ArcNews Online

Fall 2006

GIS-Based Sustainable Cities Workshop for Middle East Users

In July 2006, InfoGraph, Esri's distributor in Amman, Jordan, hosted a well-received five-day workshop on GeoInformation for Sustainable Cities for nearly 50 GIS technical experts and urban policy makers at both the municipal and national levels. The comprehensive agenda of the workshop focused on harnessing geospatial technologies—the synergy of GIS, GPS, earth observation, and Web-based mapping tools—to address enhanced decision support for managers and policy makers that work on urban infrastructure.

The workshop examined a wide variety of GIS applications related to urban issues, including water management, transportation, monitoring and upgrading slums, housing, and food safety, among others. It included three days of technical training for IT experts on the use of GIS software and GPS and a two-day plenary for both the technical experts and policy makers. It was attended by municipal representatives from the Middle East and North African region, including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, West Bank Gaza, and Yemen. Several ministries from the government of Jordan also participated, including the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, Greater Amman Municipality, Ministry of Public Works and Housing, and Water and Infrastructure.

The event was organized by a U.S. public-private partnership that included Trimble Navigation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, and Esri. The workshop was organized and facilitated by the International City/County Management Association.

The group agreed that there was a significant need for strategic regional cooperation for GIS urban applications, as well as additional GIS workshops in the region that would help governments make better use of geoinformation technology in decision making. With that in mind, the group agreed to create a regional network of GIS users for urban management.

The Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi, through the Abu Dhabi Global Environment Data Initiative, the Arab Town Organization, the Greater Amman Municipality, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, and others, offered to provide continual support to a Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regionwide network of professionals within municipalities and agencies focused on the use of geoinformation for sustainable cities and has offered to host the first conference of the MENA regional network in Abu Dhabi in 2007.

More Information

For more information, contact Fernando R. Echavarria, the U.S. Department of State (e-mail:

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