EAD Shares its GIS Successes at Regional Conference in Abu DhabiDec 12, 2012 - 05:25 -
WAM Abu Dhabi, Dec 12th, 2012 (WAM) - Geographic information and environmental specialists from the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) attended the ESRI Middle East and Africa User Conference (MEAUC) to share the Agency's successes in using geographic information system (GIS) technology for wildlife conservation and environment protection.
GIS allows users to visualize, question, analyse, interpret, and understand data in order to reveal relationships, patterns, and trends. In the early 1990s, EAD began investing in GIS technologies to track endangered species in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi such as Falcons, Houbaras, Greater Flamingos, Dugongs, Ospreys, Hawksbill Turtles and Arabian Oryx.
The Agency introduced geospatial technology as way to collect and manage environmental field data, conduct soil inventories, select groundwater aquifer storage and recovery sites, as well as predict spatial distribution of fauna and flora.
"We've adopted the latest technologies to better understand our environment and biodiversity, as well as to communicate with our partners and society. The environmental data that we have collected over the years and shared with our stakeholders has enabled us to develop and implement an effective environmental regulatory and policy framework when it comes to wildlife conservation and resource management," said Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General at EAD.
At the conference, EAD showcased how it tracks endangered species with satellite/radio and GSM transmitter tracking devices which has made it possible to acquire detailed data on many aspects of wildlife biology including habitat use, home range size, mortality, survivorship, and migration patterns.
The information it has gathered is used for conservation and management of the species and their habitats, which has enabled EAD to revise monitoring zones/areas, redesign protected areas, revise regulations and modify actions towards the implementation of conservation and management plans for the species.
"We aim to continue investing in such technologies and programmes to allow us to keep conserving our biodiversity and preserving the Emirate's natural heritage," Al Mubarak added.
Besides wildlife management, EAD today utilises GIS technology for its extensive air and ground water quality monitoring, environmental permitting, emergency management and its field surveying. At the MEAUC, EAD also shared how it successfully implemented its award-winning Abu Dhabi Soil Information System (ADSIS) - a spatially enabled web-based application that provides easy access to soil-related information.
The system enables users to interact with spatial and attribute data stored in a central Geodatabase. The maps produced by the ADSIS today allow farmers, planners and developers better evaluate the potential of soil for agricultural and engineering purposes. It also formed the basis of the Agency's Soil Survey Report which was shared with Abu Dhabi Police in 2010 to support them analyse soil at crime scenes.
Other GIS applications showcased at the conference include mobile mapping and field data collection solution, wildlife tracking and portals for disseminating environmental data.
The MEAUC was held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from December 10-12 2012.