Technology solutions to ensure hassle-free Hajj: IINA report

Makkah (IINA) - Each year, technology is brought to complement the human efforts of Saudi authorities undertaking the Hajj operation. It is mainly utilized to overcome major difficulties in managing the Hajj, such as climate forecasting, crowd management, and tackling traffic jams.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research operates a unique program to measure climate changes in Makkah and Madinah throughout the Hajj season.

The institute's official Dr. Turki Habeeb-Ullah told the International Islamic News Agency (IINA) that the program compares forecasts issued by the General Authority of Meteorology with data from several ground stations to reach precise results on climate changes during Hajj.

He also pointed out that the Institute built four stations for this purpose, two in Makkah, one between Makkah and Jeddah, and another in Madinah.

The official also said that the Institute is working on a program to predict floods and natural disasters, which would enable authorities to enhance their readiness to meet any emergencies.

The Institute also measures air quality in Makkah and the holy sites, to spare the pilgrims the dangers of pollution and raise the readiness of health authorities.

Traffic jams are also controllable by using special technology. Wadi Makkah, a technology company affiliated with Umm Al-Qura University, has developed a unique program to track pilgrims' transport buses electronically.

The CEO of the company Dr. Faisal Allaf told IINA that the program will manage to track more than 17,000 buses during their travelling between Makkah, Mina, Muzdalifa, Arafa, and Jeddah, adjust the routes of the pilgrims, and the hours of travelling.

The Institute for Hajj and Umrah also developed a program to measure pilgrims' satisfaction levels with the transportation services offered to them.

The program's Supervisor Dr. Akram Noor told IINA that the program is an electronic platform that allows the pilgrim to communicate his feedback regarding the route of the bus he is travelling in, the schedule of the trip, and the compatibility with the specified times.

He pointed out that the program will allow the government to recognize the problems in the field of transportation by sorting the feedbacks of pilgrims from the platform.

In crowd management, Saudi Arabia will rely on technical solutions to control the movement of more than 2,600,000 pilgrims. For this purpose, Saudi authorities use latest technologies of communication systems, computer programs, and information technology, including the application of Geographic Information System (G.I.S) to collect and analyze spatial data and information, as well as the multi-capacity communication system TETRA.

Moreover, Wadi Makkah has completed a particular system for movement within the Grand Mosque.

Dr. Allaf explained that the system is one of the modern tracking devices for internal navigation in the Haram. After downloading it on a mobile phone, the program allows the user to know the location of all facilities in the holy site and the shortest way to reach these facilities.

Saudi Arabia is preparing to accommodate the largest number of pilgrims in its history this year after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman issued a royal decree to increase the number of pilgrims by 800,000, reaching a total of 2.6 million pilgrims.

Source: International Islamic News Agency