Members of Masdar Institute’s YFEL program explore satellite remote sensing and GIS techniques

June 18, 2014 2:23 pm

A total of 20 members of Masdar Institute of Science of Technology’s Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) program explored new vistas in the technology and applications of satellite remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) for mapping and monitoring the natural environment during a course in the UAE.

The satellite and earth observation course titled ‘Remote Sensing and GIS’ was part of the year-long schedule of special courses offered in technology, policy and leadership for the personal and professional development of YFEL members. Led by two faculty members Dr. Prashanth Marpu, and Dr. Marouane Temimi, Associate Professors from Water and Environmental Engineering program, Masdar Institute, the course covered a range of remote sensing and GIS tools and techniques used to address environmental issues at local, regional and global scales.

The first module provided participants with an understanding of remote sensing and its applications for mapping and monitoring the natural environment, while the second module offered students an introduction to GIS and its applications in spatial analysis of location-enabled data. The third module included a visit to the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST), a strategic initiative that aims to inspire scientific innovation, technological advancement and sustainable development in the UAE.

A report from market intelligence and research firm BCC says the global environmental monitoring business that includes sensors, monitoring equipment, ancillaries, network equipment, and larger remote systems, such as satellite and GIS, is expected to perform strongly in the coming years. The overall sales for environmental sensor and monitoring technology were valued at $13.2bn in 2014 and recent industry analysis shows that the market will grow to approximately $17.6bn in 2019, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9% for the five year period.

Zainab Al Ali, Program Manager, YFEL, said, “Each course organized during the year is designed to equip YFEL members with the expertise required for working independently. The satellite and earth observation course benefited participants in terms of hands-on experience in satellite data analysis, digital image processing, and generation of maps and manipulation of layers of spatial information. We are grateful to the UAE leadership for their consistent support to this outreach program and hope the YFEL members will use the techniques they have acquired during the course at the workplace as well as for pursuing higher learning.”

Participants were provided with hands-on experience in satellite data analysis, digital image processing, and generation of maps and manipulation of layers of spatial information. Technical areas such as multi-spectral and multi-temporal analysis, supervised and unsupervised classification, change detection and GIS topics were also part of the course.

Sultan Al Sallami, YFEL member, said, “I am extremely glad that I attended this workshop as it was so interesting and useful. I had some background information about satellites, sensors and electromagnetic radiation but remote sensing and satellites image processing was a very good addition to my knowledge.”

Another YFEL member Aneesa Ijaz Rabbanii felt that technology has come a long way and GIS can act as an advance alert system to predict natural disasters based on probabilistic calculations. “GIS can also be useful as a monitoring and tracker system to ensure smooth running and planning. In academics it can help study environments such as deserts or marine areas that can only be observed otherwise by air. We studied the geological evolution of the Oman-UAE mountains, an extremely tiring feat if done on foot, but we accomplished this within a matter of weeks with remote sensing techniques,” she said.

Part of the Masdar Institute’s Outreach Program, YFEL offers young professionals and students from the UAE and abroad an opportunity to become more engaged in finding solutions to the world’s biggest challenges – achieving energy efficiency and tackling climate change. It also aims to bring young professionals closer to government representatives, business leaders and other organizations active in the area of alternative energy and sustainability.

For more information contact:
Bader Al Zarei
Director – Communications
Public Affairs Department
Tel: +97128109372