Download GIS files here
Download GIS files here
Dataset Details – Irish Lagoon Surveys 2016 – 2017
Surveys of aquatic fauna carried out by Geoff Oliver and Eddie McCormack 2016-17 in 39 of the coastal lagoons listed by NPWSDate uploaded to database
20/10/2020 Last updated
Purpose of data capture
Part of a survey co-funded by NPWS and EPA to report under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive, 2013 – 2018, and for the purpose of the Water Framework Directive (Aquafact 2018, Volumes I and II).Methods of data capture
Faunal sampling using sweep nets and sediment cores, supplemented by visual searches. Samples were taken to a laboratory for subsequent sorting and identification.Geographical coverage
Surveys conducted by expert taxonomists Dr Geoff Oliver and Dr Eddie McCormac
The EPA’s current river network layer, RivNetRoutes, has key information embedded within it, such as connections between tributaries and rivers which we need for sediment and flow modelling, and the river waterbody delineations.
The OSI has recently generated a more spatially accurate PRIME2 dataset which includes datasets pertaining to waters. It does not however, have all the attributes and capability that is required for detailed environmental modelling and assessment, in that it is not a connected network.
Several EPA projects have already used the OSI PRIME2 dataset (for example, the national landcover map and the MQI-Ireland Hydromorphology tool), establishing its importance for environmental assessments.
This project is to develop a connected river network based on the Prime2 data. A pilot project in the Suir catchment has successfully developed and tested a more spatially accurate and near-fully connected digital model of the water network in GIS. Consultants completed this work in 2022 and have developed a methodology to generate a more precise and accurate representation of our rivers using the OSI PRIME2 dataset.
The national rollout of the Connected Waterline through this project will greatly enhance the data modelling and analysis capabilities of the EPA. There will be significant benefits for example, in combining the updated waterline, land cover maps and the MQI database to carry out integrated catchment assessments. The connected network will also be of value to other key external stakeholders (for example, OPW, IFI and LAWPRO).
A bespoke on-line GIS editing portal and underlying geodatabase was developed to support the pilot. This bespoke editing portal was designed to maximise automation of the steps required to connect the network, while facilitating hydrological specialist inputs where required. It is envisaged that this portal will be used to complete the national rollout in the remaining 45 catchments.
Connected Waterline – Lots
Additional contractor resources are now being sought to roll out the Waterline Pilot project nationally for the remaining 45 catchments. The work is being divided into two Lots:
Connected Waterline Lot 1: Manage, develop and maintain the online GIS editing portal
A contractor resource is now being sought to manage, develop and maintain the on-line editing portal which contains the required tools to fix the river connection issues encountered during the national roll out of the Waterline Pilot project. The resource will develop additional custom tools for carrying out the work in hydrogeological settings not covered in the pilot, for example making routing connections where there are gaps in the PRIME2 data and through lakes.
The tool will be used by the successful tenderers of Lot 2 who will be rolling out the process nationally, the Catchments Unit team members supervising the project, and in time potentially also members of other public bodies (eg LAWPRO, IFI,Rivers Trusts) who may carry out additional field validation.
RivNetRoutes (https://data.gov.ie/dataset/river-network-routes) is the currently used river network in the EPA since 2005 and is also widely used across many other sectors in Ireland. This is a national fully connected routable river network. River geometries were originally generated based on the OSi 1:50,000 raster mapping and have been updated over time as new information has arisen from local surveys. The associated attribute data comes from a variety of sources, e.g., waterbody codes from the individual waterbody datasets. This layer contains an integrated flow network that includes known flow connections through rivers, lakes, estuaries (transitional waters) and groundwater aquifers. In places where the network is depicted flowing through lakes, estuaries or through underground channels, the flow channels are schematic only, and do not represent the precise location of these flow channels.
