Original paper

Environmental risk management in the Region of Safi , Morocco

Löwner, Ralf; Theilen-Willige, Barbara; El Bchari, Fatima; Charif, Abdessamad; Aït Malek, Halima


A critical necessity to achieve international standards in natural hazard management, sustainable development and land management is to monitor all natural resources, problems and potentialities of a region. Morocco is facing miscellaneous natural hazards presenting all serious risks, especially earthquakes, flash floods, storm surge, and tsunami waves. The rapid, demographic growth, the economic development, extensive farming, urban expansion and the vulnerable infrastructure further increase this risk. In order to answer to these problems, a three-year project with the contribution of the bilateral Moroccan-German Programme of Scientific Research (PMARS) from the Moroccan Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (ENSSUP) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Research Centre (DLR) as project sponsors, will implement a knowledge pool and a risk management centre for natural hazards at the Cadi Ayyad University, Safi (Morocco). GeRiSa (Gestion des risques de l’environnement dans la région de Safi) addresses fundamental scientific, environmental and anthropological problems of national importance and social relevance. The aim is a regional real-time geoinformation system with worldwide access via Internet and interdisciplinary dynamic content enabling the communication between scientists, technicians, policy makers and the public. Due to significant improvement during the last years, sophisticated free geospatial software tools provide desktop solutions for data editing and analysis (e. g.; QGIS, GRASS, etc. ), spatial database management systems (e. g. PostgreSQL/PostGIS), and Internet map server applications (e. g. the UMN MapServer project). In order to gain sustainability and a certain independence from further funding, licence problems or private enterprises and big corporations, the information infrastructure and land management system as well as all analyse and modelling investigations are realised with these Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) implementing the standards of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). The experience and knowledge gained in this project will be a source for technology transfer and policy decisions and could serve for similar projects as one example for bridging the digital divide in Africa.


FLOSS technology (free/libre & open source software); geospatial software tools; web-based information system; remote sensing; risk managementlandslideflood eventsdesertificationearthquake