Association of American Geographers
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GeoInformation for Sustainable Urban Management

The AAG was part of a capacity-building program designed to promote the use of geospatial tools and information for decision-makers in medium to large cities. Projects were focused on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region with wider implementation planned for developing regions worldwide.


The world’s population is increasingly dwelling in urban areas. While a number of mega cities receive considerable attention because of the challenges posed by a population of over 10 million, a vast proportion of the world’s urban dwellers are in medium to large cities, defined as having populations between 350,000 and 2 million.

Providing services to such urban areas is no simple task for administrators and policy makers. The goal of the GeoInformation for Sustainable Urban Management and Resilience program was to demonstrate the potential of geospatial tools and information in improving the efficiency and sustainability of service delivery in the burgeoning urban centers in areas including water quality, sanitation and waste disposal, food safety, transportation, and energy efficiency.

This program was a public-private partnership involving 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 AAG, as well as regional partners such as the Egyptian National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences.


The initial project was a five day workshop held in July 2006 in Amman, Jordan. It was attended by 50 professionals – urban planners, policy makers and technical experts – representing 10 countries. Participants received training in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and discussed how geospatial tools and geoinformation could be used in their countries to address a broad range of urban management and planning issues.

The second project was a four day conference and workshop, entitled “Space Technology and Geo-information for Sustainable Development” was sponsored by the US-Egypt Joint Science and Technology Fund and was held in June 2010 in Cairo, Egypt. This provided a forum for participating Egyptian policy-makers to discuss with international, regional and local experts the use of geospatial tools and information to improving the quality of decisions across a broad range of planning and management issues. The event also focused on enhancing the use of the data generated by small satellites in order to improve human conditions and promote sustainable development. Look at the papers and presentations and photos from the event.