UAE – The latest data about Abu Dhabi’s habitats, wildlife, agriculture, forestry, soils and water, among other topics can now be accessed with just a click of a button.
Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has developed a geospatial data portal that makes environmental data and metadata readily available to government organizations and the general public. The portal can be accessed at www.geoportal.ae.’s entire catalogue of geospatial data, maps and information about the data that was used to make those maps. The Geoportal even offers the ability to build your own map!
“In order to properly manage our environment, we need to understand our geography better, whether we are talking about land, water or air.
Part of our role is to provide the community with the information they need to make wiser choices when it comes to our environment. We aim to continue expanding and updating this useful portal, which opens the virtual door to our entire catalogue of geospatial information,” said Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of EAD.
EAD’s Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), which was launched in 2002 to promote and facilitate access to quality environmental data.
Geoportal users can access information in three different ways:
- Map gallery: The map gallery gives users easy access to maps organized by environmental themes. Each map view can be further refined by selecting and applying additional layers of information.
- Keyword search: Simple keyword searches enable users to quickly find map data. Advanced searches are available by selecting more specific geographic information and other data categories.
- Channel search: Channel searches enable users to access detailed lists of data sets and predefined maps according to environmental themes. User can also build their own custom map views by drawing on specific map services.
The maps and information are built around eight environmental themes:
- Cultural Heritage: Abu Dhabi Emirate is home to a variety of significant paleontological and archaeological sites, many of which are now facing pressures from growth and development. Geoportal maps and data contain information about the most significant of these sites, highlighting their cultural, scientific, educational and economic value to the emirate as well as the importance of proper management and conservation.
- Environmental Education: In the past, traditional society in Abu Dhabi Emirate used resources in a sustainable manner. Due to rapid economic growth, urbanization and higher per capita consumption, Abu Dhabi now has a larger ecological footprint. Environmental education and awareness building are increasingly important tools for addressing such issues as high per capita water consumption, waste production and loss of diversity. Geoportal maps and data contain information about environmental education and awareness initiatives in Abu Dhabi Emirate.
- Marine and Coastal Environment: Abu Dhabi’s marine and coastal environment is essential to the emirate’s cultural and natural history. Rich in biodiversity and biological productivity, the emirate’s marine resources have long provided such essentials as food, livelihoods, recreational use and protection against coastal erosion. Changes in land use due to population growth and industrial development have caused degradation of the coastal zone and marine resources. Geoportal maps and data contain information about marine and coastal zones, including biota, habitats, economic activities and key management issues.
- Physical Geography: Abu Dhabi’s mostly hot and dry climate plays a central role in determining the evolution of the emirate’s land surface, much of which is dominated by sand dunes. In addition, rapid development is diminishing fresh water supplies and the ability of soils to support agriculture, forestry, wildlife and other more traditional uses. Global climate change will affect the emirate over the medium to long term, particularly in heavily populated coastal regions. Geoportal maps and data contain information about Abu Dhabi’s geology, soils, water, atmosphere and climate.
- Population, Development and Economy: Within the past 30 years, Abu Dhabi has grown from a small desert island town to a prosperous and modern commercial centre with a population of approximately 1.85 million. Abu Dhabi is also the UAE’s major economic engine, holding 94 percent of the country’s total oil and gas reserves and contributing 61.1 percent of gross domestic product. Geoportal maps and data will contain information related to Abu Dhabi’s demography and economy.
- Terrestrial Habitat and Land Resources: Despite its harsh physical conditions, Abu Dhabi’s natural landscape encompasses rich and diverse natural habitats and is home to a wide range of plant and animal species that enrich the country’s biodiversity while providing important social and economic benefits to the country. Elements of the emirate’s natural terrestrial environment are under strong and increasing threat of being damaged and, in some extreme cases, irreversibly destroyed due to rapid growth and development. Geoportal maps and data contain information about Abu Dhabi’s terrestrial environment and habitat.
- Waste Management and Pollution: As Abu Dhabi has grown rapidly in the past several years, so has the production and variety of waste and the need for comprehensive waste management and pollution control. Geoportal maps and data contain information regarding major waste types and sources, including solid waste, medical and hazardous waste, liquid discharges and air emissions, as well as information about waste management practices and facilities.
- Water Resources: Water in Abu Dhabi evaporates quickly and recharges slowly. At the same time, the rate of water consumption per capita in Abu Dhabi is among the world’s highest, and pressures on the supply have risen sharply as the emirate’s population and economy have grown. To address a deficit in natural water supply, Abu Dhabi has resorted to unconventional water supply methods, such as desalination and re-use of treated wastewater. Geoportal maps and data contain information about Abu Dhabi’s water supply and consumption patterns.