Who is NRSC?
The National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) is a grant aided institution set up through Statutory Instrument No. 137 of 1999 of the Science and Technology Act No. 26 of 1997 to deal with remote sensing and geographic information systems technologies in Zambia. It is controlled by a Board instituted under the same Act. The overall policy supervision is under the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE
The mission of the NRSC is to promote sustainable development and management of our natural, human and economic resources, through the development and appropriate application of remote sensing and GIS technologies.
Remote sensing facilitates this process by providing up to date data, on the location, quantity and condition of the resources, relatively easily, continuously, and affordably, so that informed decisions can be made on the way these resources ought to be developed and managed.
Sustainable development and management of our resources can only take place if the decision makers have access to reliable, up to date, geographic data on the relevant issues.
Therefore, the vision of the Centre is: timely, integrated, provision of easily accessible, reliable, up to date, remote sensing data and other geo-information products and services as a basis for decision making at different levels.
The National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) is a grant aided institution set up through Statutory Instrument No. 137 of 1999 of the Science and Technology Act No. 26 of 1997 to deal with remote sensing and geographic information systems technologies in Zambia. It is controlled by a Board instituted under the same Act. The overall policy supervision is under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (MSTVT).
Remote sensing is the science of acquiring information about the Earth’s surface without actually being in contact with it. This is done by sensing and recording reflected or emitted energy and processing, analyzing, and applying that information (Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, 2008). It includes a segment of space science and technology dealing with acquiring data about the Earth from space. Space can be defined as the “area beyond the measurable atmosphere, which has very few particles of any size and is flooded with electromagnetic energy” (Le Roux, 2008). Internationally, space activities have continued to have significant beneficial impacts in many areas of human life such as agriculture, climate, energy, health, water, and disasters.
In Zambia remote sensing and GIS technologies have been in use since the late 1980’s. The growth in use peaked in the late 1990’s with currently almost all government ministries having had a brush with either of the two technologies for different applications. Private organisations are also using the technologies. However, development has been ad hoc (project based), not well coordinated, and with little cooperation between user organisations. Currently, remote sensing data is sourced from vendors outside Zambia. Online access to imagery resources is beyond reach of many due to inadequate ICT. There is no single institution or company offering the whole range of remote sensing services from acquisition to distribution. Furthermore, due to inadequate information access facilities, duplication of data acquisitions has also been rife in the country.
The NRSC has been established against this background to spearhead the coordinated development and appropriate use of remote sensing technology (RST) and GIS in Zambia. Once fully established, the NRSC will become a centre of excellence for acquiring, archiving, processing, and distributing remote sensing data, and for training and research in remote sensing in Zambia. Through the provision of these services, the NRSC will be contributing to socio-economic development and sustainable natural resources management in the country
- Be a Centre of excellence for the acquisition, processing, archiving and dissemination of remote sensing data
- Provide remote sensing or geographic information system services to address scientific, natural resource management, and environmental concerns in Zambia and the sub-region
- Promote the development and use of remote sensing or geographic information system technology and applications in Zambia
- Coordinate and monitor remote sensing or geographic information systems activities in Zambia by maintaining institutional networks and linkages
- Collaborate with institutions involved in remote sensing or geographic information system activities nationally, regionally and internationally
- Advise government on the policy framework and long term strategies relating to space technology, remote sensing data, and its exploitation for national development
- Do all such acts and things as are connected with or incidental to the foregoing
The NRSC will operationalise these objectives and functions through four main programmes:
- Environment and resource management programme to understand and protect the environment and develop the resources in a sustainable way
- Innovation and economic growth programme to develop tools and applications for increasing productivity and economic growth e.g. precision farming
- Spatial data infrastructure programme to enable ease and timely access to geo-information products and services, cooperation, and networking
- Safety and security programme to strengthen development actions, peace and stability in communities and border areas.
