About DESA

Digital Earth South Africa (DESA) aims to leverage emerging technologies to deliver a unique capability to store, manage, process, interrogate, and persistently distribute SANSA’s 30-year archive of Earth observation data in readily usable formats that further promote its usefulness in addressing a range of societal challenges. DESA will provide users with standardized, and easily accessible satellite data that allows for immediate analysis with a minimum of additional user effort.

Human settlements mapping
Agricultural mapping
  • Earth observations data and information collected about our planet, whether atmospheric, oceanic, or terrestrial.
  • Earth observations enable decision makers to better understand the challenges they face, to shape more effective policies.
  • Earth Observation data is therefore a powerful tool that provides necessary evidence to support sustainable development.
  • Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as cloud computing, data cubes, machine learning and Analysis Ready Data standards are being employed globally to deliver Earth observations more efficiently to a wide range of decision makers.

The products and services derived from DESA will allow governments, scientists, businesses, and citizens to efficiently produce and use information to provide insights for land planning, agriculture, water and environmental management, security, disaster response, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and resource management.
DESA thus turns raw satellite Earth observation data into actionable easy to use data for the development of decision-making information products that support the implementation and achievement of the National Development Plan, Agenda 2063, and the Sustainable Development Goals targets.

DESA Vision

Have DESA as a primary platform for pre-processed Earth Observation data that will be accessible to government stakeholders within the Earth Observation community.

DESA Mission

Develop the framework for communications that provides access to information to engage DESA’s various audiences while developing internal communications capacity.

DESA is the innovative service of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA)

SANSA Mandate

The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) has a legislative mandate for the acquisition, archiving, processing, and dissemination of satellite imagery, to enable the development of data and information products for the use and benefit of the public sector and the Earth observation community. SANSA is further required to use this mandate to stimulate the development an innovative South African industry delivering Earth observation products and services. The SANSA mandate is founded on the objectives of the National Space Policy, National Space Strategy, and the National Earth Observation Strategy.
DESA aims to translate the over 30 years of archived Earth observation satellite imagery and newly acquired imagery, obtained from both commercial and open public satellites that image the 1.2 million square kilometer land mass of South Africa, SADC countries and other African countries, into actionable information for addressing government priorities and environmental management.
DESA data is derived from two satellites, SPOT and Landsat scenes and processed into Analysis Ready Data (ARD) level and then ingested into the Data Cube.