Applications of Space Techniques for Sustainable Development in West Asia

  • Ait Belaid, M., Belaid, M.,


This paper presents the state of the art in terms of operational applications of space techniques in West Asia, particularly in the fields of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS), Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and Communications. The developed methodology is composed of three phases: 1) Assessment of Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI); 2) Evaluation of Space Technique Applications (STA); and 3) Education of Qualified Human Resources (QHR) .The assessment of Spatial Data Infrastructure highlighted the necessity to create a West Asia Geodetic System (WAGES). It also showed the development of earth observation satellite systems by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and recently by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). There are a great number of GIS and RS Symposia and Workshops held regularly. Many research institutions, centers for studies and universities have introduced geomatics sciences in every days life to support the decision making process. Space techniques were used to conduct development projects in collaboration with other organizations at both national and regional levels: AGEDI conducted by UAE in partnership with UNEP, REWARD by IUCN, and Arabian Peninsula Regional Programme by ICARDA, Coastal and Marine Action Plans by PERSGA and ROPME. GRID Database and Global Environmental Outlook (GEO) Reports were established by UNEP. World Bank & UNESCO have also supported some projects in the region.The review of space education showed that there is one United Nations Regional Center for Space Sciences and Technology Education in India for Asia and Pacific countries. The review also showed that only 4 West Asian countries out of 69 countries are member states of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). Geomatics education is provided mainly by the Arabian Gulf University, the UAE University and Al-Balqa Applied University in Jordan. Aerospace engineering is offered by the countries of KSA, UAE, Lebanon and Jordan. In conclusion, space techniques along with classical methods are being used in West Asia for sustainable development, depending on the needs at both national and regional levels to find out adequate solutions for natural resource management, environmental monitoring, meteorological forecasting, urban and regional planning, hazards and crisis management.