Development of Drought Monitoring
The Institute for Soil, Climate and Water (ISCW) of the South African Agricultural Research Council
(ARC) approached SiQ with the request to assist with the development of a stand alone application
that can be used to easily do spatial calculations, based on raster data received from various
The purpose of the system is to assist with drought monitoring in the region, as part of a collaborative
effort between inter alia the Agricultural Research Council, the National Department of
Agriculture, the South African Weather Services and the European Organisation for the Exploitation
of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).
Data input into the system is obtained from various sources including the EUMETSAT’s Meteosat
– 8, second generation satellite, as well as SPOT vegetation index data. The data is received and
pre-processed by the ARC after which it is stored in various file formats for distribution to the users.
A user friendly import mechanism assists the users with the importation of the data into the
ESRI software was used as the underlying Geographic Information System (GIS) engine, and the
graphic user interface was custom developed.
The system was designed to be user friendly and to lead the user through the process of doing
the calculation, so that it can be distributed to users (i.e. descisionmakers) that are not normally
Geographic Information System (GIS) power users.
The user has the ability to run various modelling calculations on the system, for example to obtain
a spatial location map of areas where the rainfall for a specific period was more, or less, (by
a certain amount) than the long term average for that area etc.
Once the calculation has been done the output can be presented in a report format for ease of
This output can then for example be used to show areas of intense drought, that may lead to possible
food insecurity issues.