The potential of Geographic Information Systems, GIS, in various types of Development and Planning projects is immense. GIS technology helps planners and developers to organize the data and relate them to their spatial associations (spatial imagery system). This provides a powerful means for analyzing, synthesizing information and producing high quality precision for calculation and graphic representation. As urban and regional planners, we should view the GIS as a potential technique for the planning and developing of further urban expansion in the arid lands.
The main purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance and the need of using Geographic Information Systems, GIS, in the development of new settlements in the arid lands. In favor of this purpose, one hypothesis is developed. The hypothesis is that the use of GIS in the development of settlements in arid lands is more powerful than the traditional method because it can handle a lot of planning criteria. Moreover, it can save the very limited resources of arid lands as a result of the GIS’ accuracy.
The hypothesis has been tested theoretically by reviewing some related literature and introducing the features and potentialities of GIS in the field of physical planning and development. In addition, the different applications of GIS are presented, which can help in the development of settlements in arid lands.
The results of this paper should provide the base for introducing new techniques of planning and developing of settlements in arid lands. In addition, it helps the planners and decision-makers in their plans for these areas and avoids both wasting and abusing the limited resources and optimizing their solutions.