3D Map of Fujairah – Project 2

On my second long weekend in Abu Dhabi, after I had explored Dubai, I went to a more new area of the UAE – Fujairah. Although, not as big or as popular as the cities on the West coast of the UAE, Fujairah is quite well developed but still has elements from before. Firstly, it is not very densely build yet, although there are a lot of construction sites. This results in more open air areas and thus emphasises the lack of human presence, generally quite common for the UAE. It is very tranquil, especially in contrast with Dubai, and there aren’t many commercial attractions. There are however, a number of historical locations such as forts, museums, archeological sites, and a heritage village.

The reason I went all the way to the other side of the UAE is that I wanted to dig deeper into the life before the oil and the money, when the economy was pearls and air conditioning didn’t exist. Fujairah was so far given me the best insights into that life, for two reasons. The contrasting underdevelopment supported with an influence on history. I visited almost all of the cultural and historical places except for the bullfighting arena. I learned about the people who lived there 7000B.C. or 3000B.C. and how they lived. I saw some of the lives of the pearls, the houses and dresses that people had. Their boats, weapons, and utensils.

In order to perceive the sharp contrast with the near past and to understand about life in the desert and the culture that it creates, I decided to solidify my knowledge about the place. I took out my tourist map that I found at my hotel in Fujairah and decided to make it my canvas for recollection.

I wanted to show to the dynamic between modern style architecture and heritage that exists in Fujairah. I decided to show it in 3d using SketchUp Pro 2017 and some models of buildings I found on the internet specifically in 3dwarehouse. I thank yiorgos for his models.
I created a mosque on my own and edited the rest of the buildings so that they fit on a map. I have chosen only buildings that I have seen and remember as part of my journey, but not everything. The map lacks the concentration of skyscrapers on the East side of the city. I have only put the building of Commerce which is in the beginning of the highline. I have put a famous hotel – Hilton, which resides on the shore and is important location for tourists as the area is populated with a number of hotels. The Fujairah fort is surrounded by the museum and a modern hospital. I have added Al Badiyah Mosque a small, old mosque that is now a tourist attraction and resides North of the center.

SketchUp Pro 2017 is quite had to navigate because unlike Photoshop it doesn’t have layers that allow for separation of all objects. The forms that are inbuilt are limited and details and more complicated structures have to be worked out by hand. Otherwise, it is very simple so easy to get used to, and does a very good job with simple models.

Despite all of this, I feel like the map is missing some objects in order to fully transfer my message of coexistence of the old and the new. I think that the bullfighting arena should be included as a token of incorporation of tradition into modern society. The museum, so old that in itself creates historical interest should also be included. Moreover, on the Eastern side of the city a few more of the modern building should be marked. And lastly, the new mosque Sheikh Zayed, the second biggest mosque in the UAE, represents the integration of traditions in modern society. I am currently working on creating the model itself and I will update it on the map when it is ready.

For me this extended 3d journey into the history of the UAE both in Fujairah and online, has given insight into the modern Emirate culture. It has set, like a history course in Middle school, a base understanding of the changes that a society has faced and is facing in a particular place. This time the place was the UAE and it was completely different from the one that I knew back home, so the lesson has been an important one. I hope you enjoy my map and if there is any interest for any continuation just write me a comment or an email and I will share the file.


With the internet available to a big part of the human population and with its size bigger than ever before crowdsourcing has become a great way for gathering data and information. The work to be done with the grandness of the Internet is a lot and counting in the new social and psychological sciences to gather data directly from the people without too much involvement is a great way to get things done. Wikipedia is the biggest example of such a project. Everyone uses it as a source of information when wondering and it is all the creation of users putting in information. Of course, a certain amount of editing must be done but it is a lot easier to do once you have a page written out.

It works for many things: open source programs, digitalisation of text, making studies, informing about different places and events all around Earth. Crowdsourcing lets anyone become a part of something bigger than themselves and accomplish more as a part of humanity.

In the case of making text inputs and working with digital texts as a whole, “digital humanities”, crowdsourcing is a very good way to increase the worldwide heritage. With so many texts written before the option for spreading them with super fast speed to all corners of the Earth, there is a great need for help, that doesn’t require any skills. Checking texts for grammatical mistakes, made by softwares, scanning old books, etc. is easy for everyone and there is a need for it.

Here in Abu Dhabi there is a great language barrier, as Arabic is hardly read by computers and many mistakes are found. Also, in the context of NYUAD we have a grand library collection of Ancient arabic texts that most of the world hasn’t yet seen. Making a catalog of these texts would be one way to increase their availability and it can be done using crowdsourcing from NYUAD. On the other hand, having many students fluent in Arabic we can even transfer these texts in a digital format that is accurate and useful to scholars all around the world.

This work would be hard and long, and a great pressure only to the people who know Arabic so using the best part of crowdsourcing – that it is free – will not be an option for this project. Some sort of encouragement should be made in order to find enough participants but even then the numbers will be small and the chance of students carrying out the workload is small. This is one of the biggest problems projects like this, that have a limited target of crowd, face. So instead we can work out something that would help the Western world to get to know the Arabic world, instead of only those interested in Arabic already.

Another suggestion for a crowdsourcing project that can be carried out in the UAE, and with the special help of NYUAD is gathering a “yellow pages” for Abu Dhabi. A lot of tourist guides are posted on the internet but for the UAE they don’t include sufficient information and not many people are doing them. The one option is expats living here, but they have to attend to their lives and work so they don’t have enough time to explore, another is journalists who only come to visit, and the last one, least likely is natives who live here. This is a country with a very closed society so having some way to understand more about it, presented in a pleasant, user-friendly manner, would be a great project.

NYUAD students, and other students who live here because they go to international universities are the best option for crowdsourcing on such a project: we have a lot of free time and travel around a lot, we try to find different forms of entertainment and we also have different perspectives on what is  “fun”, “interesting”, or “cheap”, which will allow for a greater amount of audience to gather. Sharing one’s adventures is a good motivation for people to participate, because people love to talk about themselves. If there is an unified form for presenting information about plans, rating it and etc. it will also be easily categorised (in fact as it is inputted). Such project may face problems of editing because sometimes young people can be too impulsive and write things that are not accurate, so just like Wikipedia there will be a need for editors who will not only have to check the entries but also if possible even visit the places to give a more informed statement on a place, event or series of events.