During 2014, Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi), the national mapping agency, realised a national centralised spatial database known as PRIME2. Within PRIME2, water objects describe all water bodies currently captured by OSi. These include flowing and non-flowing, natural, and man-made water bodies, which include River, Stream, Lake, Pond, Drain and Reservoir. Full details of the data tables and terminologies used within PRIME2 can be found at: https://osi.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Prime2-V-2.pdf. For ease of reference a summary of the key terms and tables referred to in this document is provided below.
|WATER_LINE||Polylines within PRIME2 which represent river object centrelines|
|WATER_SINGLE_STREAM_LINE||Polylines within PRIME2 which represent smaller water feature centrelines (e.g. streams/drains)|
|WATER_POLY||Every piece of Ireland has a polygon type assigned to it e.g. ways (roads), vegetation, artificial or exposed areas. WATER_POLY objects represent the spatial extents of each water object (i.e. a river or lake).|
|WATER_PNT||Points located at the start and end of water objects which contain data such as Z-order etc. and which are linked by GUID’s.|
|Z-Order||The Z-Order property can be specified for each classified object to indicate the vertical order of the cross-over objects. This allows for identification of features that overlap, under/over ground, such as a river and road etc.|
|GUID||All features within PRIME2 have a unique code (GUID), which stays with that objects for its life cycle|
The EPA recently developed a hydromorphological condition assessment tool, called MQI-Ireland, which was based on the OSI PRIME2 datasets (version Q4 2018). The main reason PRIME2 was decided upon was due to the accurate free flowing sinuosity of the WATER_LINE dataset within it. The far greater level of accuracy (previously limited to 1:50,000 scale) was vital for carrying out the hydromorphological assessments required (e.g. sinuosity). During project scoping, a comparison between PRIME2 WATER_LINE and RivNetRoutes was performed, which highlighted stark differences in terms of both accuracy and sinuosity. The dis-connectivity of the water line features also caused significant issues and resulted in manual assessments having to be carried in for some aspects of the project. An assessment was carried out on behalf of the EPA to summarise the key issues relevant to EPA work programmes with the PRIME2 datasets as part of the post-production project work.
The most significant issues for EPA encountered with the PRIME2 datasets are listed below:
The Suir Pilot
The EPA Catchments Unit competed the Suir pilot in 2022, with contractor support developing automated and manual processes to create a fully connected river network, which included the generation of an associated geometric network.
All codes/scripts/tools developed to produce each of these outputs have been provided to the EPA and will be available to the wining tenderer to enable the rollout nationally.
Suir Pilot Project Description
The primary goal of this pilot project was to create a fully connected river network for a pilot WFD Ireland Catchment which included the generation of an associated geometric network – both based on PRIME2. A semi-automated process to capture the steps involved in creating these datasets for the pilot was a key output which will allow a subsequent national roll-out. A number of intermediate datasets were required to produce the connected river network and geometric network, and these will be available to the winning tenderer for the national rollout.
The following summarises the key deliverables:
Datasets to be made available
All attribute information for the final output datasets shall be agreed at the outset of the project and may be modified during the course of the project as required. A sample minimum list of attributes for the connected river network (WFD waterbodies) is given in Table 1 below.
Table 1: sample minimum attribute information required for the connected river network
|reach_id||– unique id for each segment or reach within the river network|
|waterline_id||GUID of PRIME2 waterline (method to create new GUID’s for synthetic or digitised polylines will need to be confirmed with the OSi)|
|us_id||id of upstream WATER_PNT|
|ds_id||id of downstream WATER_PNT|
|order||Stream order (new orders may be required to account for retained water lines which are not WFD WBs).|
|WFD_WB_code||WB code for associated WFD WB within RivNetRoutes.|
|WFD_WB_name||WB code for associated WFD WB within RivNetRoutes. Non-WFD waterline will be moved to another feature class|
|MQI_reach_id||id code of associated MQI reach|
|length||length (km) of waterline|
|IS_Syntetic||Y/N – flag for whether the line has been added to join across lakes/karst etc. Can be expanded to two separate attributes if required|
|assc_feat||WFD_WB code or PRIME2 polygon GUID code for the lake/TraC associated with the synthetic line flagged above. Can be attributed as “karst” for karst network connections etc.|
Final Report and deliverables
The Final Report shall contain all findings and all procedures, codes, scripts and tools used to apply this methodology to all 46 WFD Catchment areas in Ireland.
