Unlocking the economic benefits of geospatial data & maps
Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) has an online mapping service that helps to unlock Ireland’s vast reserves of geospatial data. Called GeoHive, this free web app is supporting the Irish economy and helping to deliver cost savings for public and private sector organisations.
GeoHive provides a single portal to hundreds of layers of geospatial data from multiple public sector organisations
Users can create and share meaningful maps of Ireland, for free, using any PC, laptop or mobile device
The solution presents trusted geospatial information to support evidence-based decision making
OSi is in no doubt of the incredible value that geospatial data can deliver for the Irish economy. In 2013 it commissioned an Economic Assessment of Ireland’s Geospatial Industry, which concluded that better use of location-based information could lead to annual cost savings of €82m in the public sector, time savings with an economic value of €279m and competition benefits of €104m. Inspired by these findings, OSi decided to take a lead in making Ireland’s vast geospatial data resources more widely available via the Internet.
The national mapping organisation already had an online map viewer, which attracted over 1.5 million unique visitors a year. However, the technology behind this web service was becoming out dated and couldn’t deliver digital cartography to tablet and mobile devices. OSi therefore launched an ambitious project to replace its existing map viewer with an online portal that would improve the user experience, as well as make third party, public sector data easily accessible from a single location.
ArcGIS has enabled OSi to deliver a service that has the potential to really boost the value of geospatial data to the Irish economy.
Colin Bray, Chief Executive, Ordnance Survey Ireland
A long-standing user of Esri geographic information system (GIS) technology, OSi worked closely with Esri Ireland to completely redevelop and modernise its online mapping capability, using Esri’s ArcGIS platform. Named GeoHive, the free-to-use web service now delivers significantly enhanced facilities for users, including a ‘make your map’ capability. “For the first time, users can access current and historical OSi maps on their mobile phones and tablets, whenever they need them,” explains Hugh Mangan, general manager of business and marketing, OSi. “GeoHive also gives users the ability to create maps in a much simpler way, save them and share them instantly with colleagues using any device.”
Most importantly, GeoHive combines OSi mapping with data from a wide range of public sector partners, to create an authoritative national Spatial Data Infrastructure. “GeoHive is a classic portal, in that it provides an access point to lots of existing sets of spatial data that have already been published,” Mangan says. “However, it is unique in Ireland in the way that it combines hundreds of layers of third party data from multiple public sector bodies and presents them seamlessly to the end user from a single site.”
In 2018, as part of an ArcGIS software upgrade, OSi took the opportunity to incorporate further datasets, tools and functionality into GeoHive, to expand and enrich the geospatial data and apps available to end users. In particular, users can now view geostatistical information about Ireland through the GeoHive platform, as part of a single data catalogue, for the first time.
GeoHive also gives users the ability to create maps in a much simpler way, save them and share them instantly with colleagues using any device.
Hugh Mangan – General Manager of Business and Marketing, OSi
The online portal delivers:
Greater access to geospatial information
With the development of GeoHive, OSi is now able to expose many more individuals and organisations to the vast reservoirs of geospatial data that exist in Ireland. From one single website, users can combine and layer different data sets against the background of up-to-date OSi maps, to uncover fresh insight into situations and easily share that information using mobile devices.
Trusted evidence to support investment decisions
GeoHive has helped to encourage new investments in Ireland, supporting the Irish economy. “If a business owner is considering opening a new office or factory in Galway, GeoHive presents all the information that they need to help them understand the area and make informed decisions,” Mangan says.
Substantial opportunities to make cost savings
OSi is confident that GeoHive plays a key role in helping organisations to improve their efficiency and thereby unlocks the significant cost savings opportunities identified in its Economic Assessment of Ireland’s Geospatial Industry. According to OSi’s chief executive, Colin Bray, “ArcGIS has enabled OSi to deliver a service that has the potential to really boost the value of geospatial data to the Irish economy. By making location-based data more accessible, useable and meaningful for everyone, GeoHive will help public and private sector organisations to reduce costs and save time.”
Improved public services for citizens
GeoHive enables all participating public sector organisations to deliver a better customer service, by making their data more accessible to a wider number of potential users. Citizens can not only find public information more easily, but also have simple-to-use tools to help them apply it to their areas of interest and make informed choices that will enrich their lives. Summing up, Mangan observes, “GeoHive provides a window to a wider world.”