Open Data Request: National Landcover Map

Request for public access to the National Landcover Map under the Open Data Directive

Tailte Éireann Refusal

To provide context:

Ordnance Survey Ireland is now the National Mapping Division of Tailte Éireann.

The Tailte Éireann Act 2022 provided for the dissolution of the Property Registration Authority and Ordnance Survey Ireland and the transfer of the functions of those bodies, along with the functions of the Commissioner of Valuation and the Boundary Surveyor, to Tailte Éireann.

The dissolution and transfer took effect on 1st March 2023.

Concerning the request for public access to the National Landcover Map:

On December 21, 2022, the EU Commission issued Implementing Regulation 2023/138, which sets out the arrangements for publication and re-use of specific high-value datasets.

The regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on January 20, 2023, and came into effect on February 9, 2023.

It will be applicable from June 9, 2024, 16 months after its entry into force.

Land cover is identified as a high-value dataset in Section 2.1 of the Annex to Regulation 2023/138. Including the most recent and historical datasets available at all levels of generalization up to a scale of 1:5,000, covering the entire Member State.

According to ANNEX II to the INSPIRE Directive land cover refers to the physical and biological cover of the earth’s surface, such as artificial surfaces, agricultural areas, forests, (semi-) natural areas, wetlands, and water bodies.

The datasets shall be available for re-use under the conditions of the Creative Commons BY 4.0 license or any equivalent or less restrictive open licence, in an internationally recognised open, machine-readable format, through APIs and bulk downloads, with metadata that describes the data in accordance with the INSPIRE data themes set at least including the metadata elements outlined in Regulation (EC) No 1205/2008 Annex.

At this time, we cannot provide a specific timeline for the release of the land cover data other than to say that as per Regulation 2023/138, the National Mapping Division of Tailte Eireann shall make land cover data available in accordance with the requirements for publication and re-use set out in Implementing Regulation 2023/138.

To expand on the timeline:

The implementing regulation also designates other National Mapping Division high-value data, such as administrative units and geographic names (open already), buildings, hydrography, elevation, orthoimagery, production and industrial facilities, water, and transport networks.

To achieve compliance with the regulation, it is essential to have robust systems and processes in place that generate high-quality, compliant data consistently. This requires a comprehensive and methodical approach that involves identifying the necessary data elements, including metadata, defining the data collection and management protocols, and implementing appropriate quality control measures.

By developing and implementing robust systems and processes, we can ensure that the land cover data, and other high-value data, are consistently generated in a compliant manner. This, in turn, will enhance their usability, accuracy, and reliability, and promote their wider adoption and utilisation across various domains and applications.

In summary:

This request has been refused on the following grounds that Implementing Regulation 2023/138 identifying land cover data as high value data is only applicable from June 9, 2024.

You may appeal against the refusal, and your appeal should be sent in a legible form to the Office of the Information Commissioner. The appeal must be made (a) not later than 4 weeks after this notification or (b) where the Information Commissioner is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for extending that period, not later than the expiration of an additional period of such length as he or she may determine.

Kind Regards,

Open Data Officier


National Mapping Division, Tailte Éireann 

Páirc An Fhionnuisce, Baile Átha Cliath 8, D08 F6E4

Phoenix Park, Dublin 8. D08 F6E4


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