The following digital deliverables shall also be produced at the end of the project in a single national dataset:
All final and relevant intermediate datasets shall be provided in GIS format within file geodatabases and projected to the Irish Transverse Mercator (ITM) grid.
Tender for a desk study to update GIS data, and a number of related tasks, on the scale and impact levels of peat-cutting in blanket bog SACs designated to protect blanket bog and associated habitats, in Ireland.
This work will inform regulatory system for peat extraction on blanket bogs in such sites.
1.2 Background and Summary of Requirements Increased knowledge on the rate of loss and damage to rare and threatened habitats and species is reflected in legislation to protect these natural resources in particular the EU Habitats, Birds and EIA Directives and the Wildlife Acts (1976) and Amendments (2000).
One of these habitats is blanket bog which, according to the survey of Hammond (1979), once covered an estimated 773,860 ha in Ireland and despite, large scale losses, is still our most extensive peatland habitat. Ireland also has particular responsibility for blanket bog as it holds (along with Scotland, Norway and NW Spain) a significant proportion of the global resource and the largest remaining resource of, Atlantic blanket bog, a hyper-oceanic bog type.
Ireland is also now the only EU country with lowland blanket bog habitat. Under the EU Habitats Directive 55 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) have been designated as SAC for the protection of blanket bog.
The work entails provision of an update (based on interpretation of recent aerial imagery) of GIS data and site summary reports of 2015 review of blanket bog SACs (Table 1 in RFT) and to apply original review method and update to 5 additional blanket bog SACs (Table 2) and to analyse trends in peat-cutting.
A critical review of draft turbary management zoning and overview reports (from earlier review of 10 SACs (Table 4 in RFT) is also required to consider improvements if needed in approach to inform how draft provisional /indicative management zoning should be applied (and to apply this) to remaining SACs (and if needed to update same for those 10 SACs) using imagery review results with key biodiversity data.
Year 3 of the scientific work to inform a system for the management of turf-cutting in designated blanket bog SACs and NHAs: Applying Provisional Management Zones VOLUME 1 – SECOND DRAFT (Version 02a)
Simon J. Barron, Botanical, Environmental and Conservation Consultants Ltd., (BEC Consultants)
February 2018. Prepared for the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Request for Tenders dated 06/04/2023 for the provision of Turbary GIS Review Blanket bog SACs 2023 0405_SABB23
Exceptional detail about landcover in Ireland
The National Landcover Map has a resolution of at least 0.1 hectares, making it 250 times more detailed than CORINE, the pan-European landcover dataset
Over 10 million classified landcover features
Developed using an innovative mapping methodology, machine learning, and remote sensing techniques, the map describes millions of landscape features
36 different land classifications
The map features a set of landcover classifications designed specifically for Ireland to provide the best and most precise descriptions of landcover types commonly found across the country
Independently verified data
The National Landcover Map was created using a comprehensive and independent validation process in which over 20,000 landcover samples were verified by seven external stakeholders.
Better understand landcover throughout Ireland
The National Landcover Map classifies natural vegetation, freshwater, and artificial surfaces across the whole of the Republic of Ireland, enabling users to gain a far deeper understanding of Ireland’s diverse environments
Make informed decisions
This new resource can be used in a myriad of ways to help people make informed decisions and balance the needs of the environment with the requirements of industry, housing, infrastructure and leisure activities
Save time and money
Those organisations that have previously developed their own landcover maps for specific sites or projects can now avoid this cost and save time by using the National Landcover Map instead
Collaborate more effectively with other organisations
By using the National Landcover Map in place of internally-created resources, organisations can use the same, standard landcover classifications as their partners and share data more easily.
The National Landcover Map was produced by TÉ in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and with the support of members of the cross-governmental national landcover and habitat mapping (NLCHM) working group.
Ready to get started?
The National Landcover Map is available to all organisations in Ireland. Government departments and public sector bodies can use the product at no additional cost, through the National Mapping Agreement. Commercial organisations can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing information.
A new Land Cover Map is available for Ireland, it was released on 21 March 2023.
