Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography & Urban Planning

First Advisor

Dr. Nazmi Zeidan Saleous

Second Advisor

Dr. Salem Mohammed GhalebIa

Third Advisor

Dr. Marouane Temimi


Sand encroachment is a major problem that affects arid countries and has severe consequences on their infrastructure. It poses a threat to the environment, roads, habitats, farms and plantations thus requiring human intervention for the removal of the encroaching sands. Tracking sand dune movement and sand changes in such regions and studying their trajectories in time is very important. It allows governments to plan better counter measures to prevent their occurrence and minimize their danger.

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi underwent significant socioeconomic changes during the study period, which resulted in an unprecedented boom in population growth, reflected by increase demand for new infrastructures and urban development. Sand movements are accelerated by anthropogenic activities, as witnessed through their encroachment onto farms and interstate roadways. In this study, we used remote sensing data to map sand movement and its effect on urban and agricultural areas.

Using six individual Landsat scenes to create a mosaic for each of the study dates of 1992, 2002, and 2013, we created land cover thematic maps using supervised classification. The resulted maps were checked and evaluated using higher resolution imagery, namely SPOT, IKONOS, and RapidEye. They were then imported into GIS where change analysis was run using the post classification procedure. Change analysis results indicated an increase in sand cover, between 1992 and 2013, by 1.26%. The using of Landsat imagery to track changes in land cover features over a large region and across time proved to be very useful for better understanding of changes, their trajectories, and their causes and impacts.

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