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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
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 
U.S. Partner:  Magaly Koch, Boston University
Project Dates: May 2012 - December 2013 

Project Overview

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.
Major Project Results
  • Four technical and scientific meetings were held between Egyptian research teams to determine the study area
  • Two training courses – “GPR Survey and Data Analysis and Modeling” and “Spectro-radiometer Survey and Data Analysis and Imaging”
  • Expressed interest from the Egyptian Ministry of Resources to use project results and data in the exploration of underground water.
  • Two publications and two presentations at international conferences

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