UTD Researchers Aid Egypt Control Flooding

Geospatial science methods were used to decision-making about the region in the Sinai Peninsula.


Flash flooding in a coastal mountain region has hampered the Egyptian government’s efforts at developing the area for tourism.

But, researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas has stepped in to help using geospatial science methods to help Egypt avoid flooding in that region.


May Yuan [Photo Courtesy UT Dallas]

“We developed methods in geospatial information sciences (GIS) to combine all the environmental factors associated with flash flooding and created a model to identify the high- and low-risk areas,” said May Yuan, Ashbel Smith Professor of Geospatial Information Sciences, at UT Dallas.

Her research recently was published in the Journal of Arid Environments with co-authors from other universities in the U.S. and Egypt, according to a UT Dallas news release.

Yuan’s study focused on Nuweiba, a town on the Sinai Peninsula’s east coast, and its surrounding area where economic growth is threatened by flooding.

Heavy rain falls in the winter, while summers are hot and dry in the region, the release said.

Satellite imagery was analyzed, field work was conducted, and researchers used other tools, too, to recognize what factors were involved in flooding. The factors included rainfall and runoff patterns, soil types, flooding history, geology, vegetation, erosion, and the steepness of mountains and elevation of land, the release said.

“GIScience is a wonderfully broad field, and a study such as this demonstrates how it can integrate diverse disciplines such as economics, geology, hydrology, and so forth,” said Dr. Denis Dean, dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. “Since real-world problems are almost always interdisciplinary, GIScience is exceptionally well-suited to address these issues.”

Yuan said the research could help officials in Egypt make decisions on flood prevention and land use.

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