Search form

Welcome to Arab News

You are here

Saudi Arabia

Artificially intelligent algorithms to estimate Tawaf crowds at the Grand Mosque in Makkah

Worshipers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (AFP)
JEDDAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque said it applies simulation programs to ensure the smooth flow of traffic in the mataf courtyard and on the upper floors, the roof and Al-Masaa at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
The director of crowd management at the Grand Mosque, Fares bin Fayez Mulla, told Arab News that the Presidency is focused on the study and management of crowds and providing safety, convenience and ease of movement, and that the direction and distribution of densities is the responsibility of the security authorities.
“The body works with its partners in the security, government and academic agencies to provide the best services for all facilities and to follow the flow of crowds in the mataf courtyard and on the upper floors, the roof and Al-Masaa of all its floors with the latest technology and equipment,” he said.
Mulla also said: “Crowds management is available throughout the year to measure and study densities through field teams in all places at the specified times. It also collects information in order to analyze and find appropriate solutions and present them to officials to make the appropriate decisions.”
He pointed out that monitoring observations has now became better. The coming years will see an increase in the number of pilgrims to the Holy Mosque.
Mulla explained that the most prominent observations that were monitored are the misconduct of some pilgrims in not following the guidelines, and entering the wrong way in some entrances, corridors and doors despite the existence of signs in different languages throughout the Holy Mosque.
However, according to Mulla, repeated observations are being considered by specialists to seek solutions and alternatives through advanced systems and programs.
He also said that the capacity of the mataf courtyard along with its floors is 107,000 performers of circumambulation per hour, while the capacity of the mataf courtyard alone is 30,000 per hour, other than the floors.
Akram Jan, a crowd expert, said that calculations of densities and crowds in the mataf courtyard can be dealt with by calculating squares, which are digital virtual regions with specific human calculations; if filled, they indicate a certain density.
He explained that this method is used in the measurement of crowd densities in large squares in Europe to a high degree of accuracy. Through these measurements, observers and analysts can anticipate the nature of the crowds.

MORE FROM Saudi Arabia