With expansion in the fields of urbanization, technical development and industrialization, Qatar faces the challenge of advancing urban and industrial development while ensuring effective safety and environmental management. Whether assessing environmental quality, the impact of a metro system, or emergency response planning, decision making relies on the integration of disparate sources of data. Geospatial referencing provides a unifying framework from which civil engineering, public policy and research decisions can be made within a web-based environment. The foundation of a geospatial reference system should be the surface geology of the country and its marine habitats. In addition to bedrock geology, the database should include features such as lineaments, drainages, land movement studies, karst features and soil types. Marine data include biota, sediment types, water quality, hydrodynamic data, and ecological sensitivity. In an arid climate, where water resources are key considerations, it is important to have a consistent geological framework for both surface and near surface geology. Accordingly, the near surface, aquifers should have a sequence stratigraphic analysis. Within a web-based infrastructure, geospatial data can be accessible to many users with access controls set by data owners and can be appropriated to user needs. Such a geodatabase mapping tool may combine 3 functions: 1) database/resource-a query tool for government, industry and the public, 2) an evaluation tool allowing the end user forward modeling/impact assessment and cause/effect analysis capability, 3) a communication tool for decision making--where results from a query may be circulated to a linked forum of specialists for consideration. The emergence of web-based, spatial referencing GIS tools shows great promise in many key aspects of public policy and research, including data storage, data analysis, and decision making. The vision is the implementation of integrated diverse multi-scale, multi-disciplinary spatial data from geological rock samples to cutting edge multi-spectral satellite imagery for use in solving complex geological, geophysical, geotechnical and environmental problems.


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