x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE address system: Every one of Dubai's 130,000+ buildings now mapped

First phase complete of Dubai's new Geographical Information System, which will make navigating the emirate more easy for visitors to Expo2020.

Dubai Municipality’s Geo Address System (Gas) will assign addresses in the emirate. AP Photo/NASA
Dubai Municipality’s Geo Address System (Gas) will assign addresses in the emirate. AP Photo/NASA

DUBAI // Smart address codes have been allocated to every one of the more than 130,000 buildings in Dubai.

The allocation of the codes marks the completion of phase one of Dubai Municipality’s Geo Address System (Gas), a new move to assign addresses in the emirate.

The codes, which are mapped to the National Coordinates Grid system, can be communicated far more quickly and accurately than providing lengthy street addresses or complicated directions.

The Geographical Information System (Gis) department presented their progress report to the municipality’s technical committee yesterday, which marked its 1,000th meeting yesterday.

The second phase of the Gas’s introduction will involve allocating unique codes to every unit and sub unit in each building to create a 10-digit code for every possible destination in the city.

“Distribution of the address numbers will take time,” said Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality and head of the committee. “We will start implementing the signs by the last quarter of this year. This is a free service we will be offering to the public, which should greatly improve and simplify life for residents of Dubai.

“With this code you can find any building, any street, any park bench in Dubai.”

The 10-digit code can be used in its entirety to pinpoint an exact location, or just the first few digits can be used to identify a broader area.

Apart from assisting in day-to-day activities such as deliveries, the Gas will also be incredibly helpful to civil defence when they are called to respond to emergency situations.

“Civil Defence sometimes does not know how to reach a location. When they finally arrive it might be too late,” said Abdul Hakim Malik, director of the Gis department, at the start of the project.

“The Gas system is minutely accurate compared with other navigation systems to the extent that everyone with a smart device can identify the exact place within a few metres,” he explained.

The project began by creating a national coordinate grid on a digital map and developing applications.

Aluminium plaques with the address number and a scan-able bar code will be attached to every building in the emirate.

“All types of buildings will be covered like government organisations, hospitals, parks, commercial buildings, houses, factories, warehouses, and other structures,” said Mr Malik .

“The bar code has multiple functions,” Mr Lootah explained. “For the resident, you can take a photo of it on your smartphone and then send it to anyone who needs to find that location without having to explain how to get there.

“The other use is for the government bodies, who will be able to obtain data about the building or business and access all their records through this bar code.”

Mr Lootah added that the municipality is working in collaboration with multiple government departments, including the Civil Defence, Dubai Police, and the Roads and Transport Authority to ensure every possible function is accounted for.

The municipality will begin the next phase by applying codes to shops, factories and warehouses.

The team will then move on to assigning codes to apartments and offices in towers, as well as free-standing villas, giving each their own unique coordinates.

“This system will also strengthen the position of Dubai to host Expo 2020 because it will help people from different nationalities and languages to navigate and reach any location in Dubai easily,” said Lootah.

Though the plaques have not been paced yet, residents can already use the application developed for Gas by logging on to www.mylocation.ae.

malkhan@thenational.ae