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Dubai uses g-tech to monitor its ‘flora and fauna’

Abu Dhabi, UAE: The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) launched a survey to establish a baseline for long-term monitoring of terrestrial biodiversity and habitat in the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve. The project will include environmental data collection base mapping, grid design, etc, using multiple methods and advanced technologies.

Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Richard Perry, executive director of the environmental information science and outreach management at EAD said, “This is a large project that will involve several teams. It aims to develop a comprehensive and reliable database, to create environmental data model and geo-database terrestrial baseline survey and provide a meticulous and detailed understanding of the environment including plants, animals, mangroves, etc. This project will help authorities in implementing framing policies and regulations and assessing their success.”

“We are working with the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) to adopt a framework that can be scaled to a global level,” he added.

“EAD recognised the benefits of using satellite images right from its inception. The images are used to detect and record habitat changes. They will also serve mapping land use and land cover mapping, water resources studies, forestry studies, etc,” explained Hossam Al Alqawi, senior biodiversity geographical information systems analyst.

Al Alqawi observed, “One of the advanced technology we are using on field is a device that has a mobile GIS connected to EAD server so data is directly collected and updated as it has a GPS enabled so we have a direct access in the field to the GIS format which spare time and effort.”

“We are dealing with a huge area so we needed to have a system to divide it into smaller units easier to handle and reference. We have 10,000 survey grids across the emirate to perform the study,” Maher Kabshawi, scientist, told Gulf News.

An important objective of the research is to collect and identify various types of animals and insects.

Source: Gulf News