Who we are

MAPSS was founded in 2017 by three ecologist friends who are passionate about biodiversity conservation, ecological restoration and sustainable development. Realising that these fields often suffer from a science-implementation gap, MAPSS was founded with a vision to provide science-rooted support to developmental projects globally.

Our
approach

Our working model centers around us being a ‘bolt-on’ scientific team geared towards solving problems.

  • We spend time in the field to identify the problem, gather data, and set clear project goals.
  • To achieve project goals, we design scalable solutions that support entire workflows (collecting, storing, and visualising data). This allows users to observe, measure, and monitor areas and performance indicators with great detail and precision.
  • We provide the tools to store and analyse data, visualize patterns, and better understand complex systems to make authoritative predictions.
  • We provide continued support and improvements, to ensure the adoption and relevance of solutions.
  • We provide value-added services such as specialist studies, annual reports, and Story Maps that give context to project findings.

When you partner with MAPSS our integrated approach, enthusiasm for our work, extensive experience, and exciting technologies will provide you with the platform you need to tackle some of the world’s most daunting problems.

What makes us different?

Technological innovation provides an opportunity to better understand, monitor, and report on the earth’s complex systems. Yet, the implementation and development of new technology can be a daunting task. Technological solutions often fail due to poor uptake because they are overcomplicated, unnecessary and unmanageable, or not in line with project objectives. However, these systems are often implemented by software developers, and not by specialists in the field (i.e. ecologists and geographers). Consequently, the project realities are overlooked, and long-term scientific outputs are ignored.

We overcome these problems by:

  • Drawing from our backgrounds in ecology and geography to develop solutions that consider ecological realities, but still remain simple and informative.
  • Spending time in the field, getting our hands dirty while collecting data and consulting with stakeholders.
  • Providing continued training, long-term support and assistance.

We are proud to be an ESRI South Africa emerging business partner since 2018.

Get to know us

Our qualified group of company directors work alongside specialized teams as required on each project.

The MAPSS team of directors is:

Dr Pieter Olivier

Dr Pieter Olivier

Qualifications:

B.Sc. Ecology | B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology | M.Sc. Zoology | PhD Zoology

Pieter is an ecologist specializing in land-use change and the impact it has on biodiversity and people. He has co-authored more than 15 academic papers and has worked at site-, landscape-, and national scale projects. His work experience includes complex landscape scale restoration and conservation projects, as well as implementing biodiversity surveys, ecological assessments and environmental impact assessments to both national and international standards.

Pieter’s published works include articles on forest loss, birds, ecosystem processes, and forest habitat restoration. He is currently collaborating with the Tropical Landscape Lab at Newcastle University, focusing on forested landscapes in east and southern Africa. In 2014, he was awarded an Innovation post-doctoral fellowship by the National Research Foundation, and in 2015 he was awarded an Ecologist in Africa grant by the British Ecological Society. Much of his work focuses on understanding the response of biodiversity to land-use change and finding solutions that mitigate the effects thereof.

Pieter is registered as a Professional Natural Scientist (Pri. Sci. Nat) with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP no: 400119/17).
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Andrew Purdon

Andrew Purdon

Qualifications:

B.Sc. Ecology | B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology | M.Sc. Zoology

Andrew is an ecologist and GIS specialist, who has been involved in the design, development, and implementation of several conservation projects across Africa.

Andrew enjoys the challenge of leveraging the latest analytics and technology to solve environmental problems. This is complimented by his expertise in satellite remote sensing, the design and management of databases, and web and mobile application development.

He is particularly skilled in the programming language R, which has featured prominently in his published works and current projects. Andrew has a strong interest in using telemetry data to better understand how people and animals use space, and the consequences it has on protected area management, human wildlife conflict, and the design of habitat corridors and linkages.
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Michael Mole

Michael Mole

Qualifications:

B.Sc. Zoology | B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology | M.Sc. Zoology

Michael is an ecologist with extensive experience in conservation and long-term research projects across southern Africa.

Through his involvement with conservation projects across southern Africa, Michael has gained a solid understanding of the challenges in conserving biodiversity at both local and global scale. He is an expert in project design and management and works closely with decision makers to find solutions to these challenges.

Michael is skilled in the development of web and mobile applications, GIS and remote sensing, as well as the programming language R. He has a strong interest in the design and analyses of studies that use camera traps and have presented training courses on the subject. He was also part of a 13-month research expedition to Marion Island, where he focused on marine mammal research.
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Andrew Christie

Andrew Christie

Qualifications:

B.Com. Entrepreneurship | B.Com. (Hons) Business Management

Andrew has an extensive background in Mobile Data Capture solutions across Africa. One of his core focuses is on business development for MAPSS.

For the past five years Andrew has been involved in developing mobile data capturing solutions, which enables research analysis within the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. During this time he has strategically deployed marketing campaigns for industry leaders within this sector all across Africa.

Andrew is utilising his experience from different industries to complement MAPSS services and solutions.
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Published Articles

Our resident experts form a professional, experienced, and dedicated team. We also aim to inform, remain relevant and stay ahead in our field by publishing in leading peer-reviewed journals.

Click below to access a downloadable PDF with links to some of our previously-published articles.

Our previously-published works

"...unravels the migration habits of the world's largest terrestrial animal."

– Andrew Purdon & Michael Mole

Scientific Reports – Partial migration in savanna elephant populations distributed across southern Africa

"...functional group trajectories can direct adaptive management actions to recover the stability of regenerating forests..."

– Dr. Pieter Olivier

Restoration Ecology- Tree and bird functional groups as indicators of recovery of regenerating subtropical coastal dune forests

"...the abundances of many forest-core species are diminished along forest edges..."

– Dr. Pieter Olivier

Nature – Creation of forest edges has a global impact on forest vertebrates

"...elephants have the capacity to deal with extreme heat, at least in environments with adequate resources of forage water and shade."

– Michael Mole

Conservation Physiology – Coping with the heat: behavioral and physiological responses of savanna elephants in their natural habitat

"...estimated how many savanna elephants Africa's protected areas would support if not for widespread poaching"

– Andrew Purdon

PloS one – Savanna elephant numbers are only a quarter of their expected values

"...forest fragmentation directly reduced above ground carbon, but increased soil organic carbon..."

– Dr. Pieter Olivier

Forest Ecology and Management – Functional diversity mediates contrasting direct and indirect effects of fragmentation on below- and above-ground carbon stocks of coastal dune forests

"...how should we invest conservation resources if we want to restore this landscape and prevent predicted extinctions? ..."

– Dr. Pieter Olivier

Biotropica – The response of bird feeding guilds to forest fragmentation reveals conservation strategies for a critically endagered African eco-region

"...mapping ground surface temperature and ground vegetation greenness utilising remotely sensed canopy cover maps could provide a useful tool for mapping habitat quality metrics that matter to species..."

– Dr. Pieter Olivier

PeerJ – Forest floor temperature and greenness link significantly to canopy attributes in South Africa’s fragmented coastal forests

"...extinctions from small forest fragments might be prevented by conserving natural or restoring anthropogenic matrices..."

– Dr. Pieter Olivier

Landscape Ecology – Matrix transformation alters species-area relationships in fragmented coastal forests

"...elephants visited rivers more often than artificial waterholes"

– Andrew Purdon

Journal of Arid Environments – Water provisioning in Kruger National Park alters elephant spatial utilisation patterns

Our Clients and
Collaborators

ESRI South Africa
Elephants Without Borders
Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism
Enterprises University of Pretoria
FSUPPA
Talmar
Ukhozi
Wildlife ACT
First Quantum Minerals
Okavango Research Institute

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