Marine Institute, GSI and Partners Lead Award-Winning Data Portal Project


The ISDE Team at the eGovernment Awards Ceremony. Back Row: Tom Stafford (EPA), Yvonne Shields (Marine Institute), Minister Mary Hannifin TD, Koen Verbruggen (GSI). Front Row: Ray Scanlon (GSI), Eoin O'Grady - Project Leader (Marine Institute), John Evans (Marine Institute)

The Irish Spatial Data Exchange (ISDE), a project designed by the Marine Institute, the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and their partners to make a wide range of key oceanographic, marine and environmental information accessible to the public over the internet, was given a prestigious eGovernment Award last week (February 19th) at a ceremony in Dublin.  

Providing an online portal to multiple datasets, held by all ISDE project partners including the Marine Institute, the GSI, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Coastal and Marine Resources Centre (CMRC) at University College Cork, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government - the ISDE is effectively a one-stop-shop allowing instant search and access to a wide range of information. It also allows each partner organisation to become compliant with the EU INSPIRE directive.  

“Initiatives such as ISDE provide an excellent foundation for the development of knowledge products and services in support of the entire marine sector,” said Mr. Tony Killeen, Minister of State for Fisheries at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, during a recent visit to the Marine Institute headquarters at Oranmore, Co. Galway. “For the first time, a fisherman in Dingle, a ferry operator in Galway, a teacher in Dublin or a researcher in Cork can log onto their computer and easily find information that is available from all around the Irish coast. The commitment to excellence and quality of service demonstrated by all those involved in this project has been publicly validated by this award and I salute them.”  

Among the wide range of information databases available through ISDE are seabed mapping, ocean temperature and current, tidal information, groundwater and geological information, weather information from the coastal data buoys, locations of underwater heritage sites, Special Areas of Conservation, underwater wreck sites, fishing and fish spawning grounds.  

“While huge volumes of marine, geological and other environmental and research data are held by public and academic organisations, these data can often be difficult to find and access,” said Eoin O’Grady who managed the ISDE project on behalf of the Marine Institute. “Several years ago the Institute launched an online catalogue of our own data holdings called Marine Data Online. But while, for example, the Marine Institute holds significant amounts of marine information, so do the GSI and the DCENR, the EPA, the DEHLG as well as third-level education bodies and other government and commercial organisations. What we needed was a single online resource to access all  marine, geological, environmental and other spatial data, and this was why ISDE was developed.”  

The Irish Spatial Data Exchange can be viewed at or though the websites of each of the individual partner organisations.