UFH GIS & Remote Sensing HOD blasts off with SA Space Agency to Astronautical Congress in Paris

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The sky is certainly not the limit for Mr Phila Sibandze. The UFH Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing Senior Lecturer and HOD will be jetting off to Paris, France tomorrow where he will be representing the University at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) to be held from the 18th to 22nd of September.

In its 73rd year running, the congress by the French space agency offers a unique set of opportunities as the one place and time where all global space players come together.

Mr Sibandze’s participation resulted from an invitation from the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) to partner with the University at the Congress.

According to him, SANSA has secured a pavilion where the institute can showcase its capabilities in line with the theme of the Congress “Space for @ll”.

At the congress, Mr Sibandze will present two posters from two pieces of research done using cloud-based processing to: “investigate the impacts of the COVID-19 Lock-down on air quality in South Africa, the other one is: “Evaluation of crop farming, Post 1994 in Tyume Valley, Eastern Cape, South Africa, A Google Earth Engine Approach

His participation in the congress comes just a few months after he was appointed to two strategic positions in the SA space industry which are: Co-Chair of a Community of Practice (CoP) in the Circular Economy and Natural Resources Management and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Earth Observation Systems (CEOS) Working Group on Capacity Development and Data Democracy (WGCapD) held by the SANSA.

In an earlier interview, Mr Sibandze said he hoped his new roles in the space industry would enable him to understand and contribute to the changes within the space industry at local and international levels. “As an academic, I will be able to recognize the current and future industry needs which I can then use to shape our curriculum in the Department to ensure that our graduates are equipped with the necessary skills required by the industry,” he said.

Reach for the stars Mr Sibandze!