Dubai Municipality (DM) has launched the Soil Map Project, an emirate-wide initiative that it claims is the Middle East’s largest smart geological project.
The Soil Map Project will involve the production of interactive soil maps of each area in Dubai.
All soil maps and extracted survey data will then be stored in a centralised database, which will be accessible to those planning large projects, such as dams, bridges, tunnels, and skyscrapers.
Commenting on the potential benefits of the Soil Map Project, DM’s director general, Eng Hussain Nasser Lootah, said: “The [Soil Map Project’s] valid uses are particularly significant because of the importance of maps in the design and construction of buildings.
“Geological studies [have to be conducted] before the establishment of large projects, such as dams, bridges, tunnels, and high-rise towers. It’s also important to provide comprehensive records supported with maps of each area in the Emirate of Dubai in a central and unified database,”
Lootah noted that the project also aims to facilitate the use of interactive soil maps in the study an analysis of soil-related data, such as soil type, soil layers, groundwater levels, and chemical and physical properties.
The Soil Map Project’s wider objectives include the simplification of work procedures, the reduction of paper consumption, the conservation of natural resources, and the reduction of per capita consumption of gasoline. As such, the initiative is in keeping with DM’s Zero Visit strategy.
“[The project will save the] time, effort, and money of real estate agents, and [help] employees to retrieve the data and carry out the necessary analysis,” Lootah added. “It [will also contribute by] providing two-dimensional soil maps, [and] correct soil report data in the unified central database.”
Eng Maryam Al Muhairi, director of DM’s geographic information system (GIS) department, said: “All the data of the soil reports in the municipality is on paper; there is no electronic system of soil data, and the soil reports are checked and approved manually. Hence, the proposal was to convert the soil report data from paper to digital, and to design a system for the automatic data entry of soil and the automatic checking of data, as well as the design of a soil data extraction system in the form of interactive maps showing soil layers, soil tolerance, and chemical properties of soil and water.
“The project [will also produce maps] showing the level of groundwater at the time of taking the soil sample,” she added.
The Soil Map Project’s data entry system will be introduced to contractors and consultants accredited by and registered with DM through training workshops. This approach will ensure proper use of the system, according to Al Muhairi.
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