CSIR’s Cmore tapped for COVID-19 situational awareness


The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR’s) Cmore situational awareness system is being customised to service the COVID-19 coronavirus response in South Africa.

This is according to Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande.

The Minister said one of the areas that have emerged where the National System of Innovation (NSI) can make significant impact with respect to the COVID-19 crisis, is to enhance the role of data and evidence in supporting the response to the COVID-19 emergency.

Currently, key decision-making processes including work being done by the Department of Health, the Presidency, as well as the National Command Centre has drawn on the existing data and evidence capabilities of the NSI.

“There is now widespread agreement on the need for a central situational awareness platform which will provide a single view of the reality. The technology to rapidly deploy such a situational awareness platform exist at the CSIR (the Cmore system) and is now being customized to service the COVID-19 response,” the Minister said.

The facility is currently being established at the CSIR but can easily be moved should this be required.

Depending on permissions granted to certain users, parts of the data can be accessed remotely.

“The Cmore team is currently getting a sense of the information requirements of key users, starting with the Department of Health so as to demonstrate how the Cmore system works.

“The functionality of the Cmore system is designed to service a wide range of users, whether these are in a decision hierarchy as well as different types of first responders (health workers, police, the army),” Nzimande said.

He said an immediate functionality requested by the Department of Health for activation is to provide the 3 000 health workers involved in tracking and testing to be able to transmit essential information to a central point via their cell phones.

The CSIR team has been requested to have a facility that can be shown to people as this will provide the impetus for decision needs to be codified and share with the team for implementation.

“Through complementary processes by the DSI and the Department of Health, the research community specifically the modelling community has been brought together for enhanced cooperation.”

The Cmore system is currently used to track rhino poachers before they kill in the Kruger National Park. The Cmore domain awareness system integrates information from various sensors into one display that allows the commander to form a picture of what is really happening. This includes detection systems, aircraft, dogs etc.

Cmore can also be used for border patrol, maritime security and other applications.