The INFOMAR programme, jointly managed by the Marine Institute and Geological Survey Ireland and funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment held its annual seminar in Cork (15th – 16th November), highlighting the impact and value of Ireland's national seabed mapping programme.
The event, attended by representatives from leading industry, government and research organisations, was held in partnership with National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) who hosted the conference focused on 'Collaborating for better marine resource management'.
Koen Verbruggen, Director of Geological Survey of Ireland, highlighted a report just published by Indecon International Economic Consultants, 'An Economic Review of the Irish Geoscience Sector', which shows INFOMAR has contributed €24.6 million to the Irish economy in 2016 across four sectors examined.
Michael Gillooly, Director of Ocean Science and Information Services at the Marine Institute underlined the importance of collaboration to optimise delivery of quality science and knowledge to inform decision making. Mr Gillooly said, "INFOMAR data and associated value added programmes, in which INFOMAR plays a central role, will enable delivery of integrated marine data outputs and services, such as the Integrated Digital Ocean which will be used by government, industry, researchers and the general public'
Thomas Furey, Marine Institute joint INFOMAR programme manager noted, "There has been extensive progress and success in mapping, and associated research and innovation, however three specific challenges remain for INFOMAR in the years ahead:
• Dealing with Brexit in the context of our maritime boarders and transboundary issues associated with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive & Marine Spatial Planning;
• Achieving regional scale integrated coastal zone land to sea mapping given the associated technology challenges, and;
• Leveraging Ireland's leading role in seabed & habitat mapping to provide Irish partnership delivered products and services on the global market."
Sean Cullen, Geological Survey of Ireland joint INFOMAR programme manager said, "Ireland is recognised internationally for its leadership role in mapping and marine data management, and increasing our collaboration and knowledge sharing in operations and innovation will provide significant opportunities for growth of Irish industries and jobs, and allow us to deliver the best science and knowledge based resource and risk management decisions into the future."
The event provided an open, informative and engaging platform bringing together Ireland's key marine stakeholders including speakers from the Marine Institute, Geological Survey Ireland; UAV Mapping & Coastal Heritage, National University, Galway; University College, Dublin; University College, Cork; AAIU; IMDO; MaREI; SEAI; GDG; ARUP; and the OPW.