Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Salem Tssa

Second Advisor

Dr. Hussein Harabsheh

Third Advisor

Dr. Nazmi Saleous


We live in a world full of change as a result of either natural process or human activities. This study focuses on evaluating and monitoring the urban changes of Al Ain city by quantifying and visualizing various aspects of that change between 1972 and 2000. The results of the actual study will serve for effective city planning and decision making process for better life quality of the residents of the city. Rapid changes of the land use and land cover especially built up and impervious areas, make it necessary to involve innovative techniques such as remote sensing and GIS to depict these changes and analyze its dynamics.

In this study remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) were integrated to monitoring and mapping the urban growth of Al Ain city between 1972 and 2000. Landsat MSS, TM and ETM+ for the year 1972, 1990 and 2000 respectively were chosen to study and analyze the urban growth of Al Ain city. Remote sensing techniques have the ability to delineate land cover categories by means of classification process. A hybrid unsupervised-supervised classification approach was used for detecting the changes using multi-sensor, multi-temporal remotely sensed images. Prior knowledge of the study area, unsupervised classification schema concluded to the application of a classification schema consisting of 6 classes: urban, vegetation, sand and gravel, sand dune, lime stone, water bodies and shadow.

Changes in the land cover between successive dates are detected by combining two techniques in a multi stage approach. Post classification comparison and GIS overlay are adopted with given attention to urban areas. The urban change detection is used to identify the pattern of urban growth. Using special metrics like Land Consumption Rate and Land Absorption Coefficient was very helpful to analyze and understand the urban growth pattern. Driving forces behind Al Ain urban growth along with associated impacts on the city were identified, discussed and analyzed. An attempt to predict future trends to help the municipality to plan for better future of the city was investigated. The outcomes from this study are a demonstration of the embedded powerfulness of remote sensing and GIS techniques for studying spatial and temporal changes of land use in general and urban areas in particular. These outcomes reveal that Al Ain city lived through a period of huge and rapid development after the foundation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. The expansion of the city generally occurred at the expense of sand dune, gravel sand and limestone with a high density in areas close to the city centre.