The Road to the Happiest City on Earth

Harnessing location data to accelerate innovation in Dubai

Dubai Municipality has a clear ambition to make Dubai the happiest city in the world in all aspects. As one of the fastest growing cities in the world, it is constantly evolving to accommodate new areas for retail, business, and services every day. This rapid and purposeful development is contributing to the city’s ongoing reputation as a desirable place to live and work. 



Ensuring the city grows in ways that are efficient and serve its citizens, relies on having consistent, world class location data that can be seamlessly captured and put to use. Dubai’s GIS Centre Department (GISCD) is supporting Dubai Municipality in this goal through the provision of geospatial data.

The partnership between GISCD and Ordnance Survey so far has outlined a focused route to maximise the use of geospatial data in Dubai. With this roadmap defined, these organisations are now progressing the journey from establishing Dubai’s geospatial maturity, all the way to the beginning stages of designing and trialling new technologies. This project is supporting the acceleration of innovation for the best outcomes for Dubai’s citizens.


GISCD, with the support of Ordnance Survey, is evolving the tools and skills to apply some of the most state-of-the-art mapping techniques in the world. This will expand on GISCD’s own capabilities in harnessing geospatial science for innovation and will span data management capabilities, and AI-based automation such as Remote Sensing and Automatic Feature Extraction (AFE). Building these robust systems relies on location data that is consistently high-quality, up-to-date and authoritative for use by stakeholders. By outlining the best tools to use and supporting the evolution of world-leading technical skills, GISCD and Ordnance Survey have provided a strong position for pioneering the use of geospatial data in new technologies and applications. 

Dubai landscape


The partnership between GISCD and Ordnance Survey has so far worked to establish high location data standards for collection and management of geospatial information in Dubai. This includes policies on data quality and planning.

It has also worked to make this data more accessible. Through more efficient sharing of location insights with the professionals that need it, Dubai can ensure its more effective use for public services.

The importance of bringing both domestic and international stakeholders on this journey has been highlighted throughout this project. GISCD, supported by Ordnance Survey experts, enhanced routes to share and deploy data in new and innovative ways, whilst bringing agencies and entities into an integrated network.

The partnership is helping Dubai to push the limits of location data intelligence in a sustainable and effective way, by establishing geospatial technologies knowledge sharing channels. These will help to ensure knowledge can be successfully exchanged and Dubai can build its own capacity as an international leader, now and into the future.

The advancements achieved over the course of this collaboration will be of immense value to the citizens of Dubai and to Dubai’s continued position as a city that the world looks to for technological vision, leadership, and excellence in citizen-centric services.

"Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and the GISCD strategy will provide an up-to-date ‘digital twin’ of the city. The extended relationship with Ordnance Survey through the service centre project will support this as well as enable us to reach Dubai Government’s aspiration – making Dubai the happiest city in the world in all aspects."

Eng. Maryam Obaid Al Muhairi, CEO - Buildings Regulation & Permits Agency

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