uLwazi – SAEON

Leo Chiloane

data curation team lead

 B.Sc (Hons), Geographical Information Systems, MSc Project Management (currently underway)

Leo has a strong interest in data management, and currently works as the Curation Lead for SAEON. His role at SAEON gives him the opportunity to work on multiple data projects, such as the Bio-energy Atlas of South Africa, the South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas and the South African Spatial Data Infrastructure. 

Prior to joining SAEON, he was a GIS technician at AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd. During this time he had the opportunity to work for the City of Cape Town as a GIS consultant. Projects included corporate spatial data management, quality assurance of sectional title schemes, and cadastral data management.

Bryan McAlister

Systems development team lead

M.Eng (Technology Management); B.Eng (Computer Engineering)

Professional organisations: Member, INCOSE

Bryan is a senior software engineer who joined SAEON’s systems development team in 2019. He has more than 12 years experience in design and development of national scale ICT systems in the South African R&D space. 

Previously, he worked for the CSIR where he served as technical design and implementation lead on South Africa’s National Oceans and Coastal Information Management System, delivering several earth observation based decision support tools. Prior to this he focused on development of web, telephony and speech technology systems for CSIR’s Human Language Technologies group, delivering several telephony based pilot services, countrywide across all 11 official South African languages.

His interests include open source based systems development, open data platforms, system engineering, systems architecture, technology and engineering management.

Dr. Claire Davis-Reddy

data science team lead

PhD Environmental Science

CV | Publications | ORCID ID: 0000-0002-8635-5691

Professional organisations: Adaptation Network of South Africa; Western Cape Working Group on Climate Change (PS07); Arid Zone Ecology Forum, South Africa

Claire is the Data Science Team Lead at the uLwazi Node of SAEON. Her primary directive as Team Lead is to improve SAEON’s data products, atlas portals and views in order to facilitate effective data- and evidence-driven decision-making. She has a PhD from the University of Stellenbosch specialising in the fields of remote sensing, vegetation modelling and climate change. 

Before joining SAEON, Claire was a Senior Researcher at the CSIR where she established a track record of inter-disciplinary research and leadership in the field of natural resources and the environment. Her research has contributed significantly to the understanding of climate change risks and impacts and has fed into both national and regional policy. 

The most noteworthy of Claire’s publications is the Climate Risk and Vulnerability: a Handbook for Southern Africa and the Green Book. She has served as the Chairperson of the Adaptation Network of South Africa and the Arid Zone Ecology Forum. 

Shaun Swanepoel

Infrastructure team lead

Professional organisations: Shaun currently sits on ICT advisory committees for NRF and DEA

Shaun is currently employed at SAEON as a Systems Engineer. He has around 20 years experience in the IT field and has been fortunate to work in a diversity of IT environments, and has been mentored by some of the most respected individuals in the industry. 

Experience includes corporate IT environments at Edgars and the Technology Innovation Agency. One of his biggest challenges involved the  ERC project for Tshwane University of Technology, managing the IT infrastructure for 9 distributed centres with over a 1000 desktops.

After TIA Shaun spent a few months working on networks and firewalls for an IT services company before moving to his current home at SAEON.

Genevieve Berold

Programme Coordinator

B.Soc.Sc Environmental Sciences

CV | ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2834-1918

Genevieve joined SAEON at the end of 2016 to support the team in an administrative and coordinative role. She supports the team’s communication with SAEON’s National Office. 

She has a creative background and supported business units in finance in South Africa for two years prior to joining the team. She enjoys finding solutions and developing innovative procedures. She has supported the procurement of accommodation and the running of the office.    

Lutendo Mulaudzi

compliance officer

National Diploma in Information Technology

Lutendo joined SAEON in 2016 as an IT Helpdesk support operator. She has experience in working with computers and resolving support issues that are raised.

She is currently working as a Compliance Officer, ensuring that all SAEON staff members comply with the organisation’s IT policies and procedures. She also ensures that all SAEON IT assets and software installed comply with SAEON’s policies and procedures. 

Cristina Russo

Data Product Developer

M. Sc Physical Oceanography

Cristina joined SAEON in 2019 as a product developer focused on creating a metric for identifying the daily position of the Agulhas Current. Her fascination for all things science-related, as well as her keen interest for problem solving has led to her graduating from the University of Cape Town with a Master’s in Physical Oceanography. Her Master’s topic was focused on identifying the physical processes and subsequent biological responses which occur on the Transkei shelf.

