Planning a sustainable future for Ireland’s marine environments

Esri’s GIS technology is being used to inform decision making about the seas around Ireland

Rob Morrison, head of technology, Esri Ireland

Esri Ireland is the market leader in geographic information systems (GIS), and Esri’s ArcGIS technology is underpinning Marineplan.ie, a digital hub from the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC). This easy-to-use online tool is supporting the marine industry, improving public sector collaboration, and helping the government to achieve its goals for planning a sustainable future.

This first-of-its-kind solution makes policies and data relating to marine areas accessible to everyone. Users range from policy makers and marine businesses to environmental consultancies and the general public. The hub enables more informed, evidence-based marine planning and decision-making in areas such as laying pipelines on the seabed, siting new locations for wind turbines, or planning new shipping routes. It improves inter-governmental collaboration by giving policy makers across more than 30 departments and agencies easy access to marine information.

Marineplan.ie enables users to identify the marine area they are interested in to see a list of the policies that are applicable to this specific location, or search by activity/sectoral area, turning on and off data layers to see relevant information in the sea all around Ireland.

Planning the future of marine areas is a complex undertaking. Many different uses of the sea need to be taken into account

It supports Ireland’s National Marine Planning Framework, which is a guide to economic, social, and environmental decisions relating to Ireland’s seas. This framework brings together 92 relevant government policies, providing detailed information about a maritime area of around 490,000 km2.

Juliet Fitzpatrick, assistant principal officer, Marine Planning Policy and Legislation at DECC, said: “Marineplan.ie will assist the achievement of government targets in areas such as renewable power, by helping the Irish Government and local authorities to make decisions in a timely manner. It gives decision makers a good understanding of the possible impacts of their planned activities and lets them know about the government policies that they will need to consider.”

Rob Morrison, head of technology, Esri Ireland: “Planning the future of marine areas is a complex undertaking. Many different uses of the sea need to be taken into account, ranging from shipping, fishing, and producing offshore renewable energy, to conserving marine habitats and protecting heritage sites like shipwrecks. We were delighted to work with DECC on this innovative and important solution and look forward to continued success as the tool plays a vital role in supporting future planning.”

For details contact: +353 (0)1 869 3900 ; mapsmakesense@esri-ireland.ie or go to esri-ireland.ie