Conversion of Legacy Building Permit Drawings to GIS Database

The project area covers the administrative boundaries of greater Abu Dhabi Municipality, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi Municipality had around 4000 inhabitants in the 1950’s while in 2016 the number of inhabitants is around 1,5 mill. The development of the city has hence been extremely fast with construction of buildings and infrastructure. To keep track of all the plans and development in the city is great challenge.


Datasets related to buildings are being updated on regular interval, such as data on “Unit Level Building Data”. This dataset is generated from Construction Unit Permits Division’s approval of building drawings. Building approvals from 2012 are available on GIS format, but building drawings prior to April 2012 are only available on various non-GIS formats and some only on paper. These non-GIS format approvals need to be converted into GIS database. Updating the base map is a parallel action.

Scope of work

The Scope of Work was in two parts:

  1. Updating of existing building permits GIS data.
  2. Supervision of project implementation.

Purpose of the work

The Client has the following objectives for the project:

  • To update existing building permit GIS data delivery specifications as per the new ADM business requirements
  • To design and develop a comprehensive project plan for converting all legacy building drawings either in hardcopy or softcopy into GIS database a s per developed building GIS data delivery specifications
  • To supervise the implementation of the project by proper monitoring and controlling practices.

Description of services provided

In the first stage of the project it was needed to demonstrate data conversion methods for different building permit data, taking samples for each type of dataset. For buildings that did not have any available records, the consultant had to recommend appropriate surveying methodology to capture unit level building data.

Furthermore, tender documents were produced and tenders submitted were evaluated. An evaluation report was submitted as a basis for the Client to select contractor.

At a starting point, to determine a process for data conversion four problems had to be solved:

  • Define the objectives you are trying to achieve and design a new or modify an existing process to meet that objective
  • Manage the transition from how thigs are being done today to how you want them to be done in the future
  • Smoothly operationalise the new or altered process
  • Find out what to do with the backlog of work resulting from expanding data models and requirements.

Deliverables are:

  • Consolidated technical report from Part 1 tasks
  • Request for Proposals and related processes for contractor services
  • Bid analysis and recommendation report
  • Month-by-month project supervision

Project data

Project ID 536862
Project Title Conversion of Legacy Building Permit Drawings to GIS Database
Fields of Expertise Geomatics, digital transformation
Deliverables Design and tender documents for conversion of building permit drawings
Project Duration 2015 – ongoing (planned until 2017)
Project Location Abu Dhabi Municipality, United Arab Emirates
Project Manager AVS Shankar
Client Abu Dhabi Municipality
Client’s contact person Mr Giridhar Reddy Kolan, Spatial Data Division, Abu Dhabi Municipality
Project value USD 500 000




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