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Monday, October 15, 2018

Jordan launches MEGA-J, a Geodatabase for Antiquities

Qasr Amra Audience Hall. Qasr Amra Audience Hall. Photo: Cybjorg, Flickr

The Jordanian Department of Antiquities (DoA), announce the launch today of the Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities, Jordan – known as MEGA_J – an Arabic-English, web-based geographic information system (GIS) that aims to standardise and centralise information on archaeological sites throughout the country into a single system.

“The preservation of Jordan’s archaeological heritage depends upon a comprehensive understanding of historic site locations, dimensions, and their key characteristics, but the boundaries of ancient cities and sites are increasingly at risk from a range of threats including tourism and urban encroachment,” said Dr. Ziad Al-Sa’ad, Director General of the DoA. “The database will greatly facilitate the work of the DoA staff, Jordanian scholars and academic colleagues worldwide, and will play an important role in preserving Jordan’s archaeological treasures.”

MEGA-J will allow the DoA to assess the potential impact of projects such as construction of buildings, roadways, and pipelines on or near archaeological sites. This particular encroachment risk is especially relevant in Jordan today due to the recent influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees, regional investment in the country, and the resulting boom in development.

Importantly, MEGA-J will enable the DoA to coordinate heritage site data with other national authorities, such as ministries dealing with infrastructure development, agriculture, and tourism, as well as provincial and municipal governments, and better track World Heritage site requirements.

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