Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)
Spectral soil mapping for agricultural land development in El- Gallaba Plain, Western Desert, Egypt
PI: El Sayed Abbas Zaghloul, National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences
US Partner: Magaly Koch, Boston University
Project Dates: May 2012 - April 2013
Ensuring food security and sustainable growth are among the top priorities of the Egyptian government. Major programs have been undertaken in the last decades to relieve population pressure along the narrow Nile Valley, increase Egypt’s arable land, and generate new employment opportunities, especially for young people. One significant step toward accomplishing these goals is the selection of suitable sites for urban and agricultural development. Remote sensing technology has made timely and spatially explicit information gathering possible with a wide variety of sensors operating in the optical and microwave region of the solar spectrum. Despite the increasing level of sophistication of these sensors, field information is a required component of any remote sensing study to ensure proper calibration and validation of data.
The work to be carried out with support from PEER links with an existing U.S.-Egyptian project involving field surveys (including ground penetrating radar and soil and water sampling for lab analysis) in the El-Gallaba Plain, bounded in the east by the River Nile and in the west by the scarp face of the Sin El-Kaddab Plateau. Although soil maps exist for this region from the time when the Aswan High Dam was constructed in the 1960s, these maps do not cover the area in sufficient detail. The project will address this problem by producing a detailed surface sediment and soil map that will provide a basis for assessing and monitoring soil types and conditions and their suitability for urban and agricultural development. To prepare the map, the researchers will conduct a spectral soil mapping campaign in conjunction with other ongoing field surveys. The project will ultimately result in the creation of a spectral library of representative surface materials to be used in conjunction with present and future satellite sensors to spatially map the distribution of soils and surface sediments and assess their suitability for agriculture and other land development plans. The library will be made available to the public and used for a training workshop in spectral mapping techniques.
Summary of Recent Activities
Led by Prof. Zaghloul on the Egyptian side and Prof. Koch on the U.S. side, the team completed a preliminary soil and land cover classification of the study area and compiled a preliminary geological map during the first quarter of 2013. Two technical meetings were held to organize and prepare for field trips in January 2013 with Prof. Sayed Arafat, the team leader for field spectra measurements at NARSS; Prof. Helmi Greish, team leader of the geophysical study group from Suez Canal University; and Dr. Ahmed Gabir, team leader of the ground-penetrating radar study group from Port-Said University. During the first field trip, the team took 400 measurements in four areas. During the second field trip, they took about 800 measurements in 20 areas, with 31 samples taken for physiochemical analysis. In addition, the team organized an outreach workshop to explain their PEER project’s objectives, methodology, and activities, with 23 participants attending.
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