Monday, August 2, 2010

Emirates and the Image of the Week

The Google image of the week comes to us from the emirate of Dubai. I actually have a series of Google Earth Images which highlight the development of The World, a set of man made islands on the Persian Gulf. It's quite fascinating to see the development over the course of the last few years. For reference, these images come from 25°13' 21" N 55°10'9" E. Happy hunting.

December 2004

April 2005

June 2005

October 2006

August 2009

While it's an amazing enginering feat, I can't help but notice the fact that the image of the world could be a bit cleaner. What's up with Europe? Is that really an island to represent the Seychelles and Mauritius? I guess we'll have to wait and see for the project to be completed- which could be a very long time.

What do you think of the islands?

It's still a very interesting feature and a place where almost everyone will be able to say "I can see Russia from my house."

Digging a bit further into the geography of this series of images, let's talk about Dubai's political division, the emirate.

Matt does a good job discussing country, state and nation etc. But as we look to the Middle East we come across another political division of semi-autonomy know as Emirates.

So what's an emirate?

Not surprisingly it is easy to get caught up in semantics and details but simply stated, an Emirate is a political division of land which is either autonomous, such as Qatar and Kuwait, or semi-autonomous such as the emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates. While many people are familiar with Dubai and Abu Dhabi as cities, they are both also emirates, they are part of the United Arab Emirates - a nationally recognized independent State, a federation of emirates. However, it's important to note that the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi do not make up the same geographical area of the emirate.

The remaining five emirates of the UAE include Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. And yes, even the emirates have their share of territorial disputes, particularly on the east coast.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the two other existing emirates, Qatar and Kuwait. Dipping a bit into the historical significance of Kuwait, today marks 20 years since Iraq invaded Kuwait.

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