ICMG24 – The 15th International Conference on Military Geosciences, South Africa

(Last updated: 1 Jul 24)

Conference Report: 15th International Conference on Military Geosciences (ICMG24)

By Dr Ivan Henrico, Chair of the ICMG24 Conference Organising Committee

Conference Overview: The 15th International Conference on Military Geosciences (ICMG24) was successfully held from 9 to 14 June 2024, at the Lord Charles Hotel and Conference Centre in Somerset West, South Africa. The conference was hosted by the Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University, under the able leadership of the Chair of the Organising Committee, Dr Ivan Henrico. This year’s conference marked a significant milestone as the first hybrid conference in military geosciences, featuring both in-person and virtual participation from undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Opening Ceremony: The conference commenced with a welcoming function and registration on the evening of 9 June. The official opening ceremony took place on 10 June, with a welcoming address by Brigadier General A.J. De Castro, Commandant of the South African Military Academy, and Professor M.S. Tshehla, Dean of the Faculty of Military Science. This event set the tone for an engaging and insightful week of academic exchange and networking.

Participation and Representation: ICMG24 attracted 52 participants from 11 countries, including four partners. Among these, nine participants joined the conference online, demonstrating the successful implementation of the hybrid format. The diverse representation underscored the global interest and collaborative spirit in the field of military geosciences.

Conference Programme: The scientific programme featured a robust lineup of keynote presentations, research papers, and interactive sessions, divided across multiple days.

Here’s the programme and abstracts from the conference: LINK

Highlights included:

  • Keynote Speakers:
    • Prof Francis A. Galgano delivered a thought-provoking address on the evolution and continuity in military operations.
    • Prof Hennie Smit reflected on the history and significance of the ICMG conference series.
  • Presentations: The programme included sessions on various topics such as geographical factors in historical battles, environmental security, curriculum transformation in military education, precision bombing operations, the use of airborne platforms for radiation detection, and various others.

List of Presentations

Keynote Speaker: Prof Francis A. Galgano: Evolution and continuity in the scope of military operations: The emergence of effective sovereignty doctrine.

Jacques Bezuidenhout: The influence of geographical factors on the outcome of the Battle of Blood River, South Africa, 16 December 1838.

Mark Reed: Environmental security revisited.

Martin Riegl & Ronan Wordsworth: Why the right buzzwords do not work in Africa’s emerging geopolitical frontiers.

Loidi Shaamhula: Curriculum transformation of the Bachelor of Science in Military Science (Army) (Honours) Programme at the University of Namibia.

Aldino Bondesan: From operation Mallory Major to Blockade: the pursuit of bridges precision bombing in Veneto region (Italy).

Rikus le Roux: Utilizing airborne platforms for gamma emission detection of radiation sources.

Chris Fuhriman: A geographic analysis of Afghanistan’s Shahi-kot Valley as a safe haven for insurgency.

Susan Henrico: Strengthening resilience in the Global South: the strategic role of open source geospatial technologies in civil and military domains.

Bohumil Doboš: The Wolf I Feed: Typology of the Wagner Group in Africa.

Gerhard Herda: Climate change in the arctic, the military consequences and security implications (CLIMARCSEC).

Ivan Henrico: Mapping the scars of conflict: A geospatial analysis of temporal changes in Ukraine’s urban infrastructure.

Maria Petriccione: Mine warfare in the dolomites: reconstruction of the Lagazuoi Front and its evolution during World War I.

Louw Uys: Parametric ship rolling in the northern Agulhas Current: a case study.

Babalwa Mtshawu: Accuracy comparison of ordinary kriging and IDW interpolation techniques in estimating naturally occurring radioactive materials.

Joel Roskin (Online): Combatting the coupling of underground and urban environments for offensive and defensive guerrilla/terror war-scale Hamas engagements from, and in the Gaza Strip, southern Israeli coast.

Peter Imanuel (Online): Modernizing national air forces in the 21st century: A comprehensive review from an African perspective.

Peter Schmitz (Online): Using Groth’s pattern detection algorithm to detect possible landmine presence based on reflection changes of plants.

Hermann Häusler (Online): German geophysical investigations during the Second World War.

Edward ‘Ted’ Rose (Online): Gordon Lyall Paver (1913–1988): Pioneer of South African Military Geosciences in World War II.

