BiodiversityGIS (BGIS) - Informing Biodiversity Action

What we do

Since the late 1990s, a number of new vegetation maps and large scale biodiversity plans have been drafted to assist with biodiversity conservation management outside of protected areas. The major challenge has been to ensure that all this information is centrally managed and distributed as widely as possible.

The BGIS unit has become the central hub for the management and dissemination of biodiversity planning and related information. BGIS manages spatial biodiversity planning information such as the NBA terrestrial threatened ecosystem data. BGIS also disseminates biodiversity information garnered by partner organisations. These include the Fine-scale Biodiversity Plans developed by CapeNature and the Strategic Water Source Areas (SWSA) developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Electronic copies of maps, reports and databases are freely available on the BGIS website ( The BGIS website was developed in conjunction with the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the University of the Western Cape. The website is designed in such a way that individuals who do not have access to stable broad-band connections may access the information via dial-up modems.

The unit also analyses data and provides specialist interpretation on the application of biodiversity data.

Where we work

BGIS is based in the Research Centre at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. It disseminates various conservation plans and biodiversity-related datasets for the South African region. To ensure that these datasets are accessible, conservation plans are arranged geographically according to province.

Services and achievements

BGIS provides a number of invaluable services to the conservation sector.

The unit provides regular BGIS training courses. These courses focus on the practical applications of the new BGIS website, with a short introduction to conservation planning. For more information regarding dates for upcoming training courses, please contact

The unit also equips decision-makers with tools to analyse the datasets, allowing them to make informed decisions.

Land Use Decision Support Tool 

The Land Use Decision Support (LUDS) Tool was relaunched on 15 November 2013.

The original Land Use Decision Support (LUDS) tool was retired in December 2012. Since then the BGIS team has been working tirelessly to create a tool that mirrors the functions of the original application.

LUDS allows BGIS users the opportunity to perform a basic environmental assessment on a land parcel. To use the tool, users simply have to locate their area of interest and the system will extract and report on the most important biodiversity planning information for that area.


Who we are:

The BGIS team members are:

  • Sediqa Khatieb (BGIS Project Manager)
  • Fhatani Ranwashe (GIS intern) 

Contact details

Tel: +27 (0)21 799 8738

Postal address: Biodiversity GIS, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, Private Bag X7, Claremont, 7735, South Africa

Last updated on 20 January 2015
Copyright 2016 © SANBI | All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions