Ordnance Survey of Ireland (Suibhéireacht Ordanáis) (OSI) in Phoenix Park Dublin has been the national mapping agency since the creation of the Republic in 1922. There is a long history of operations by British mapping agencies in Ireland prior to this date, and six-inch mapping was established as a basic scale from 1824, complete cover being achieved in 1846. 1:63,360 scale mapping was started in 1855 and completed in 1895, and a 1:2,500 scale County series map was completed between 1887 and 1913 for the whole of Ireland apart from mountains and moorland areas. Larger scale town maps were also compiled and Ireland was one of the best mapped countries at the start of the twentieth century.
However after independence very little new topographic mapping was carried out for 40 years until the instigation of a new mapping policy in 1964. This policy introduced a new integrated national family of map scales, all based upon the Irish grid and a new first order triangulation completed by the mid-1960s. 1:1,000 scale was adopted for urban areas with more than 1,000 population, 1:2,500 was established as a basic scale for the whole of Ireland, and a derived and contoured 1:5,000 scale was also started. The conversion and field update of County series mapping progressed relatively slowly in terms of published mapping, and a decision was implemented in 1989 to abandon this program to move to new basic scales derived from entirely new surveys, and to publish a range of customer-oriented digital products, based upon three separate vector map databases. It was also decided to scan the whole of the published archive of County series and Irish grid mapping, to create a seamless rectified raster database using the Tellus system.
Soviet military topographic mapping of Ireland exists at the following scales: 1:1,000,000 (3 sheets, complete coverage, published 1985-1987); 1:500,000 (7 sheets, complete coverage, published 1984-1985); 1:200,000 (31 sheets, complete coverage, published 1967-1985); 1:100,000 (89 sheets, complete coverage, published 1979-1980) and a city (1:10,000) topographic map of Dublin published in 1980. These products are available in print, digital raster and digital vector GIS formats from East View Geospatial.
Existing urban mapping at 1:1,000 scale is available in a fully structured digital database, maintained and updated with photogrammetric techniques. A photogrammetric resurvey started in 1991 to establish a second large-scale database, with national rural coverage, capable of generating graphic output at scales between 1:500 and 1:10,000 and used as a source for a mapping-on-demand service. Customized graphic output is marketed in the PLACE Map program, with site centered, user defined scales aimed at the business user. The third resource is a small scale database captured from aerial photography, initially flown for OSI by Institut Géographique National, Paris and incorporating digital relief data. This data was initially used as a source for the publication of the new 1:50,000 scale map of Ireland designated the Discovery series. This map is compiled on a Barco digital production flowline and was completed in 71 sheets by 1999: initial publication focused upon coastal, urban and tourist areas. It conforms in sheet numbering to an earlier series of Northern Ireland, also compiled on the Irish Grid, and shows relief with 10 m contours. This map has replaced the very outdated monochrome one-inch map, which has not been updated since the first decade of the twentieth century. Other small-scale mapping is also published. The 1:126,720 scale map, first introduced between 1911 and 1918, is still available as a layer-colored edition with 100 ft contour interval and an updated road classification with some tourist information. A 1:250,000 scale all-Ireland map was first published in 1981, shows relief with layer tints and 60 m contours and is designated as the Holiday map, with tourist information and maps of selected towns. The latest revision was released in 1998. OSI also publishes an all-Ireland road atlas using 1:250,000 scale mapping and including a useful place name listing, as well as single-sheet road and leisure mapping of Ireland. Tourist maps are also published at 1:25,000 scale of the Killarney area, the Aran Islands and McGillycuddys Reeks. City maps include city and district atlases of Dublin, and a range of indexed maps of the major towns.
Irish coverage in the EC CORINE Land Cover Program was completed between 1989 and 1993, and with OSI coordinating the involvement of several Irish agencies. For Ireland new preliminary 1:100,000 scale map overlays were prepared by OSI, and LANDSAT TM data (prepared by ERA Maptec) were interpreted by project teams at Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. Land cover interpretations were captured as an ARC/INFO database.
