ArcNews Online

Winter 2005/2006

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Atlas for GIS—New Esri Distributor in Iraq

The Republic of Iraq Maps Its Future

Ancient Mesopotamia and modern Iraq have seen unimaginable wealth and crippling devastation as their fortunes have waxed and waned since this region, known as Al-Jazirah or The Island, was originally settled more than 6,000 years ago.

Surveying center in Iraq.

In its long history, this fertile area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers has served as an agricultural cornucopia; a trading link between the East and West; a strategic military outpost; and a science, cultural, and religious center. Today, the Al-Jazirah phoenix is once more rising from the ashes to ultimately reclaim its position in the world as a modern Islamic state and industrial powerhouse.

Since 1989, despite a particularly long and stressful period in the country's history, the Republic of Iraq—with the help of Atlas for GIS and Surveying Systems Co. Ltd., a former user and now distributor of Esri software—has continued the arduous task of updating the country's infrastructure maps, while working toward the establishment of national information and GIS centers.

Atlas' persistence has begun to bear fruit with the recent announcement by the country's Ministerial Council of the establishment of a national GIS center in Iraq, as well as counting more than 30 public and private sector clients among its users. Public sector clients include the Mayoralty of Baghdad, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Electricity, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Planning-Department of Statistics, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Water Resources—Department of Survey, Ministry of Water Resources—Digital Mapping Section, National Information Center, and Water Authority of Iraq, as well as various departments in the universities of Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, and Technology.

Comments Dr. Ghazi F. Alfayyadh, Atlas' president and managing director, "We have worked hard, under sometimes difficult conditions, but I believe that our country, and the small part our company is playing in its redevelopment, is poised to step back onto the international stage and take its place as a leader here in the Middle East. Atlas is making extensive efforts to implement GIS technology throughout the public and private sectors, which is invaluable in our country's reconstruction efforts, as well as our concerted effort to expand the use of and training in GIS in our universities. I believe that our new national distributorship status and the support we will receive from Esri and other international distributors will be of strategic importance in helping our country develop professional expertise in a technology that has unlimited potential."

For more information, contact Dr. Ghazi Alfayyadh, Atlas president (e-mail:, Web:

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