Geospatial Reference for the UAE

Design and Implementation Planning of an Integrated National Geodetic Reference Frame for the United Arab Emirates.

The Challenge

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) currently has data based on multiple existing legacy geodetic datums and coordinate systems that are in use by different organisations across the country. To allow the UAE to align with the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) Global Geodetic Reference Frame (GGRF) and boost UAE readiness for integration on the international level, the new UAE Federal Geographic Information Centre (FGIC) intends to establish a National Geodetic Reference Frame (NGRF) as per the UN-GGIM standards, to incorporate all of the current geodetic networks in the country into a single cohesive system. This project will design the UAE integrated NGRF program and develop an implementation plan for its execution. 


The project partners were Bayanat, Spatial Vision, Positioning Insights, Curtin University, Collier Geodetic Solutions, Precision Hydrographic Services and Position++. 

The Solution

The primary scope of this project was to prepare a design for the UAE integrated NGRF Program and a plan for its implementation. The design, specifications and implementation methods were aligned with the UN-GGIM GGRF. The Program took advantage of indigenous capacity and ensured buy-in of all key stakeholders, and built the capacity of government staff to manage, support and update the UAE NGRF as required. The Program addressed: 

  • Governance 
  • Geodetic Infrastructure 
  • Policies, Standards and Conventions 
  • Education, Training and Capacity Building 
  • Communication and Outreach 

The approach consisted of: 

  • Establishment of an NGRF working group with the help of FGIC to support the project with information and input from key stakeholders. 
  • Conducting existing situation assessments to develop a comprehensive overview of the current state of geodetic practice and dependence across the UAE. 
  • Conducting requirements analyses to understand the technical and user needs for future geodetic infrastructure – including instruments, technology, data, data repositories, access, analytics, human resources, products and services – required to answer economic, societal and environmental challenges in the UAE. 
  • Preparing UAE NGRF program designs, including Geodetic Infrastructure, Policies, Standards and Conventions, and Education, Training and Capacity Building plus the underpinning Governance, and Outreach and Communication. 
  • Preparing implementation plans and operational models to address the steps that were required to execute the UAE NGRF Program Design. 

The NGRF Program supported a common reference framework for all national geospatial data and survey works in the UAE. It was developed in alignment with the UN-GGIM GGRF methods and standards and other best practices internationally. The program aligns with the UAE Federal Government strategies and plans outlined in their Vision 2021 Agenda, which aims to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world, at the time they celebrate the Golden Jubilee of their formation as a federation. 


Please contact us at or Project Manager Eldar Rubinov at