Figure 1: Outline of the new national land cover map for Ireland (NLC 2018)
The new National Land Cover Map was produced by the National Mapping Division of Tailte Éireann (formerly Ordnance Survey of Ireland) in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The aim of a land cover map is to map what is physically present on the Earth’s surface, for example forests, grasslands, and artificial areas. This Land Cover Map was produced based on 2018 data and is known as NLC 2018. The map includes very detailed information on land cover types in Ireland and marks a significant improvement in land evidence. It will have many uses in environmental assessments on water, climate, air, noise, and biodiversity and will be an important resource into the future.
NLC 2018 is available from the Tailte Éireann, for further information please visit the Tailte Éireann website to link with the official Tailte Éireann Land Cover Map web page.
In addition to the data a National Land Cover Map 2018 – Final Report is also available. It provides details on how NLC 2018 was produced, the accuracy of the data and an initial assessment on how it changes our understanding of land cover statistics in Ireland. Below we provide more information on NLC 2018 summarising much of the information from the Final Report.
To understand land cover better a useful explanation is that it refers to what is physically present on the Earth’s surface. This includes surfaces like natural vegetation, freshwater and non-living surfaces. Grasslands, forest areas and artificial surfaces, are all examples of land cover types.
It is important to note that land cover is different from land use. Land use specifically refers to how that land is used or the activity at that location. Uses can be environmental, economic, or social and are usually a result of human intervention or management. Figure 2 below aims to conceptually highlight the differences between land cover and land use.
Figure 2: Understanding the difference between land cover and land use (Source EPA)
In creating the National Land Cover Map, it was important to define all land cover types that can be mapped from the data available in Ireland. To achieve this, the EPA and Tailte Éireann both engaged with experts from across the land sector, while also looking at existing international standards, to help define a Land Cover Classification System for Ireland.
The Land Cover Classification System contains two levels of classification with 8 classes at Level 1, and 36 classes at Level 2. The Level 2 classes were used to produce NLC 2018 and can be aggregated into Level 1 classes. Table 1 provides an overview of the Land Cover Classification System for Ireland which will soon be officially published by the EPA.
Table 1: The National Land Cover Classification System for Ireland
With a National Land Cover Classification System providing the clarity on what needs to be mapped, a production methodology was developed by the EPA and Tailte Éireann to allow the map to be produced.
This was achieved using earth observation and machine learning technologies to analyse a combination of Tailte Éireann aerial imagery, existing national datasets and Sentinel 2 satellite imagery from the Copernicus Space Programme funded by the European Commission.
Highly trained expert operators actively managed these models using iterative processes and checks to ensure the accuracy of the data being produced. Each land cover class was mapped at a minimum mapping unit of less than 0.1-hectare, i.e., the data resolution. This is over 250 time more detailed than CORINE 2018, produced at a 25-hectare resolution, and previously the most commonly used land cover dataset prior to NLC 2018.
Further details of how the map was developed are available at the Tailte Éireann website.
The level of detail available within NLC 2018 is a significant improvement on previous data. To get a better understanding of this Figures 4 & 5 highlight the differences between NLC 2018 and CORINE 2018.
Figure 3: Tailte Éireann aerial image of Johnstown Castle Estate, EPA Headquarter, Co. Wexford
Figure 4: Shows the detail now available in the National Land Cover Map (NLC 2018) for Johnstown Castle Estate, EPA Headquarter, Co. Wexford
Figure 5: Shows the reduced detail of the CORINE 2018 data for Johnstown Castle Estate, EPA Headquarter, Co. Wexford.
Although there is less detail in CORINE data it provides a time series of information with data produced for 1990, 2000, 2006, 2012 and 2018. This provides important information as an indicator on how land cover has changed over time in Ireland. CORINE will also be produced into the future under the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service to preserve this valuable function.
Greater detail in land cover mapping is welcome and will help develop a better understanding of our environment. However, all maps contain errors meaning it is important to define the accuracy of the data and understand the limitations that exist within the data.
In producing NLC 2018, a very comprehensive independent validation programme was established. This included assessment of over 22,000 data samples evenly distributed across all land cover classes. Samples were assessed, by independent stakeholders, for both class accuracy and geometric accuracy.
