x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Municipality vows to keep up with Dubai's changes

Maps listing new roads, malls and hotels are now available in petrol stations and stores, and will be updated every six months.

Hussain Lootah, the director general of the Dubai Municipality, unfolds a pocket map of Dubai as staff of the survey department look on.
Hussain Lootah, the director general of the Dubai Municipality, unfolds a pocket map of Dubai as staff of the survey department look on.

DUBAI // Billed as accurate, valuable and official guides to the city, three maps released by the Dubai Municipality detail new roads and landmarks and mark out planned developments.

The maps, which will be updated every six months, will also list new services such as malls and hotels. They can be purchased at petrol stations, supermarkets and larger stores. The English versions are currently available, while the Arabic-language editions will be on sale in 10 days.

"We are keen to show the changes in the city and give the right information to residents and visitors," said Hussain Lootah, the Dubai Municipality director general. "This is a dynamic city and things move fast, so it is important to show the new streets and areas and provide correct, accurate information."

The maps come in three sizes and prices range from Dh10 for a pocket-size map to Dh40 for a larger version. The wall-sized map aimed at corporate entities and government agencies costs Dh1,000. The compact version gives details of the Metro routes and highlights areas such as Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Marina. Telephone numbers of consulates, emergency services and hospitals are also listed.

Photographs of the Ras al Khor wildlife sanctuary, the Burj Khalifa and Zabeel Park with bite-sized information about the city's tourist spots are among the features of the colourful maps.

The more detailed fold-out version measures about 118cm by 84cm when opened out and lists hotels and malls in a colour-coded format to easily identify the locations of stores. The wall-size map offers more details, delineating sectors such as farm plots. Mr Lootah spoke of future plans to digitise the maps so as to make the data available online and on mobile phones.

"That is the second stage of the project," he said. "It was a challenge for the team to collect all the data and information for the maps." He declined to set a date for the data to be available electronically.

A team of 60 engineers, surveyors and cartographers spent a year- and-a-half drawing up the guides. Transport experts said the data would be handy for companies that produce navigation systems and equipment.

"It will be very useful information to feed into and update systems," said Haitham Sayed, the marketing manager for International Marketing Services, which distributes the Dalili GPS navigation system. "Official information from the municipality will be more accurate."

The charts show new roads and intersections in the southern New Dubai areas, the Dubai Bypass, the Business Bay crossing, new hotels on Sheikh Zayed Road and parks in downtown areas and Al Barsha.

Dawood al Hajiri, the director of the municipality's planning department, said the planning, geographic information system and survey departments collated the data and linked it with satellite pictures and drawings from private developers.

"What makes this different from other maps is how accurate this information is," he said. "We have made information easy to find for residents and tourists."

Mr al Hajiri said the New Dubai area had witnessed the most development over the past few years in the 4,114 sq km city.

Dubai is divided into nine sectors which are further sub-divided into communities. There were only two sectors, Deira Dubai and Bur Dubai, in the early 1970s and planners then set about plotting the master plan for the city, said a municipality official who asked not to be named.

Thousands of control points, flat brass plates with the logo of the municipality, are fitted across the city to help surveyors plot the areas. The city's borders are also marked with brass pillars to delineate the boundaries.

rtalwar@thenational.ae