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UU lays foundations for gulf police stations

May 20, 2004

University of Ulster expertise is shaping the public face of policing in Abu Dhabi, the centre of government and business life in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates (UAE).

For six weeks, Hisham Elkadi, Professor of Architecture at UU, has been working with three senior Abu Dhabi police officers who travelled to Belfast to help finalise a major design project for use in deciding the future lay-out and siting of the emirate's police stations.

Using the Geographic Information System (GIS), a specialised technique in which he has established a respected international reputation, Professor Elkadi and UU associates are close to completing "a computerised spatial mapping" project for the UAE's Ministry of the Interior and the Abu Dhabi Police Department.

GIS is a computer system which assembles, stores and displays data, identified according to their geographical locations. The technology involves unique visualization.

It creates a new type of map which is not time-limited. It creates map-displays and map updates - to reflect changes in data over time - with the flick of a computer mouse.

"Information and communications technology can help to provide a useful decision support tool for the allocation of resources, design and selection of sites. GIS technology has been extensively used in police forces in Europe and United States since the mid 1980s," said Professor Elkadi.

Professor Elkadi and his team have scrutinised a variety of data to map out a template which will provide Abu Dhabi police and their architects with vital information about the amount of space required in the design of police stations, and even guide decision-making as to where they should be built.

"We are looking into the make-up and location of their police stations in the UAE, based on the resources they have," said Professor Elkadi.

"We are looking at crime patterns and their different levels, its traffic accidents and where they occur and lots of other statistics (including population data, level of education in different locales) -- all with the aim of relating them to the spatial arrangements that are necessary in police centres, and even their location across the emirate."

"The Abu Dhabi authorities have given us unprecedented information about life in the country, about the population, trends, statistics."

Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven emirates in the UAE. Its fine architecture of skyscrapers and modern buildings hosts the headquarters of oil-producing companies and international embassies.

It has grown rapidly over the past 20 years into a thriving state that combines modern city life and desert areas.

The three Abu Dhabi representatives, who are senior members of the General Directorate of the Abu Dhabi Police, returned home late last month. Two are architects and the third a civil engineer, and each has the rank of police captain.

While in Northern Ireland to liaise with Professor Elkadi and his team, they attended lectures on the GIS system at the UU.

University of Ulster

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