke about how the interaction with spatial technology can spark interest and passion in geography and mapping, which oftentimes is lacking in a traditional classroom setting. Giving examples of some student projects, Liz described how powerful GIS can be in an applied setting in engaging students and encouraged us all to participate in bringing geospatial technology to the youth of today.

Leading on, Shane French spoke to GeoRabblers about the transition of a corporate GIS from a commercial software environment to an open source one; and gave an insightful and honest comparison of the similarities and differences, and the ups and downs encountered along the way (and did a great job of sticking to GeoRabble manifesto by not mentioning any product names!). It was a great overview for those pondering the change and implications it could have.

Last, but not, least GeoRabblers were treated to unique presentation by Hai Tran who spoke about drones and use of them to capture spatial data in a variety of contexts; from constructing aerial panoramic views of landmarks, to monitoring agricultural land, to capturing imagery to assist in the search for a missing Canadian bushwalker. Hai also spoke about the benefits of using drones: the low cost, the ease of deployment and processing; but also the diversity of use – how the drone’s payload can accommodate all sorts of devices for data capture. Though, for those enthusiasts out there, Hai did mention that being able to fly drones of this calibre did require a license (and permission from airport(s) to fly in certain areas).

GeorabblePerth_630Many thanks to GeoRabble team for organising the event, to the speakers of the night, to the great MC David Brady and to the event sponsors: AAM.

GeoRabble happens in various locations around Australia, is free and open to anyone, but frequently sells out.  If you would like to talk at a future Perth GeoRabble event, please send an email with the title and a short description to