The Use of GIS and RS Techniques in Studying Current Land Use in Orontes Basin

Hamsa Khayer
General Commission for Scientific Agricultural Research-
Administration of Natural Resources Research
Faculty of Agriculture, Damascus University,


Orontes basin is the most important agricultural area in Syria. It covers a large part of country’s agricultural needs, however it faces soil degradation and low  productivity in some parts, in addition to land misuse in others.
This research addresses the current land use in a part of Orontes basin (the area locating between Hama and Homs) by using Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS), and it creates relevant data bases and maps. The study area is estimated to 100.000 hectares. The study lasted for two years. The work was divided into the following stages:
(a) collecting data;
(b) making field trips;
(c) checking-up and computerizing data;
(d) synthesizing maps;
(e) conducting geometric corrections;
(f) preparing data-bases and digitizing maps;
(g) interpreting and analyzing aerial images, and preparing land use map;
(h) classifying lands and identifying their uses.
Once the research completed, it has been demonstrated that the current land use in some locations was unfeasible. Considering analysis results of soil samples, soil profile description forms, soil degradation was remarkable in some locations and this is attributed to soil erosion, soil pollution, or nutrients exhaustion. Given the Index of Productivity (IP) it has been revealed that the productivity was good in 24 profiles, medium in 12, poor in 4 and excellent in one.