Dubai: A Dh2 million project has been launched by Dubai Municipality to give every home and building in the city its own geographical coordinates.
The Municipality aims to divide each commercial and residential area by longitude and latitude coordinates as part of a comprehensive navigation system — to be up and running by April 2013.
Plates will be affixed to homes and buildings across Dubai bearing the coordinates of each location.
The plates will also carry a barcode which can be scanned to give the coordinates.
Residents can then enter the data on a Dubai Municipality website to give their exact location on a map.
They will also be able to feed the figures into Garmin software — either smartphone applications or satellite navigation systems — to pinpoint their location.
In this way, Dubai Municipality aims to ensure residents no longer have to use landmarks when giving directions.
Traditionally, street names are not used to identify locations in the city, with residents opting to use well-known buildings and businesses as markers.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday Hussain Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality, announced the launch of the National Coordinates Grid (NCG) project.
“When giving directions, people start out with landmarks and then direct others to the street name and villa number but it still does not help much.
“The NCG system will be fully functioning in the first quarter of 2013 and will be updated as much as possible, as per the requirement from individuals and companies,” he said.
“In cooperation with [the GPS technology provider] Garmin, we will distribute a special location number and barcode to each and every place and building in the emirate to identify the desired location by a single click on any smart phone, navigator or computer,” Lootah explained.
Abdul Hakim Malek, Director of Geographic Information System Department at Dubai Municipality, added: “We started working on the project a few weeks ago.
“We are now taking the coordinates of every building in Mirdif and after two weeks, expect to move on to Shaikh Zayed Road,” he said.
Malek noted that once the coordinates are recorded in an area, the municipality will then begin to manufacture aluminium plates and afterwards, place them at the entrances of each building.
Later stages of the plan will see individual apartments and offices also given the plates, placed outside each premises and flat.
Malek confirmed that recording each coordinate in an area will take about two weeks, and that the first phase includes residential buildings.
The second phase will cover shops, factories and warehouses.
Phase three will focus on apartments and offices in buildings, giving each their own unique coordinates.
Each phase takes about six to eight months.
According to the municipality, there are 100,000 buildings in the city and 200,000 companies with registered trade licenses.
By the end of the project, all government organisations, hospitals, parks, commercial buildings, houses, factories and warehouses will be provided with the aluminium plates.
Dubai Municipality is also in negotiation with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), and aims to have the co-ordinates plates on all bus stations.
The Municipality’s website, for residents using the system, is www.mylocation.ae.
“For now, we expect to charge commercial premises a minimal fee of about Dh100 for these services online, while it will be free of cost for residents,” he added.