The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) in the Department of Transport, Energy and Communications is the national earth science agency. The history of geological surveying in Ireland can be traced back to 1845; one-inch coverage was completed by 1890 and published in hand-colored solid and drift editions by 1890. For 90 years these remained the best available national geological series, with monochrome versions of these maps still available. From the late 1960s new and detailed fieldwork has, however, been carried out, and resources made available to GSI to institute new mapping programs.The organization moved to new purpose-built headquarters at Beggar’s Bush in 1984. Initial plans in the 1970s and early 1980s were for publication using new 1:50,000 topographic bases, but these had to be changed following financial restrictions and the very slow progress towards publication of the all-Ireland 1:50,000 topographic series.
GSI’s current remit includes the collection of data and its dissemination, in part through active map publication programs. A 1:100,000 scale Bedrock mapping project involves the publication of ‘solid’ geological mapping on photographically enlarged 1:126,720 scale topographic bases and sheet lines, each sheet being accompanied by a booklet. Twelve sheets of a projected 22 had been published by the end of 1997, the series is progressing at a rate of two or three newly published maps each year. A new quaternary and geotechnical program includes the publication of 1:50,000 scale quaternary mapping, as well as county-based groundwater protection maps. These programs should be completed within a decade, and it is planned to use remote sensing to speed up the publication process. It is also planned to introduce a new 1:50,000 scale bedrock series once the 1:100,000 scale map is completed, and to start a new minerals potential series. GSI uses AUTOCAD and ARC/ INFO-based production systems, and licenses the use of digital aeromagnetic and geochemical data. It also publishes small scale maps including 1:1 500,000 scale tectonic and metallogenic mapping of the British Isles in collaboration with British Geological Survey.
The national soil survey of Ireland was established in 1959 within the Agricultural Institute An Foras Talantais, whose responsibilities were absorbed in 1988 by the Agriculture and Food Development Authority (TEAGASC). Soils are classified by a modified version of the US 7th approximation and are published in color on a county basis at a scale of 1:126,720. Maps were issued at this scale, for nine of the 22 counties, with accompanying Soil Survey Bulletins including textual descriptions. Field survey was carried out at 1:10,560 scale until 1988, when a decision was taken to abandon the field programs and few sheets have been published since, despite the availability of field data for about half of the country. In addition to the County surveys, small-scale soil and peatland maps of Ireland at 1:575,000 are also still available.
The Geophysics Section of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) has published magnetic and gravity mapping of Ireland, including eight sheets on 1:126,720 scale topographic sheet lines.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a freshwater quality database relating to Irish inland waters. In 1996 it published a river quality map relating to the period 1991-1994. More recently it has established a Web interface to these data which allows maps of water quality to be displayed against other environmental conditions.
La Tene Maps publishes small scale thematic maps of Ireland and the United Kingdom in conjunction with a number of different national and international agencies, including single-sheet mineral, acquaculture, oil and gas production and several fishing industry themes. ERA-Maptec International Ltd is Ireland’s leading image processing company specializing in the application of remote sensing to mineral and petroleum exploration, digital cartography, GIS and land classification. It has produced image posters, town guides and a wide range of satellite image mapping of many countries, including an image map of Ireland, overprinted with roads and place names. Digital data sets relating to Ireland include 1:400,000 scale ARC/INFO format coverage, CORINE data, digital street mapping of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway and navigational charting of significant inland waterways in the country.
The Atlas of Ireland was published in 1979 under the direction of the Irish National Committee for Geology. It includes many small scale thematic maps as well as an index of place names and six-sheet general mapping of Ireland. A more recent thematic atlas from the Joint Working Group on Applied Agricultural Meteorology (AGMET) provides the best overview of environmental data for the country, including mapping of Northern Ireland with an emphasis upon smaller-scale themes accompanied by more detailed case study mapping of sample areas.
Small-scale commercially published maps of Ireland are issued by a number of British and other European cartographic houses including AA Publishing, Estate Publications, K+F, Michelin, Philip’s and RV. HarperCollins issues the widest range of commercially published road maps and atlases, now appearing under the Collins badge and also publishes regularly revised town maps and A─Z atlases of Dublin and Belfast. Folding Landscapes, Roundstone publishes black and white archaeological and tourist maps of the Burren, Connemara and the Aran Islands, and Open Road Guides, Sligo publishes street maps of towns in County Cork and Sligo.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) carries out five-yearly censuses of population with data available for 1,750 variables, available at the District Electoral Division level for 3,444 units. Gamma Ltd., Dublin has integrated these data into a number of digital mapping and geodemographic data sets.