OPERATION AREA & TECHNICAL SUPPORT
The NRSC‘s core business is the provision, to geo-information users, of satellite imagery and value added products and services covering the following applications which were identified as priority areas through a stakeholder workshop held in 2009:
- Forestry and wildlife resources
- Water systems
- Soils and land resources assessment
- Crops and livestock management
- Public health/epidemics assessment
- Disaster risk reduction
- Town and country planning
- Mineral exploration
- Safety and security
Value added products are remote sensing derived products such as geo-statistics, charts, and maps of forests, water systems, settlements and infrastructure. Other geo-information products are derived from integration and/or analysis of different geo-data sets. Geo-information services include research, consultancy and training.
In addition, the NRSC undertakes activities, in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, in the four main programmes outlined above. An example of such an activity is the land resources assessment undertaken in 2009 in the Mumbwa – Itezhi Tezhi area. This was undertaken with cooperation from ZAWA and Forestry Department in the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources.
The provision of geo-information products and services is centred on the satisfied customer. Customer satisfaction cannot be ensured without an equally satisfied employee. Therefore, the core values of the NRSC embraces the fundamental concepts of employee and customer satisfaction.
The customer-oriented core values are:
- Timeliness in meeting deadlines
- Meeting standards of excellence
- Service oriented
- Open communication
- Maintaining professional ethics
In terms of work environment, the NRSC encourages in addition to the above:
- Commitment to the goals of the NRSC
- Optimism in pursuing goals
- Team spirit
- Leadership, i.e. inspiring and guiding others
- Understanding and developing others
- Flexibility in handling change
The NRSC is currently building up the infrastructure with the support of Government and cooperating partners. The available equipment include a digital photogrammetric workstation for aerial photo interpretation and digital terrain model construction, GIS workstation for spatial data analysis and visualisation, and a digital image processing workstation for interpretation and processing of multispectral and hyper-spectral satellite imagery. The available software are ArcGIS, PCI Geomatica, ERDAS, and Leica LPS.
Other assets are a computer cluster, handheld GPS receivers, digitising board, colour plotter, camping equipment, and a field vehicle. The NRSC also has Landsat MSS, TM and ETM+ images ranging from 1972 to 2003, and NDVI images derived from AVHRR satellite for 1995 to 2005 and from SPOT satellite for 1998 to 2004.
The NRSC intends to acquire a handheld sprectrometer for in situ electromagnetic energy measurements, echo-sounder for water depth measurements, and ground receiving station for direct receipt of imagery from satellites. The NRSC intends to acquire in consultation with stakeholders imagery for the whole Zambia on agreed times for use in different applications.
The NRSC is controlled by a Board which is responsible for policy making, directing and controlling the operations of the centre. It is headed by a Director who is responsible for the day-to-day management and operations. The proposed structure with three divisions and six sections is shown in the organogram in Figure 4 below:
Finance and Administration
The Division is responsible for financial and administrative activities of the Centre.
Application and Market Development
The division is responsible for research, development and demonstration of the use of remote sensing for scientific, natural resources and environmental management. The division is also responsible for training and developing and implementing strategies for deriving maximum industrial benefits from new remote sensing and GIS technologies.
Data Acquisition, Processing and Distribution
The division is responsible for acquiring remote sensing data, providing IT services to the centre, archiving, processing and distribution of the data.
Meet Our Management Team
Acting Director(MSc, BEng). Has 13 years of experience in both remote sensing and GIS working both in government and private sectors.
Manager Finance & Administration
ACCA, BSc, Natech).
Lad M. Kazembe
Manager Planning, Marketing and Technology Transfer.
(Professional Masters, P.Dipl). Has over six years experience in GIS and remote sensing and has worked in the private and government sectors.
Meet Our Technical Team
Technical Expert- Geographical Information Systems
Technical Expert- Image Processing
(MSc, BEng). Has 8 years of experience in both remote sensing and GIS working both in government and private sectors.
Joana Misozi Banda
Technical Assistant- Image Processing