New milestone reached for DEMSA2!

GeoSmart and the Centre for Geographical Analysis (CGA) at Stellenbosch University are proud to announce that the 2m resolution digital surface model of South Africa, DEMSA2, has now been extracted for 50% of South Africa (see yellow and green shades in map).

DEMSA2 coverage May 2018

Millions of processing hours were required to reach this critical milestone, which would not have been possible without the CGA’s in-house, high performance computing (HPC) cluster. The HPC, which was designed and implemented specifically for generating DEMSA2, consists of processing nodes configured and managed by software developed in-house. The CGA’s HPC, or geoHPC, is different from most other HPCs in that each node is configured to handle very large geographical datasets. Each node is configured with a four-core Xeon CPU, 16GB RAM and 2TB storage space to handle (extract and merge) up to 1700 partially overlapping DEM tiles at a time.

Before DEMSA2 can be released, it must go through rigorous manual (visual) quality-checks. Errors are flagged and corrected by a small team of dedicated and experienced operators. This is a very time-consuming process and, to date, about 23% of DEMSA2 has been edited and completed (represented by light and dark green shades on map respectively). Much of this was achieved through seed funding from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and revenue generated through sales of completed tiles. GeoSmart and InnovUS are currently investigating additional funding mechanisms for accelerating DEMSA2 development. Please visit for examples and applications of the product.  


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