Shaun Benjamin

Junior Systems Engineer

Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional

Shaun has recently joined SAEON after 6 years in logistics as an IT officer. He has been in the IT sector for over 10 years. He’s passionate about technology and enjoys being outdoors swimming or mountain biking.

Matt Carr

data product developer

M.Sc – Physical Oceanography

Matthew joined SAEON at the start of 2019 as a product developer. He  completed his Master dissertation at the University of Cape Town in 2017, investigating the interactions between mesoscale eddies and the Benguela upwelling system. 

His role as a product developer at SAEON will be to analyse various satellite sea surface temperature (SST) products in order to identify and develop a SST product best suited for applications along the southern African coastline. Matthew is passionate about oceanography and the marine environment, specifically finding ways in which oceanographic research can be utilised to benefit society. 

Kyle Cooper

data analyst

M.Sc – Ocean and Atmospheric Science

Professional organisations: Oceans and Coasts Information Management Systems,  South African Data Centre for Oceanography, and SAEON MultiDimensional Data Working Group.

Kyle joins the uLwazi team to take responsibility of a number of multidimensional and biodiversity systems that service our many nodes and stakeholders. Previously he has worked and interned at both SAEON and Total Exploration and Production South Africa. 

Kyle has varied experience in data processing, creating operational indicators, engaging with stakeholders, determining optimal environmental operating conditions  and working in variety of programs/languages (Excel, Matlab, Python and Bash). The transfer of SADCO has been spearheaded by Kyle moving the system from CSIR to MIMS/SAEON. 

Kyle’s strengths lie in variety, having had experience in every step of SAEON’s systems development from design, setup, configuration, testing, documentation and stakeholder engagement.

Giles Fearon

Ocean Modeller

MSc (Eng) – Port and Coastal Engineering

Professional organisations: UCT Oceanography Department

Giles specialises in the development and implementation of coastal models to meet the needs of coastal engineering projects, environmental impact assessments and the management of the coastal environment. 

Over the last 10 years his main focus areas have included nearshore wave modelling, hydrodynamic modelling of coastal processes, dispersion modelling of discharges into the marine environment (e.g. outfalls, dredge plumes and oil spills), tropical cyclone modelling, coastal flooding risk assessments, sediment transport modelling and the simulation of port logistics. Giles is currently completing his PhD through the Oceanography Department at UCT, with a focus on modelling high-frequency coastal dynamics of St Helena Bay, located on the west coast of South Africa.  

Giles’ current position at SEAON/DEA is aimed at addressing specific needs of Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) through the implementation of coastal models.

Lindsay Callaghan

Curation specialist

BJourn and MPhil Digital Curation 

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-8351-4298

Professional organisations: Ex officio member of the CoreTrustSeal board, member of the South African Society of Archivists

Lindsay is a curation specialist at SAEON’s uLwazi node, which she joined in 2018 after eight years of working in digital media. She has a strong interest in technology, organisation and the creation of long-term archival solutions, which led her to the field of data curation.

She has completed a Masters in Digital Curation at the University of Cape Town and is particularly interested in working towards best practice standards and creating trusted digital repositories.

Keneilwe Hlahane

GIS Technician

B.Sc(Hons) Geographical Information Systems,  M.Sc – Ocean and Atmospheric Science

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5654-7166

Keneilwe joins the SAEON Data Science team as a GIS analyst. Her work will be focused on the South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas and the Renewable Energy Atlas. Keneiwe previously worked at the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) as part of the South African Vegetation mapping team.

Keneilwe is a proficient user of Esri ArcGIS, QGIS and Python programming.

Her area of interests are in GIS and Remote sensing, with an M.Sc thesis focusing on the use of satellite remote sensing for monitoring inland water quality. She was awarded the Esri GIS Young Scholar award 2017 and the Department of Science & Technology Women in Science masters fellowship award 2017 for her M.Sc research. 

Dr. Amelia Hilgart

data scientist

PhD Molecular Biology

Data storytelling is Amelia’s favourite aspect of analysis. Everyone has data, but it is easy to make wrong or misleading or ineffective visualisations to explain data. Data tends to be complex and messy and representing it well and correctly to various stakeholders can be critical for decision making. Amelia has spent the better part of the last 10 years working in interdisciplinary teams to answer different kinds of questions across many fields including medicine, chemistry, molecular biology, botany, ecology, anthropology, social welfare, and statistics. 

