Cartographic Modeling of Land Suitability for Industrial Development in the Egyptian Desert

Cartographic Modeling of Land Suitability for Industrial Development in the Egyptian Desert

H.A. Effat M.N. Hegazy

National authority for remote Sensing and Space Sciences, Egypt

31 March 2010
| Citation



Land-use decisions and planning processes deal with large volumes of basic data where technical knowledge must be coordinated with the decision makers’ views of society. This fact makes spatial planning a very complex process. This paper addresses a regional scale zoning issue through cartographic modeling using geographic information science through a case study. It utilizes a theoretical framework that can potentially assist planners in this regard, namely the multicriteria evaluation (MCE) theory. The paper demonstrates an approach that combines geographic information system with MCE techniques for the land-use decision support system on the strategic scale. A national geographic database was established for the desert land of Egypt. Criteria for industrial development of land including the land constraints and potential resources were identified based on selected objectives and strategy proposed by decision makers. Factors were ranked, scaled and assigned a relative importance weight. The constraints were masked out. Running the cartographic model produced the land suitability index for industrial development. The suitability index was further classifi ed into fi ve phases of suitability zones. The result is a zoning map for potential sites for residing industrial-based activities with varying classes of suitability. The applied methodology can provide what-if land-use scenarios based on the strategic objectives and their relative selective set of criteria.


decision support systems, geographic database, geographic information system, land-use strategy, remote sensing, suitability, zoning map


[1] Belka, K.M., Multicriteria analysis and GIS application in the selection of sustainable motorway corridor. Master’s thesis submitted to Linköpings universitet Institutionen för datavetenskap. ISRN-LIU-IDA-D20--05/019—SE, 2005

[2] Heywood, I., Cornelius, S. & Carver, S., An Introduction to Geographical Information Systems, Prentice Hall: Harlow, 2002.

[3] Jankowski, P., Integrating geographical information systems and multiple criteria decision- making methods. International Journal of Geographical Information Systems, 9(3), pp. 251–273, 1995. doi:10.1080/02693799508902036

[4] Voogd, H., Multicriteria Evaluation for Urban and Regional Planning, Pion: London, 1983.

[5] Eastman, E.R.J., IDRISI 32. Guide to GIS Image Processing, volume 2, Clark Lab, Clark University: Worcester, MA, USA, 1999.

[6] Sahoo, N.R., Jothimani, P. & Tripathy, G.K., Multi-criteria analysis in GIS environment for natural resource development. A case Study on Gold Exploration. Online publications cited from GIS,, 2000.

[7] Saaty, T.L., The Analytic Hierarchy Process, McGraw Hill: New York, 1980.

[8] Rapaport, E. & Snickars, F., Integration of environmental risk into the road location analysis: A GIS based case study to minimize environmental impacts, building costs, and traveling time. Not revised version., May 20, 2005.

[9] Grossardt, T., Bailey, K. & Brumm, J., Analytic minimum impedance surface: geographic information system-based corridor planning methodology. Transportation Research Record, No. 1768, pp. 224–232, 2001. doi:10.3141/1768-26

[10] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FA O). Egypt Multipurpose Land Cover Database (Africover),, 2002.

[11] Research Institute for Groundwater (RIGW), National Water Research Center (NWRC). The hydro-geological map of Egypt, scale 1:200,000, 1999.

[12] Ministry of state for the Environment, Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), Department of Nature Conservation, National Biodiversity Unit, Egypt: National Strategy and Action Plan for Biodiversity Conservation, 1998.

[13] Military Survey Department, The topographic map of Egypt, 1995.

[14] Center of Housing and Building Researches, Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development, Egypt, Mines and quarry map of Egypt, 2007.

[15] Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, CONOCO-Coral, The geological map of Egypt, Scale 1:500,000, EGPC, Cairo, 1987.

[16] ESRI, ArcGIS9, Working with Spatial Analyst, ESRI: New York, USA, 2001–2002.

[17] Malczewski, J., GIS and Multicriteria Decision Analysis. John Wiley & Sons: New York, 1999.

[18] McHarg, I.L., Design with Nature, John Wiley & Sons: Garden City, New York, 1969.

[19] Jankowski, P. & Richard, L., Integration of GIS-based suitability analysis and multicriteria evaluation in a spatial decision support system for route selection. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 21, pp. 323–340, 1994. doi:10.1068/b210323

[20] Malczewski, J., GIS-based land-use suitability analysis: a critical overview. Progress in Planning, 62(1), pp. 3–65, 2004. doi:10.1016/j.progress.2003.09.002

[21] Bernhardsen, T., Geographic Information Systems: An Introduction, 3rd edn, Asplan Viak: Norway, 2002.