Peter Schmitz (Online): Using GIS and public available data to determine coercion into marine wildlife poaching and piracy.

Peter Doyle (Online): Gallipoli 1915: from ‘forcing the Dardanelles’ to ‘evacuating the beaches’.

Peter Guth (Online): Using ESA Sentinel satellite imagery and online analysis to track battle damage and population forced relocations.

Aphelele Mgabisa (Doctoral Student) (Online): A geospatial approach to monitor the impacts of climate change on water resources in South Africa.

Tiaan Henrico, Zander Lourens & Dashlin Naidoo (Undergraduate Students): Bi-temporal analysis of the effects of warfare on vegetation in Gaza.

Charlene Simataa (Doctoral Student): Relationship between the spatial and temporal distribution of fishing vessels and marine environment in Namibia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Louis du Toit (Doctoral Student): Assessing shoreline dynamics in Saldanha Bay: Unmasking changes and continuities through comprehensive remote sensing data and approaches for enhanced military geoscience applications.

Nomcebo Mathebula (Masters Student): Geospatial analysis for detection and distribution of sinkholes at the School of Tactical Intelligence in Potchefstroom, SA.

Sfundo Mbatha (Masters Student): A spatial-temporal and geospatial analysis of transnational crimes on Rhino poaching in Kruger National Park from 2007-2023.”Lukhanyo Matiwane (Masters Student): Analysing the sediment transportation of the port of East London using the SWAN model.

Sipokuhle Nyembe (Masters Student): Utilising geospatial tools for enhancing campus planning and facility management: digitising the Saldanha campus for SU.

Kabelo Kortman (Masters Student): Site selection for constructing a community-scale solar PV farm using analytical hierarchy process and geographic information systems: A case of Saldanha Military Area.

Keynote Speaker: Prof Hennie A.P. Smit: Thirty years of the ICMG conference series: history, significance and prospects.

Wandile Mashaba (Masters Student): Flood causes and possible mitigations: A case study of Airforce Base Durban in 2022.

Kgomotso Botlholo (Masters Student): Utilizing results from previous studies in the Berg River and Kilindini Harbour to investigate and model sedimentation in East London Harbour.

Mashudu Mathoho (Masters Student): Assessing renewable energy readiness in military bases: a geospatial analysis of solar energy in the West Coast region of South Africa.

Presentation Recordings:

Field Trips: Participants had the opportunity to engage in two enriching field trips:

  1. A visit to Robben Island, a significant historical site.
  2. A tour of the South African Naval Base in Simon’s Town, which included a visit to the Institute for Maritime Technology (IMT).

Biennial General Meeting (BGM): The BGM was chaired by Prof. Hennie Smit, as the current chair, Prof. Eric McDonald, faced connectivity issues. The meeting covered essential updates and plans for the future of the association. Link to recording of the BGM. Link to Minutes of the BGM.

Seminar: A notable event during the conference was the seminar titled “Russia in Africa: Anti- or Neo-Colonial Power?” held on June 12, 2024. This seminar was hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and featured members from Charles University, Czech Republic. His Excellency Tomas Ulicny, the Czech Ambassador to South Africa, was present at the seminar. The panel included:

  • Ronan Wordsworth, Assistant Professor, Institute of Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University.
  • Martin Riegl, Analyst, Geopolitical Futures; Coordinator, Centre for African Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University.
  • Bohumil Doboš, Associate Professor, Institute of Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University.

Publications: Two book publications are planned as outcomes of the conference:

  • A volume with Springer.
  • A volume with SUNMedia (Stellenbosch University publication).

Post-Conference Excursions: Following the main conference, a post-conference excursion took place from 15 to 20 June 2024. This excursion included visits to various South African battlefields, scenic sites, and places of historical interest. Two members from Italy participated in this enriching experience.

Participant Feedback: Post-conference survey responses highlighted the overall satisfaction with the conference organisation, the quality of presentations, and the networking opportunities. Participants particularly appreciated the hybrid format, which allowed for broader engagement.

In conclusion, the ICMG24 was a resounding success, fostering international collaboration and advancing the field of military geosciences. The innovative hybrid format and the inclusion of students set a new precedent for future conferences. The organising committee extends its gratitude to all participants, speakers, and partners for their invaluable contributions to this landmark event.