The National Earth Observations and Space Secretariat (NEOSS/the Secretariat) provides coordination and mobilisation support for South Africa’s Earth observations (SA-GEO), Satellite navigations (SA-GSN) and communications (SAGSC) communities, and provides the connection between the community, the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), regional Africa Group on Earth Observations (AfriGEO) and the global GEO and GEOSS, International Committee on GNSS and any other relevant international bodies.

NEOSS targets all the users of Earth Observations and space information and data particularly,

  • The decision and/or policy makers and officials across government spheres (national, provincial, local and municipality and district)
  • The Academia, researchers, and scientist that perform Earth Observations and space related assessments and analyses.
  • The Commercial sector that uses or need the required EO and data to develop market related applications, products, and solutions.
  • The Individuals and institutions that utilise EO products and services for various needs.

NEOSS advocates, promotes, and facilitates collaboration and networking of the Earth observations and space community in South Africa with the aim of accomplishing multiple national goals.


To be an effective and efficient secretariat and co-ordination initiative to the Earth observations, satellite communications and navigations community of South Africa.


A sustained, vibrant, collaborative, and well-coordinated Earth observations and space user community in South Africa that:

  • Has open and affordable access to EO, space and other spatial data.
  • Operationally uses the EO, space and other spatial data in daily pursuits of mandates and for evidence-based decision making.
  • Collaborates on systems development and ICT infrastructure establishment around EO and space.
  • Has sufficient skills, capacity, and competencies to exploit fully the advantages of EO and space.
  • Develops and uses innovative technologies, models, systems, algorithms, and applications for societal benefit.
  • Is actively involved in GEO and its GEOSS, AfriGEO and other EO and space related international frameworks.

Frequently asked questions

What is Earth Observations?

Earth observation is the gathering of information about planet Earth’s physical, chemical and biological systems. It involves monitoring and assessing the status of, and changes in, the natural and man-made environments.

In recent years, Earth observation has become more and more sophisticated with the development of remote-sensing satellites and increasingly high-tech in-situ instruments. Today’s Earth observation instruments include floating buoys for monitoring ocean currents, temperature and salinity; land stations that record air quality and rainwater trends; sonar and radar for estimating fish and bird populations; seismic and Global Positioning System (GPS) stations; and over 60 high-tech environmental satellites that scan the Earth from space.

Earth observation is now more important than ever due to the dramatic impact that modern human civilisation is having on the global environment.

What are Examples of the Kinds of Earth Observations?

There are many different kinds of Earth observations. A few examples:

  • a birdwatcher’s notes on bird sightings
  • numerical measurements taken by a thermometer, wind gauge, ocean buoy, altimeter or seismograph
  • photographs
  • radar and sonar images
  • analyses of water or soil samples
  • processed information such as maps or forecasts
Why are Earth Observations Important?

Human civilisation is having an increasingly powerful influence on the Earth system. Earth observations are invaluable for assessing and mitigating the negative impacts. They can also be used for exploiting new opportunities, such as the sustainable management of natural resources. Some specific applications of Earth observations include:

  • forecasting weather
  • tracking biodiversity and wildlife trends
  • measuring land-use change (such as deforestation)
  • monitoring and responding to disasters, including fires, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis
  • managing energy sources, freshwater supplies and agriculture
  • addressing emerging diseases and other health risks
  • predicting, adapting to and mitigating climate change

Meet the team

Lulu's photo

Lulu Makapela

Strategic Programmes contracts Manager, Hosted National Programmes - NEOSS
Christelle Taylor

Christelle Taylor

Group Assistant - Hosted National Programmes -NEOSS | Business Excellence and Integration
Kwanele Ngongoma photo

Kwanele Ngongoma

Junior System Administrator - Hosted National Programmes -NEOSS