Abu Dhabi: Finding your favourite restaurant or telling the civil defence the location of an emergency you witnessed will soon become easier in the UAE with the help of a new unified address system that will uniquely identify each location.
The address system is being developed by the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA), the umbrella body for municipalities in Abu Dhabi emirate. It was approved by the Executive Committee of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council last week, shortly after the new standards received federal approval.
Addresses on the new system will include the building number, street name, city name, the emirate, the assigned postal code and the country, Dr Abdullah Al Beloushi, executive director of land and property management at the DMA, told Gulf News.
“The absence of a unified address system has previously made it difficult to locate places, and this new system will aim to solve these issues,” he added.
Earlier, addresses in Abu Dhabi were established based on a district-oriented system.
“This older system, mainly used by engineers and utility companies, required people to know and remember various city districts. Moreover, many streets were only numbered, and so streets in different districts had the same number. The addresses were too complicated for ordinary people, especially tourists,” Dr Beloushi said.
The process of implementing new addresses will take about 30 months in Abu Dhabi emirate. It will involve verifying building numbers for new and existing structures, and assigning numbers wherever required.
Another challenging aspect will be the unified naming of streets.
“Initial studies have shown that there are about 12,000 streets in Abu Dhabi emirate,” said Ahmad Al Mazroui, project manager for addressing, signage and geographic names at the DMA.
“Some streets already have formal names, such as Shaikh Zayed Street and Khaleej Al Arabi Street. Others with only numbers need unique names,” Al Mazroui said.
A committee chaired by Shaikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, has therefore approved 1,309 more names to be used for streets in Abu Dhabi emirate. These will be assigned by the relevant municipalities shortly.
This committee will also provide final approval for all other street names, Al Mazroui said.
The new address system also involves the development of an address standards manual for the UAE.
“A version was first developed for Abu Dhabi emirate. This was streamlined to reflect the needs of the UAE and approved federally last year by the Ministry of Environment and Water,” Dr Al Beloushi explained.
A federal decree which is expected to be issued this year by the ministry will make it mandatory for all emirates to follow the same system, he said.
Within Abu Dhabi, the DMA has already begun on a pilot project to establish unified addresses in two areas in Abu Dhabi city, namely Al Falah residential area and Mariah Island.
The pilot will run for roughly four months, and its results will be used to direct the progress of the system in other areas, as well as to develop a geographic navigational electronic system that will be available to all.