Regional mapping of groundwater potential in ar rub al khali, arabian peninsula using the classification and regression trees model

Samy Elmahdy, Tarig Ali, Mohamed Mohamed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Mapping of groundwater potential in remote arid and semi-arid regions underneath sand sheets over a very regional scale is a challenge and requires an accurate classifier. The Classification and Regression Trees (CART) model is a robust machine learning classifier used in groundwater potential mapping over a very regional scale. Ten essential groundwater conditioning factors (GWCFs) were constructed using remote sensing data. The spatial relationship between these conditioning factors and the observed groundwater wells locations was optimized and identified by using the chi-square method. A total of 185 groundwater well locations were randomly divided into 129 (70%) for training the model and 56 (30%) for validation. The model was applied for groundwater potential mapping by using optimal parameters values for additive trees were 186, the value for the learning rate was 0.1, and the maximum size of the tree was five. The validation result demonstrated that the area under the curve (AUC) of the CART was 0.920, which represents a predictive accuracy of 92%. The resulting map demonstrated that the depressions of Mondafan, Khujaymah and Wajid Mutaridah depression and the southern gulf salt basin (SGSB) near Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) borders reserve fresh fossil groundwater as indicated from the observed lakes and recovered paleolakes. The proposed model and the new maps are effective at enhancing the mapping of groundwater potential over a very regional scale obtained using machine learning algorithms, which are used rarely in the literature and can be applied to the Sahara and the Kalahari Desert.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2300
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2 2021


  • CART model
  • Groundwater
  • Paleochannels
  • Remote sensing
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Umm Al Hiesh

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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