Free Our Data: the blog

A Guardian Technology campaign for free public access to data about the UK and its citizens

Free O’Data: Ireland makes (some) data free

Apologies for the headline, but then again, it was inescapable.

But: Ireland’s geographical agency, the GSI, has made a number of its datasets about boreholes available for free online.

Announced by the minister, the web page itself is a bit spartan: “Minister Ryan launches Spatial Data Projects to allow free online access to Deptarmental data. GSI, along with PAD, EMD and Enginerring Divisions of DCENR, all contributed data to these series of web map viewers, data download pages and GIS web services. Click on [Note: this isn’t a valid page, or at least not to me on my Mac] or for further details.”

The more useful data is at this page, which explains that it’s access to the borehole database:

Dr. Ronnie Creighton, Senior Geologist at GSI, explains that engineers regularly consult the database during the desk study stage in site selection and the planning of ground investigation design. ‚ÄúThe data are used to create subsurface maps of the depth to bedrock for Dublin city centre, for instance, as well as 3D visualisation of the subsurface bedrock topography. These are vital tools in construction and major infrastructure planning,‚Ä? he said.

Access to the database is free and is now online, via a specially designed web map viewer, accessible from the following GSI web page The map viewer currently provides public and professional users free access to over 12,200 digitised boreholes and trial pits from the database via an easy to use map-based interface.

An interesting contrast with the Environment Agency for England and Wales, which as we pointed out in May, is trying to charge people for details about water extraction locations:

[the] Environment Agency… used to make available the data about the location of ‚Äúsource protection zones‚Ä? – essentially, areas around groundwater sources which must be protected from pollution to avoid contamination of drinking water supplies.

We’d be interested to hear though from anyone who could tell us precisely how useful these new Irish data are. Even so, datasets online for no price? Sounds good to us.

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