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Gavin gets on board to help fine-tune SAEON's observation data systems

"I’d like to be instrumental in getting SAEON to a point where most observations are easily discoverable, accessible, usable and most of all, are actually being used." - Gavin Fleming, SAEON Information Management Scientist
Gavin in action at SAEON’s first Summit in 2006. His presentation reviewed GIS in relation to SAEON's activities (Photo: Mitzi du Plessis)
SAEON Managing Director Johan Pauw (left) and former Mintek CEO Dr Paul Jourdan, with Gavin Fleming (seated), who facilitated the accession agreement between the two organisations (Photo: Mitzi du Plessis)
 

Gavin Fleming, who was recently appointed Information Management Scientist at SAEON on a contractual basis, is no stranger to the organisation.

Gavin has been involved with SAEON from various angles since the Network’s inception. As a GIS specialist at the CSIR and the Meraka Institute, he was instrumental in developing CoSAMP, which currently forms the basis of SAEON’s CoGIS data portal.

In 2006 he was invited to give a presentation at SAEON’s first Summit. The presentation, on ‘Geospatial Technologies and Geo-information Science for Persistent Environmental Monitoring', reviewed GIS in relation to SAEON's activities.

In January 2006 Gavin joined Mintek, South Africa's national mineral research organisation, as Senior GIS and Sustainable Development Researcher. In this capacity he was instrumental in facilitating an accession agreement between SAEON and Mintek aimed at strengthening environmental and socio-economic research in minerals processing and metallurgy.

Observation data that are easy to access and easy to use

Gavin will be working closely with Systems Engineer Wim Hugo who is driving the information and data system development of SAEON and SAEOS. Gavin describes the work done by SAEON in customising the CoSAMP portal for long-term environmental information management as "impressive, especially in its latest incarnation".

"Once the portal is fully developed our challenge will be in how extensively it is used and how users come to depend on it," says Gavin.

Gavin is looking forward to the challenges posed by his new position. "I support SAEON's objectives and find the analysis, technology and visualisation opportunities exciting," he explains.

"I will be aiming to visualise and analyse observation streams coming out of SAEON nodes and other sources, as well as pulling together a clearinghouse for marine and coastal data for the Nairobi Convention and ad hoc tasks to support node functions."

Another aspect of his involvement lies in helping to 'Sensor Web Enable' SAEON, in other words, to expose observations through standard web services.

Gavin’s main objective for his new position is to be instrumental in getting SAEON to a point where most observations are easily discoverable, accessible, usable and most of all, are actually being used. He notes that following SAEOS principles of interoperability and open source will be critical to this achievement.

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