Dublin 5 November 2014
Minister for Natural Resources, Joe McHugh, T.D., today (Wednesday 5th November, 2014), launched new digital products at the opening of Geoscience 2014, the annual conference of the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), in Dublin Castle.
The new Directory of Active Quarries and Pits in Ireland is considered a critical publication to assist the recovery of Ireland's construction sector. The quarrying and concrete industry is estimated to employ over 5,000 people in Ireland and produce aggregate worth approximately €170 million and added value products (such as concrete) with a value of approximately €160 million annually. This is an industry vital to construction and infrastructure development with operations located close to their market, often providing scarce rural jobs.
The new directory was compiled by GSI with assistance from members of both the Irish Mining and Quarrying Society and the Irish Concrete Federation and provides a comprehensive listing of Irelands quarry operators, including location maps, contact and product details. The Directory follows on from completion by GSI last year of Aggregate Potential Maps, showing areas geologically suitable for quarry development.
The conference will also feature new outreach products including an app, EODP (Education and Outreach Development Project) developed for transition year students, to allow them to make their own online maps and carry out environmental projects on the coastline. The app was developed as part of the national marine mapping programme, INFOMAR, managed by the GSI and Marine Institute and was produced with ESRI (Irl) Ltd. It has already garnered an award from IRLOGI, the Irish Organisation for Geographic Information and is available to download for android phones from http://www.gsi.ie/
Minister McHugh commented that "as our economy and construction industry recovers, it is vital the industry has the information they need on the quarrying sector. Jobs in this sector are often crucial to the rural economy and the industry itself provides exports of over €60 million p.a.". Referring to the schools app he pointed out that "if we are to engage our youth in the vital STEM areas, we must present information in an engaging way. The new app which blends scientific data, map making and coding in a mobile ready way is an example of just such delivery".
The annual Geoscience conference showcases highlights of GSI and their partners activities, including outcomes from the Griffiths Geoscience Research Programme, which has been bolstered by the recent announcement of the €24m Irish Centre for Applied Geoscience Research funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and industry. New developments will also be featured in areas such as Groundwater, Landslides, 3D mapping and Earth Observation. The programme will also include an update on GSI's Tellus Programme, currently surveying the North Midlands Area using airborne and ground methods.
Notes to Editors
A new edition of the GSI Quarry Directory, has been produced with assistance from members of two key organisations, Irish Mining & Quarrying Society and the Irish Concrete Federation. The last edition was produced in 2001 before the major expansion and subsequent contraction of the industry. The directory is produced as both a paper product and an online web mapping service that highlights location, products and contact details for over 200 quarries in Ireland.
Education Outreach and Development Programme (EODP) - a transition year (TY) student educational project
Winner of IRLOGI Space & Place Awards 2014 - Best use of Location Based Application for Mobile or Tablet
As part of data dissemination the INFOMAR project team recently initiated an Education Outreach Development Programme (EODP). INFOMAR staff are working with consultants from mapping software company ESRI and Dublin Business Innovation Centre to develop products for schools.
The first such app is aimed at Transition Year students, and delivered via the web, allowing the students to make their own digital map of their coast, and then carry out a survey of the coast and record both seaweed types and presence of litter. This data is then both recorded on their map and stored remotely, on the cloud, as a form of "crowd sourcing" and "citizen science". Presence of seaweed species type is an indication of the health of the environment and litter presence is actually reportable under the new EC Marine strategy framework Directive. The app is intended to make the students aware of their environment, utilise some basic programming (building on Coder Dojo popularity) and make them aware of the INFOMAR Programme.
The Irish Organisation for Geographic Information (IRLOGI) is the umbrella organisation for the geographical information industry in Ireland . They host an annual technical meeting, GIS Ireland. They present Space & Place awards under a number of categories and gave the INFOMAR app an award under Best use of Location Based Application for Mobile or Tablet
The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), founded in 1845, is the National Earth Science Agency and a division of the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources. The GSI is responsible for creating a broad range of products, including maps, reports and databases, and acts as a knowledge centre and project partner in all aspects of Irish geology.
The INFOMAR (INtegrated Mapping FOr the Sustainable Development of Ireland's MARine Resource) programme is a joint venture between the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Marine Institute and is the successor to the Irish National Seabed Survey (INSS). See http://www.infomar.ie/