Jordan River 521.
(photo credit: Daniel Easterman)
Israeli IT firm Taldor has launched a computerized geographic information system
(GIS) to map treatment of environmental hazards, as part of Friends of the Earth
Middle East’s “Protecting Groundwater” project.
Friends of the Earth, an
Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian NGO that focuses on environmental collaborations
among the three parties, first launched the project in November 2011, to monitor
and minimize risks as well as increase municipal awareness in areas throughout
the Mediterranean Basin. In addition to focusing on communities in the Jordan
Valley, the Palestinian Authority and various other places in Israel and Jordan,
the project also teams up with the southern city of Malaga, Spain, where
discharges of industrial wastewater have become highly problematic.
project receives funding from the European Neighborhood and Partnership
Instrument (ENPI) of the European Union’s European Commission.
new mapping system will initially be used in nine local and regional authorities
in Israel – Jordan Valley Regional Council, the Carmel-Sharon Association of
Towns, Beit She’an, Gilboa, Emek Hefer Regional Council, Baka-Jatt, Mate Yehuda
Regional Council, Sorek Environmental Unit and Tamar Regional
While ENPI is funding the project, divisions of the Water
Authority and the Environmental Protection Ministry are also collaborating in
the program, according to Taldor.
Friends of the Earth and Taldor have
been working on the technology for about five months, and now that it is
complete, municipality project coordinators and volunteers will have real-time
access to their maps and the locations deemed hazardous, said Youval Arbel,
Friends of the Earth Israeli deputy director and manager of the Protecting
Groundwater project, to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
Taldor created the
GIS management system for mapping and computing the geographical features of the
areas involved, employing cloud technology in order to give all of the regional
authorities involved the possibility of receiving support from one and other,
the company said. Meanwhile, a firm called Ecolog Engineering added a layer to
the system that is able to assess groundwater vulnerability based on several
different parameters in each location, according to Arbel.
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individual hazards go completely public on the maps, the municipality
coordinator will have a chance to review the specified location, and mark it as
a “red” untreated site, as a “yellow” site already undergoing remediation, or as
a “green” site, for cases in which the problems have already been eliminated,
“In a few months we hope will be able to put up a lot of
green and yellow colors,” he said.
Protecting Groundwater project
participants in the Palestinian Authority and in Jordan are also using a similar
type of GIS technology, but without the web interface, while Malaga, Spain, will
soon be employing a GIS web interface product similar to that of Taldor,
according to Arbel.
Natan Friedchai, vice president of the Taldor systems
group, stressed the importance his company attaches to working as the
technological partner on this project, which he said “promotes public
environmental interests first and foremost.”
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