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GIS data to be made available to the public in Dubai

The GIS data collected by Dubai Municipality will be made available to the public in the next three months, said Manal Al Shamlan, Head of GIS Development Unit in the Geographical Information Centre of the municipality. She was giving a presentation on the ‘GIS Uses of Remote Sensing and Hydrological Assessments for Dubai Emirate,’ on the sidelines of the WETEX 2004 (Water and Energy Technology and Environment Exhibition), which is being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The presentation gave a detailed account of the use of satellite technologies in civic services such as environment, public properties and GIS.

During her presentation Al Shamlan gave practical example of exposing the municipality to the actual usage of satellite imagery to resolve environment circumstances , such as ( Water Resources in the Emirate of Dubai). She also told about the use of imagery by the GIS Centre and its conversion to applications posted on the intranet. Giving details of the Dubai Hydrological Study project, Al Shamlan said the goals of the project included identification of new potential aquifers using remote sensing techniques confirmed by field investigations, so as to support besides the use of desalinated water.

While talking about the data resources she said the Digital Remote Sensing Data combined with the current understanding of the groundwater regime were used to conduct the interpretation techniques and methodology. The resource data used to predict the groundwater potential included satellite images previously acquired by Dubai Municipality and others spatially acquired for the purpose, Landsat Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS) & Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) images, French SPOT Sensors images, Space Shuttle Imaging Radar data (SIR-C), radar data from Japanese (JERS-1) System images and the data from field investigations and geophysical survey.

The benefits gained from implementing satellite images and the Remote Sensing techniques, for locating potential aquifers varied depending on the characteristics of the region. The high reflectance of Sabkha deposits near Dubai city and Jebel Ali as it was clear from Landsat images, indicated a high salt content. Rainwater reaching these patches would dissolve salts before infiltrating into the substrate, resulting the increase of salinity of groundwater, which was already saline due to the dissolution of salts in the host sediments.

She said seven sites of aquifers in Hatta are to be further evaluated, by field investigations and geophysical survey for both valley fill and potential of water storage in fracture zone aquifers by digging boreholes. While talking about the use of imagery by the GIS, she gave an overview of the Dubai GIS Intranet (www.dugis.ae). Al Shamlan said the enterprise GIS for Dubai was developed due to the lack of knowledge of what GIS data resources are available, the lack of knowledge of how to integrate information and the lack of confidence in using complex GIS software.

She said it is estimated that 60% of existing Dubai GIS information is in Dubai Municipality, which has taken up the responsibility of providing spatial reference to Dubai’s government’s e-services. DEWA, Etisalat, Roads, Police, surveyors, and consultants are benefited from these data. She said the intranet projects was planned for different users such as businesses, citizens, government.

Al Shamlan said to sign on to www.dugis.ae the user must be connected to the GIN (Government Information Network). She said the future plans of Dubai Emirate GIS include providing spatial data to all applications.