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Building the foundation…

In the present world Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) have become a crucial tool in facilitating how spatial data and spatial information systems are used.

In the Middle East region there is now a growing need to create multi-participant, decision-supported environments. Consistent progress has been pointed out in the field of higher education and training in GIS and Remote Sensing, which consisted in the establishment of new GIS curricula, new programmes and new chairs. At the national level, many countries have completed their national cartographic database namely: Kingdom of Bahrain and Qatar.

A great development has been recorded, concerning SDI in the region, particularly in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, which have realized numerous applications in the fields of: municipalities and urban planning, land information system, environmental information system, and petroleum industry. The State of Qatar succeeded in setting up a nationwide GIS, including the activities of sixteen governmental agencies.

Many other countries of the region are developing and planning to develop SDIs to better manage and utilise their spatial data assets. They believe they can benefit more economically and environmentally from this better management of spatial information.

Efforts are being made, however, there is a need to find ways of cooperation to develop Regional SDIs that would assist in decision-making, and which would have an important impact across national boundaries.

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