x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Smartphone app finds location of government housing plots

The app, named Plot Locator, will save people from having to book a Dubai Municipality surveyor to show them the land as well as tell them the specifics of what it can be used for.

DUBAI // Emiratis who are assigned plot numbers under the government housing scheme can now use a smartphone app to check its exact location.

The app, called Plot Locator, will save people from having to book a Dubai Municipality surveyor to show them the land as well as tell them the specifics of what it can be used for.

It will also have uses for real estate agents, who will be able to link a URL with a plot location to an advert.

“Sometimes when you just have a number, it’s difficult to know where the plot is, and what the land use is,” said Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality.

“Now it’s really easy. You can just enter the number and you’ll see the aerial view with the clear boundaries of the land as well as for what use the plot has been allocated.

“The government is allocating plots for locals, but a lot of them don’t know where those plots are. They come to us and we have to send a surveyor to show them, this is costing us a lot of time and money.”

He said the municipality is inundated with requests related to the 2,000 new plots allocated every year to UAE nationals, as well as the many hundreds more that are regularly bought and sold.

The app, which is also available online or at kiosks at municipality centres, includes a map and aerial photos.

It also has great potential for real estate firms, said Marwan bin Ghalita, the director general of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority.

“I think it’s going to increase transparency and a lot of real estate agents will find a quick way to find zoning regulations on anything,” he said. “Feasibility studies will be easy.

“In addition, the real estate agent can put a URL on any new listing. They can give an exact location for the plot without anyone telling you where to go. It will help buyers and it will also make it easier for agents to sell land.”

The app is available at plotlocator.dm.gov.ae, and will be soon free to download within the iDubai app. It will later be developed to include a feature that enables the user to take a picture of an area of land and upload it to the server, which will then identify a plot number.

Dawood Al Hajiri, director of the planning department at the municipality, said the app was unique.

“The features of this smart service are amazing to the extent that it literally beats the entire world in the field of urban planning,” he said.

mcroucher@thenational.ae