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GeoInformation for Sustainable Urban Management and Resilience: A Program for Capacity-Building and Outreach


“GeoInformation for Sustainable Urban Management and Resilience,” is designed to promote the use of geospatial tools and information for decision-makers in medium to large cities (defined as cities with populations between 350,000 to 2 million) in the developing world. The program goal is to improve the efficiency and sustainability of service delivery in the burgeoning urban centers of these regions.

The program will support several types of activities including: (1) training workshops for urban professionals in the use of geospatial tools and information; (2) grants to middle and large size cities to facilitate information collection and the application of geoinformation in order to increase management capacity; and (3) research and roundtables on topics linked to global urban sustainability.

Program funding comes from a public-private partnership. Current partners include the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), Trimble Navigation, Ltd., and the Association of American Geographers (AAG). As the program expands additional partners will be sought from other U.S. Government Agencies, international organizations, non-government organizations, the private sector, and foundations.

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The program is planned for implementation in developing regions worldwide. Currently, projects are underway in the Middle East-North Africa Region (MENA).

The initial project was a five day workshop (July 16-20, 2006) in Amman, Jordan, attended by fifty professionals representing 10 countries. It was structured to help urban planners, policy-makers and technical experts apply geospatial tools to issues affecting their rapidly growing cities. The workshop provided training in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS). It also provided an opportunity for planning experts and policy-makers to discuss how geospatial tools and geoinformation are used in their countries to address a broad range of urban management and planning issues including water quality, sanitation and waste disposal, food safety, transportation, and energy efficiency.

The second project is a four-day conference and worskhop in Cairo, Egypt. This U.S.-Egypt workshop scheduled for June 14-17, 2010 is designed to promote the application of geospatial tools and information to improving the quality of decisions through integration of information and coordination of activities. The event also focuses on enhancing the use of small satellites for remote sensing in order to improve human conditions in developing countries.

The four-day workshop has the following specific objectives:

  • To provide a forum for participating Egyptian policy-makers to discuss with international, regional and local experts the use of geospatial tools and information to address a broad range of planning and management issues;
  • To identify research questions and research projects of mutual interest in order to promote future collaboration between U.S., Egyptian and international scientific stakeholders;
  • To present results, analysis, and directions for the use and application of small satellite data, specifically relating to Egyptian satellite EgyptSat-1 and similar category satellites;
  •  To provide current information on GIS and GPS technology and their application in Egypt in the area of sustainable development.

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Principal Program Contacts:  

Fernando R. Echavarria, Ph.D., U.S. Department of State, tel. 202-663-2395, email:

Marsha S. Goldberg, Ph.D., Association of American Geographers,tel. 202-234-1450,

Candida Mannozzi, Association of American Geographers, tel. 202-234-1450,email:

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