Her previous work includes interactive data visualisation and infographic design for UNICEF Indonesia to visualise the latest reporting on the sustainable development goal indicators, as well as statistics and experimental design consultation for various companies. Prior to that Amelia completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Cape Town on the molecular biology of desiccation tolerance in indigenous resurrection plants.

Bonolo Mokoatsi

GIS Technician

B.A Hons. – Geography

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0589-4352 

Professional organisations: Applied Centre for Climate Change and Earth Systems Science (ACCESS Habitable Planet Workshop) 

Bonolo is a GIS Technician and Master’s candidate, investigating the efficacy of remote sensing in separating variably fertilized crop samples. She is moved by spatial problems pertaining to natural resource management (i.e. agriculture), environmental risk factors (i.e. loss of biodiversity) and sustainable development (i.e. renewable energy options). 

Her role at SAEON combines the use of ArcGIS, QGIS and [learning] Python to explore spatial data, find possible solutions and aid decision making. This allows her to investigate and understand the spatio-temporal relationships between natural and socio-economic phenomena. 

Before joining SAEON, she completed an internship at the CSIR – where she was mentored in processing data for modelling global change. That’s where she also joined the ACCESS Habitable Planet Workshops, for which she is a peer lecturer. She enjoys working with her peers in making science education enjoyable! 

Dr. Marc Pienaar

data scientist

PhD Electrical Engineering. MHCS Arachaeology

Marc joined SAEON in March 2019. Previously, he was a senior scientist at the CSIR, where he was involved in model development, data analysis and visualisation, and coding up various decision support applications. Most of his programming experience is in Java, R, and Fortran, with some experience in other languages as well.

He has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town specialising in wavelet analysis and various data mining techniques and algorithms; and a Master’s in Archaeology specialising in Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating and other radiometric techniques (e.g. radiocarbon). His current interests include working with spatial data and time series classification and feature extraction problems.  Specifically, he enjoys coding up “user-friendly” applications that afford end-users (scientists, funders, decision-makers) the ability to navigate and explore relationships in the data themselves by designing function rich visualisation interfaces.

Angelique Brooksbank

GIS analyst

GISc Technologist

Professional organisations: South African Geomatics Council 

Angelique has many years of experience as a GIS professional and is registered as a GISc Technologist (GTg GISc0941) with the South African Geomatics Council (SAGC). She has extensive experience across the private and government sectors and provided GIS support to small and major capital industry (oil and gas, environmental, infrastructure, climate change, power, mining etc) projects across South Africa, as well as throughout the continent. Specialisation includes;  1 : 500 000 Hydrogeological map series; four State of the Environment Reports; Visual Impact Assessments – ZTV generation and mapping; EIA series of maps; ESIA series of maps; Nuclear Site Investigation within South Africa; Geology and Groundwater mapping; Contamination/Land Remediation projects; Solar Park and Wind Farm series of maps. She has extensive experience in GIS systems, data management, 3rd party interaction to acquire data, edit and maintain datasets, metadata, geo-referencing raster imagery, data analysis, map production for various resources, manage, maintain and monitor spatial and non- spatial databases over time, standards and procedures, customised digital data and mapping for management, research and advise on new spatial technologies, minimal supervision required and can implement solutions to geo-spatial problems. 

She has the ability to think proactively, good interpersonal skills, good problem-solving ability, am self-motivated and have a wide array of expertise related to GIS, excellent organisation skills, can work independently, design and establishment of spatial (GIS) and non-spatial information systems, data maintenance, data processing, project-specific analysis tasks and information reporting and GIS project management. 

Jennifer Jackson-Veitch

Numerical Modeller

PhD – oceanography

Publications | ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2544-1243

Professional organisations: The Nansen-Tutu Centre, The eastern boundary research focus group of CLIVAR, The Coastal and shelf seas task team (COSS-TT) of GODAE

Jennifer is a physical oceanographer who uses numerical models as a tool to better understand ocean processes that are difficult to observe in a cohesive way using in situ or satellite data. Her area of expertise is the Benguela system, from the Angola-Benguela Frotal Zone at its northern boundary to the Goodhope Jet at its southern. 

