UAE’s first satellite atlas launched

UAE’s first satellite atlas launched:

By Shafaat Shahbandari, Staff Reporter
Published: Jan 13, 2013 8:11 PM

Dubai: The UAE’s first atlas based on satellite images from DubaiSat 1 has been launched by Emirates Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST).

The atlas, built entirely by a team of Emirati cartographers, engineers and researchers, is the first of its kind in the UAE and uses most updated live images.

From the skyscrapers of Dubai to the emptiest expanse of Rub Al Khali, the atlas covers the entire country and gives a bird’s eye view of every corner of the UAE.

“Our idea is to let people see the recourses we have and to give them a different view about the UAE and in the long run we feel this atlas could be used in schools and universities,” said Khalid Al Suwaidi, assistant researcher at EIAST and a member of the team that compiled the atlas.

The 127 page compilation includes 70 high quality images of 2.5m resolution each, showing various areas of the country in great detail, while a graphic road map compares each image, giving additional information.

“We have chosen the best and most recent pictures out of the archive of 9,000 images that we have, so that people can see the recent developments of the country,” said Ammar Al Muhair, who is the leader of the that worked on the project.

According to EIAST, the images in the atlas are more recent than those found on Google Earth and other websites.

Some of the most striking images in the atlas are of the Ferrari World, Saadiyat Island, Palm Islands and Al Maktoum International Airport.

The task, which took eight months to complete, beginning from April 2012, wasn’t as easy as selecting pictures and printing them.

“We had people from different departments working together. First of all we had to look for images that didn’t have any errors or clouds in them, then we needed to make sure the image is recent and then we processed it. We did this for all 70 pictures one by one and the task wasn’t as easy as it sounds,” said Obaid Al Shehi, another assistant researcher and member of the team.

On a number of occasions more than one image had to be merged together to get the best product out, each covering a distance of 20 square kilometres.

The atlas, which is in Arabic, covers 83,600 square kilometres, and will be out in the market next month.

Jawahir Jassim Al Mansoori, a graphic designer who worked on the atlas page by page since the beginning said: “It was a very hard beginning, especially that I was working alone on such a huge project. But I accepted this as a challenge and I received great support from my colleagues. Since I was the graphic designer, I had put different ideas of how the atlas was going to look like before putting all my ideas in order and started designing the cover which symbolises DubaiSat-1’s position up in space providing the country with all these satellite images. I feel extremely proud of this project which I dedicate entirely to our UAE leadership.”

An English version of the atlas is also in the pipeline, which will be complete with updated images and additional details.