Aeromagnetics of Arabia, India and the Middle East

An international collaborative project to compile a regional magnetic anomaly map and database
of all the land areas between the Black Sea and the Bay of Bengal

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Kanaalweg 3
2628 EB Delft
The Netherlands


in collaboration with

The aeromagnetic data of the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent is now compiled. A data inventory exists and available data is merged to one regional dataset. The prime objective of AAIME to fill this gap in the global coverage of digitally available magnetic anomaly information is reached. Contact us now for pricing and data availability.

The role of ITC
Project financing
Data coverage
Distribution policy
Ongoing Gondwana research


The interaction of the earth's magnetic field with the magnetic minerals in the earth's crust gives rise to magnetic anomalies that can be mapped systematically and inexpensively to reveal geology and tectonic structure, even below most types of 'cover' formation that obscure the solid geology over much of the earth's surface. Aeromagnetic survey coverage therefore offers arguably the most complete and continuous record of basement geology available - a fundamental 'layer' of geoinformation of immense value to those seeking to understand the earth's crust and its resources.

Magnetic anomaly data already exist for most areas of the world, but in hundreds of disparate individual surveys conducted over the past 40-50 years. These are largely non-digital, poorly archived and difficult to obtain, process and distribute; their undoubted scientific value is largely offset by practical difficulties of access. So the value of systematic digital compilations of existing magnetic anomaly data at a country-wide or continental scale is now widely accepted for resource and environmental applications, both by earth-science researchers and by earth-resource organisations in the private sector. However, considerable effort is needed to retrieve the original data and compile them into a user-friendly digital format. Various organisations and groups have already combined their efforts to produce magnetic anomaly maps and digital data sets for North America (1988), China (1989), the former Soviet Union (1991), Africa (1992), Australia (1993), South America (1994), the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans (1996), SE Asia and Europe (1999). Plans for Antarctica are progressing. A digital database of magnetic anomalies for the whole world can be anticipated within a decade if the current pace of activity and collaboration can be maintained.

Figure 1: AAIME project area


The Role of ITC

ITC is a non-profit organisation whose mandate encompasses a three-component approach to assisting the developing world in its scientific, technological and socio-economic development:

All three components require the active involvement and cooperation of ITC with national earth science organisations - which ITC can do in large part through its network of alumni. In the context of their aeromagnetic data, most developing countries currently lack the expertise and technology to process, archive and distribute these datasets in a form useful to themselves and to the geoscience community at large. By working alongside the national organisations whose responsibility it is to manage aeromagnetic information in each country, ITC proposes, within AAIME, to fulfill the immediate goal of conservation of the original data through efficient digital archiving, making a synoptic digital dataset available for scientific purposes and through assisting in the distribution of the data where the geological survey finds this helpful. Meanwhile, our on-going postgraduate training programme for overseas students strives towards future professional self-sufficiency in these activities through existing specialised courses and study bursaries.

The Exploration Geophysics Division of ITC has the expertise and experience to undertake all aspects of the AAIME compilation, as demonstrated by the recently completed African Magnetic Mapping Project (AMMP, 1989-1992). ITC's record in practically-oriented education, consulting and research - and its international infrastructure and communications - make it the ideal platform to serve the needs of the countries of the region, the scientific world and the commercial sector in this project.

Project financing

The work of AAIME is perceived as a collaborative research project from which all participants should derive benefit. However, ITC's research programmes are constrained to being largely self-financing. The inevitable costs involved must therefore be met by contributions from those organisations whose commercial activities are served by the project (e.g. petroleum and mining companies) and, hopefully in some part, by those organisations whose mandate to provide technical assistance can be supported by the project. There will be many opportunities for contributions in kind from organisations that are not able to provide money. Commercial sponsors need to be given some priority or 'lead time' on access to the results to justify their investment, but the broader needs of the scientific community must also be met by data release without undue delay.

The project was running with four sponsors from the petroleum and mining industry who committed themselves to the project and agreed to share the core costs over a three-year period. Sponsors received exclusively regular updates on progress and simultaneous releases of provisional synoptic datasets.

The project successfully ended in 1998. An indication of available coverage is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Known aeromagnetic coverage for the AAIME project area


  1. A survey atlas containing the location and technical specifications of all existing aeromagnetic surveys in the region.
  2. A digital grid, 1 km x 1 km, of total magnetic field for the entire region showing all available information on magnetic anomalies at a synoptic scale.
  3. A technical report of the procedures involved in the work.
  4. Optimum resolution grids for individual surveys and country-by-country compilations which will add new value to old - particularly analogue - surveys in the current era of image processing.
  5. Digital profile data for individual surveys where possible.

Distribution policy

Products 1, 2 and 3 will be under the ownership and copyright of ITC have been made available to project sponsors. (progressively, where appropriate) - but not released to others before December 31, 1999. Commercial organisations that were not project sponsors will then be able to obtain these products at prices sufficient to provide some continued academic research income for ITC's activities in exploration geophysics and to recognise the earlier investment by the sponsors.

Contact us now for pricing and data availability.

After three more years the data will become available in the public domain at only the cost of reproduction.

Products 4 and 5 will remain under the ownership and copyright of the responsible authorities in each country, the value-added to the original data by ITC being recognised by (a) permission to onward sell derived products 1 and 2 in the interests of promoting academic research and (b) a financial contribution to ITC research funding where this is appropriate. However, the ownership of the original data by the relevant national authority will not in any way be compromised by such an arrangement.

On-going Gondwana research

In parallel with this project, ITC will be continuing its research into the geology, structure and resources of the southern continents using existing aeromagnetic data compilations for other fragments of Gondwana (Figure 3) with routine participation of postgraduate students from many of the countries involved. It is our aim ultimately to implement an aeromagnetic database for the whole of Gondwana, in cooperation with other institutes and earth science organisations around the world, including the Gondwana GIS project of the University of Cape Town. Academic funding is being sought for these activities wherever possible.

Figure 3: Ongoing Gondwana compilation

For more information contact :

Hans Erren
AAIME Project
Kanaalweg 3
2628 EB Delft
The Netherlands
Tel : +31-15-2748 862
Fax : +31-15-2623 961
email :

last update of this page 17-05-00