UAE’s MoCCAE leverages drones to aerially map 1,100 km2 of land

The UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) has revealed the results of its national survey following the aerial mapping of 1,100km2 of agricultural land using drones.

The project was completed over two phases, with statistical data gathered from six emirates in the UAE, across 51 different categories, including raw data on farms, greenhouses, soil, and crops, according to the state-run news agency, Wam.

The UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, provided a detailed overview of the project to the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Dr Al Zeyoudi said: “Through leveraging drones for the spatial data collection on farms, we seek to establish an accurate database of actionable statistical information to inform decision making and planning. The scheme will assist us in optimising the allocation of agricultural resources.”

He added: “The initiative, once completed, will place the UAE among the top five countries in the world in terms of the area surveyed using unmanned aerial vehicles, and the first to employ this technology to map as many categories of statistical data.”

Launched in August 2018, the pilot phase involved remote sensing and aerial imagery of Wadi Al-aim in Ras Al Khaimah.

The project used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), covering more than 188km2 in Dubai; 276km2 in Sharjah; 332km2 in Ras Al Khaimah; 52km2 in Ajman; 65km2 in Umm Al Quwain; 135km2 in Fujairah.

Once complete, the project will also help MoCCAE assess the impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector in the UAE, as well as predict the volume of carbon dioxide emissions and waste generated by agricultural activities, which will help devise management plans.

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