Ireland’s national mapping authority has undertaken a ground-breaking digital transformation and is now delivering innovative, online data services for citizens, businesses and policy makers.
The impetus for change at Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) arose from the needs of its customers, who wanted to be able to access national mapping data and public sector information more easily. Whether they were planning to move home, set up a new business or monitor the effectiveness of government policy, people wanted to be able to view, query and analyse a wider variety information to help them make the best possible decisions.
OSi responded by reimagining the way that it operates. Harnessing the latest in web-based geographic information system (GIS) technology, it developed a web-based portal for delivering maps and geospatial data to customers via the Internet. Called GeoHive, this free service allows people to create and share their own maps, using any desktop or mobile device, from any location, for the first time. Most significantly, it brings together authoritative, accurate maps with over 140 layers of data from 35 public sector organisations, all in one place. In this way, it supports the Government’s Public Service Data Strategy 2019-2023, by allowing many more individuals and organisations to benefit from Ireland’s vast reservoirs of geospatial data.
The advantages of GeoHive for Ireland’s economy and Irish society as a whole are numerous. From one single website, businesses can analyse different public sector data sets against the background of up-to-date OSi maps, to uncover fresh insight into business opportunities and stimulate new investments in Ireland. Equally, citizens can explore GeoHive to find out about their local area or use OSi’s MicroHive sites to see ready-curated content on topics such as housing in Dublin. Policy makers can carry out data analysis on demand, gain insight into trends to inform new policies and even monitor Ireland’s progress towards achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
For OSi, the development of GeoHive is just the latest step in a long tradition of innovation – yet it is an important leap forwards, as it marks the organisation’s transition from a product supplier to a service provider in the new digital data economy. Furthermore, the success of this web service has shown, beyond doubt, that there is a growing appetite for digital information in Ireland. Public sector organisations can satisfy this demand by publishing their own data via the OSi GeoHive platform and joining OSi in embracing the goals of Ireland’s National Digital Strategy.
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