Science & Technology in Action

15th Edition

The role of OSi in Irish life

Ordnance Survey Ireland

In deciding the route of a new motorway certain information is necessary, such as population densities or the existence of underground water, etc. In fact, the planner needs accurate geospatial information (GI). This lesson illustrates the important role OSi plays in the development and provision of such geospatial resources to assist government policy and public service decision making.

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The full lessons along with a supporting toolkit are available in three different formats, A4, A3 and as a Powerpoint deck.

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Contains the full lesson along with a supporting toolkit, including teachers’ notes.

Lesson excerpt

OSi and Geospatial Information

Most of us are familiar with the fact that Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) produces the maps that help us locate physical entities such as villages, towns, cities, rivers, roads and many more of the surface features of our country. Obviously, the type of information shown on such maps (known as topographical information), is extremely useful. However, many important decisions require more than basic locational information. For example, if a planner is attempting to decide the route of a new motorway, it would be necessary to have access to other possible influences such as population densities or the existence of underground water. In fact, the planner needs accurate information from a number of different datasets. In other words, geospatial information (GI) is required.

This lesson illustrates the critically important role OSi plays in the development and provision of such geospatial resources to assist government policy and public service decision making. The example used here is the arrival of 5G mobile communications technology.

Policy meets technology

A policy is a high-level overall plan, or course of action, aiming at specific outcomes. Policies are usually based on certain principles and procedures which are set out in the policy document. Government policy is the driver of the Public Service Data Strategy. The strategy includes the requirement for public services to improve service delivery through the use of technology, including geospatial information.

Where are the datasets?

The GI datasets are stored in the OSi National Map Database called PRIME2. Each item recorded, such as a fence, river or building, is known as an ‘object’. There are over 50 million ‘objects’ stored in PRIME2. Accordingly, users can integrate many different data sources to enhance policy, planning and decision making. Under the terms of the National Mapping Agreement, government departments and public sector bodies can access all PRIME2 data free of charge. They do so by logging in to the State’s National Geospatial data hub called GeoHive.

What is 5G?

Mobile phone communications have improved dramatically as technology has developed to support faster connections, broader bandwidth and overall higher quality. The earlier technologies of first and second generations could deliver calls and limited text messages. The third generation, 3G, allowed access to the internet and the current 4G allows faster and larger data transfer and smooth surfing. 5G is the coming generation, and is forecast to have a revolutionary impact on business and society in general.

True or False?

  1. 5G mobile network cells are larger than 4G cells. false
  2. All EU members are developing 5G in support of the Digital Single Market. true
  3. OSi’s geospatial hub is called Geohive. true
  4. 5G antennae must be located at a very high level above ground. false
  5. The geospatial industry contributes significantly to the economy. true
  6. Public Service organisations pay a special fee in order to access and use Gerohive. false
  7. Public Service organisations are committed to using digital technologies. true
  8. Geospatial information was first used for decision making in the mid 20th Century. false
  9. Geospatial technology will not develop further, having now reached its peak. false
  10. The government recognises the importance of geospatial information for policy making. true

Glossary of terms

not requiring oxygen to survive
the basic structural and functional unit of living organisms
the ratio of the mass and volume of something; the mass per unit volume of a substance, usually expressed in g/cm3 or kg/m3
liquid fuel used to power diesel engines; it is about 3.5% denser than petrol and contains hydrocarbons with higher average molecular mass
electromagnetic spectrum
the entire range of electromagnetic radiation. The spectrum usually is divided into seven sections. From the longest wavelengths to the shortest, these are radio, microwave, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, x-ray, and gamma ray radiation
an online platform to deliver geospatial information
gigahertz; 1 GHz = 1000 MHz or 1000, 000, 000 per second
C6H12O6 - A simple sugar that is the main source of energy for the body.
heat of combustion
the heat per unit mass that is released from the combustion of a substance
CH4; a chemical compound made up of carbon and hydrogen; used as a fuel; the main component of natural gas; also produced as a by-product of anaerobic sewage treatment
an organism that is typically too small to be seen in detail with the naked eye
pertaining to compounds containing carbon
any of a group of naturally occurring substances made up of hydrocarbons; these substances may be gaseous, liquid, or semi-solid.
primary energy
the total energy input; in the case of electricity much of the energy input is lost as heat during generation and transmission
parts per million
also known as LPG (liquid petroleum gas); propane (C3H8) is a common fuel used for cooking and heating; denser than air and easily liquefied under pressure
as it were 'stored' within a population of animals
in a wave motion, the distance between two successive crests (in a transverse wave) or compressions (in a longitudinal wave)