Report on the Xth IAGA Workshop on Geomagnetic Instruments, Data Acquisition and Processing at the Hermanus Magnetic Observatory

15-24 April 2002

The Hermanus Magnetic Observatory (HMO) hosted the "Xth IAGA Workshop on Geomagnetic Observatory Instruments, Data Acquisition and Processing" - the first of such workshops in Africa. It was attended by 40 delegates from 24 countries.

The objective of the workshop was to do proper absolute magnetic field observations under controlled conditions, as well as to inter-calibrate equipment to detect possible instrumental, calibration or measurement errors. A further objective was to bring together the manufacturers and users of geomagnetic instruments.

Delegates were mainly from Europe, but also came from as far as Japan, India, Israel, the US, Canada, and Australia. The HMO was particularly pleased to welcome the largest ever delegation from the African continent to attend such a workshop. "At this time when there are efforts to foster collaboration between African countries through programmes such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), it is appropriate that there is a good representation from Africa," says Dr Peter Sutcliffe, Manager of the HMO. Seven African delegates from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Ivory Coast, Morocco, and Mozambique attended. The HMO and scientists from the Ivory Coast and Ethiopia had encouraging discussions that might lead to joint research projects. Their presence was made possible by grants received from IAGA and from INTERMAGNET. The LOC would like to thank these two organizations for the financial support to sponsor the expenses of these 7 delegates. The HMO also made a contribution.

Dr Jean Rasson was responsible for practical training in the use of geomagnetic equipment. I received positive feedback from those present that they have benefited a lot and learned several new techniques.

This Workshop at the HMO therefore not only served to promote geomagnetism worldwide, but also in Africa.

A total of 46 oral and poster presentations were presented. These papers addressed several outstanding issues related to observatory instrumentation and data processing.

The facilities and infrastructure at Hermanus made a lasting impression on all delegates, to the extent that Dr László Hegymegi from Hungary remarked that "this is the best equipped observatory I have ever seen!". Dr Jean Rasson from Belgium remarked that this Workshop was one of the best organized he has ever attended and Mr Ole Rasmussen from Denmark indicated that the base-line stability of some geomagnetic equipment is one of the best worldwide.

Social programmes were organized for the delegates and for the accompanying persons and were well attended and enjoyed by all.

The LOC is grateful to all participants who attended the Workshop and contributed to its success by presenting papers and share their expertise in observatory measurements and procedures.

L. Loubser
Chairman of the LOC