Jennifer has recently been appointed as a numerical modeller for a newly established initiative, SOMISANA (A Sustainable Ocean Modelling Initiative: a South African Approach), which means to ‘work together’ in Sepedi and underscores the intention of moving forward in a multi-institutional and transformative approach. The vision is to: facilitate the local development and sustainability of an operational ocean current forecast system for the South African exclusive economic zone and to do so in a transformative fashion.

Persephone Leigh Singh

Junior Systems Administrator

B.Sc – Information Technology

Does Linux stuff for MIMS.

Dr Anne Treasure

Data curator

PhD Zoology

Publications | ORCID ID: 0000-0002-8345-4811

Professional organisations: South African National Committee (SANC) reporting to the international body SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research); SCAR Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management (SCADM); Honourary Research Associate, Department of Oceanography, UCT; Research Fellow, Marion Island Marine Mammal Programme (MIMMP), University of Pretoria; MEOP: Marine Animals Exploring the Oceans Pole to Pole

After many years in academic research, Anne joined SAEON at the end of 2018 to delve into the world of data curation and management. Her prior research and work experience both nationally and internationally covers marine, terrestrial and freshwater habitats, focusing on a range of topics including climate change, invasive species, ecosystem modelling, biological and physical oceanography, physiology and ecological interactions, with particular expertise and interest in the polar regions.

Anne has a strong interest in data quality and the data life cycle, from planning and collection to analysis and preservation. She also has a passion for science education and communication, and outreach activities. 

James Maitland

junior data curator

BSc(Hons) Ocean and Atmosphere Science

James is a recent graduate of the University of Cape Town where he completed an Honours degree in Oceanography with a focus on the physical properties of the Agulhas Current. He has a real passion for the Earth sciences, especially in Southern Africa, and the technologies that go along with them.

He has joined the SAEON team in the capacity of Data Curator where he is eager to gain valuable experience with large data projects.

Taryn Gloyne

Data Management Liaison

Professional organisations: 


Dr. Hayden Wilson

Scientific Programme Officer

MSc Environmental Science

CV | Publications | ORCID ID: 0000-0003-0743-9529

Professional organisations: Wits Ecological engineering and phytoremediation research group

Hayden is a capable, independent and adaptable environmental scientist with a strong focus on geospatial data analysis. 

His role currently is as a data scientist for the SAEON Ulwazi Node, which involves data analysis, data visualisation,stakeholder engagement, knowledge transfer and development of analytical tools for decision support projects. Additionally he is the project leader for the Department of Science and Technology funded Renewable Energy Atlas.   He previously worked as a technical lead environmental analyst for a joint project between Gold Fields South Africa region and Sibanye Stillwater to mitigate their environmental risk. Additionally, he also worked for a drone company, where he audited their precision agriculture processes and also led product development for both mining as well as the precision agriculture portfolios.


Tim Parker-Nance


M.Sc (Computer Science)

Tim started his career developing accounting systems and ISP management systems many, many moons ago.

In 2011 he established Nimbus Services specializing in biodiversity informatics, data science and machine learning. His main focus centered around the development of systems for biologists, specifically taxonomic information systems, as well as making biological data accessible to scientists and the public.

His involvement with SAEON was initially as a contractor working on the observations database. Thereafter Tim joined the Elwandle node team to handle SAEON’s coastal systems.

Mark Jacobson


BSc Computer Science & Mathematics; BSc (Honours) Ocean & Atmosphere Science

Mark brings to SAEON nearly 20 years’ experience of software development in a variety of contexts, from computer-based learning, corporate billing and web hosting services to geophysical modelling and geospatial data analysis.

Mark spent around 15 years in the commercial IT industry before a 3-year interlude as a full time student in the sciences. His arrival at SAEON marks a convergence between these two parallel threads in his life, and he feels passionately about contributing both to research infrastructure and to open-source software initiatives.

Mark’s coding expertise includes Python, C#, SQL, Unix/Linux scripting, and others.

Zachary Smith


MSc in Information Technology


Software Developer with experience across a wide range of technologies. He graduated with an MSc in Information Technology from the University of Cape Town, where he worked on alternative methods of scaling traditional (relational) systems using MapReduce and NoSQL data stores. At SAEON he fulfills the role of a full stack developer where he makes delightful things.



Lance McDonald

Software Developer

Lance is a fullstack dev with the bulk of his experience in C#.

Dylan Uys


Dylan is a frontend dev with interest in the whole stack, he mainly works in JavaScript building things for the web.