Investigating the current status of geospatial data and urban growth indicators in Jordan and Irbid municipality: implications for urban and environmental planning


The increasing levels of urbanization with intensive use of resources became a common problem across all countries. Jordan is a country with limited resources that require periodic assessment and frequent monitoring. The geospatial data, maps and urban growth indicators are fundamental requirements to monitor and evaluate cities expansion, development and resources use. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to investigate the availability and accessibility of geospatial data needed for city’s urban planning research and calculate recent urban growth indicators for Greater Irbid Municipality (GIM). All National governmental institutions were visited and surveyed. Landsat-8 images, geographic information system, classification workflow in ENVI-5 and statistical methods were used to assess selected urban growth indicators for GIM. The results showed that only one-fourth of Jordan national authorities use spatial data for urban planning. Researchers are expected to face complexities in identifying the available national geospatial data, accessing and acquisition of the available data with sufficient accuracy and comprehensiveness. The GIM showed lack of certain geospatial data (land use categories, population and built-up densities). These data were calculated, and results showed that the green, urban, open space densities for the year 2015 were 49, 25 and 26%, respectively. The population and built-up densities relative to the urban area was 7879 capita/km2 and 20%, respectively. Therefore, the GIM is a dense city and its land use categories need to be monitored. Funds are needed to develop complete, comprehensive and accurate national geodata infrastructure that are governed with policies and regulations to facilitate researchers’ mission to support sustainability.

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This research was supported by European Union (EU)-funded project “Improving the local governance processes through exchange of good practices, pilots and training in geospatial technologies/LOCAL- SATS.” The LOCAL-SATS Project is co-funded by the ENPI CBC MED Programme, which is the financing instrument of the new European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) for the 2007–2013 period aiming at reinforcing cooperation between the EU and partner countries regions placed along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is being implemented from late December 2013 through the end of 2015.

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Correspondence to Salman D. Al-Kofahi.

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Al-Kofahi, S.D., Jamhawi, M.M. & Hajahjah, Z.A. Investigating the current status of geospatial data and urban growth indicators in Jordan and Irbid municipality: implications for urban and environmental planning. Environ Dev Sustain 20, 1067–1083 (2018).

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  • Geospatial data
  • GIS
  • Indicators
  • Sustainable development
  • Urban planning