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.