Once completed the samples were assessed by the EPA and CSO. The results of this assessment show that NLC 2018 has a high level of accuracy at both the Level 1 and 2 land cover classes. Overall accuracy, where all classes are combined into a single mean accuracy, shows that the data has a thematic accuracy (i.e., class accuracy) of 78.5% and 88.7%, at Level 2 and Level 1 respectively, while the geometric accuracy (i.e., area outline) is 87.2% – the same geometries apply to both classification levels.
The validation data has also been assessed at each individual class, meaning users can identify and take account of the performance of each class within NLC 2018. Charts 1 & 2 highlights the varying performance of Level 2 classes in terms of their thematic and geometric accuracy. From this we can see that there are many classes that perform very well with accuracies >80% and a few classes that perform less well with scores closer to 60% thematic accuracy. In general, most classes perform very well in terms of geometric accuracy.
Chart 1: Thematic accuracy for Land Cover Level 2 Classes
Chart 2: Geometric accuracy for Land Cover Level 2 Classes
Further details on the validation programme and the assessment of the accuracy of the map are available at the Tailte Éireann website.
The EPA will also be publishing a more in-depth analysis of the accuracy assessment results in 2023.
With the significant change in the detail of the land cover data, now available in NLC 2018, our understanding of national statistics in land cover are also changing. The Final Report for NLC 2018 provides an initial assessment of the national statistics for land cover based on this new data, below are a summary of these findings.
When comparing the NLC 2018 and CORINE 2018 data at Level 1, as shown in Chart 3, it highlights that Grassland and Peatlands were overestimated in CLC 2018, while Forest Areas, Cultivated Land, Health and Bracken, and Artificial Surfaces were underestimated.
Chart 3: Comparison of percentage national area at Level 1 class groupings for NLC 2018 and CORINE 2018.
A lot of the changes identified are as a result of the differences in the resolution of the data. CORINE 2018 has a low resolution of 25-hectares meaning that many smaller land cover classes are generalised into the dominant classes. Small features like hedgerows, ponds, houses etc. are often merged into dominant classes like grasslands in Ireland. In NLC 2018 the data resolution is much more detailed meaning these small features are mapped, this increases the representation of these classes and decreases the percentage area of dominant land cover classes. In summary NLC 2018 is more representative of all land cover classes in Ireland.
Although these dominant classes are lower in area than previously calculated, they are still the most common classes in Ireland. Chart 4 provides an overview of the percentage of national area that each NLC 2018 Level 2 class represents, please note these are draft figures at this stage.
Chart 4: Overview of the percentage of national area that each NLC 2018 Level 2 class represents
Chart 4 shows that by a large margin, Improved Grassland is the single most dominant land cover type in Ireland. It covers 2.93 million hectares or 41.53% of the total national area. It is the only class that exceeds 10% of the national area with the second most widespread class being Wet Grassland at 9.47%. These two grassland classes together account for over 50% of the national area.
Cultivated Land is the third most dominant land cover type in Ireland 6.05%, the map also shows it has a strong regional concentration in the East and Southeast. Transitional and Coniferous forest lands, both associated with plantation forestry account for 5.46% and 3.63% of the national area respectively. Blanket Bog and Wet Heath occupy 3.54% and 3.25% of the national area respectively.
The first national scale mapping of hedgerows in Ireland show that they cover 224,787 ha or 3.18% of the total national area.
All other classes are below 3% of the national area with full national-scale mapping achieved for the first time for many other land cover classes including Dry Heath (2.82%), Broadleaved Forest and Woodland (2.42%), Scrub (1.84%), Amenity Grassland (1.82%), Cutover Bog (1.56%) and Raised Bog (0.66%).
The EPA and National Mapping Division of Tailte Éireann would like to thank the considerable support that was provided by key stakeholders throughout the project, in particular the following organisations:
For further on any of sections covered above refer to the National Land Cover Map 2018 – Final Report on Tailte Éireann website.
Further information on access to the data visit Tailte Éireann or contact email@example.com
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.
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.
Open Data Officier
National Mapping Division, Tailte Éireann
Páirc An Fhionnuisce, Baile Átha Cliath 8, D08 F6E4
Phoenix Park, Dublin 8. D08 F6E4