Tuesday 27 September 2016

Website lets users view official data on any area in map form

Tony Murphy

Published 28/11/2015 | 02:30

Burglary and related offences
Burglary and related offences

WE encounter lots of information in our daily lives, however, the key to using information is being able to making sense of it and use it to make an informed decision.

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Being able to easily retrieve information from different sources, join it or stitch it together, can often be the most difficult part. This is what GeoHive, created by Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) is about.

What OSi has done is make information from other public bodies available in one place, and illustrate it on a map. If you need to make a decision about a location, then GeoHive can help.

The site allows you to see information about property, the environment, education, health and planning among others issues, all on a map.

Using the ‘Make your Map’ tools on the website, you can create your own tailored map, save it in the gallery for others to see and share it on social media, all this at your desk, on your mobile or tablet and for free.

OSi have taken this collaborative approach with other state bodies to provide a wider audience with access to the State’s authoritative information and allowing a key insight on location-related topics. This collaboration enriches the sharing of information between the data provider, OSi and most importantly the user.

One good example of how to use this website is to consider what you need to know if you are looking to buy a property in a location. Information on property prices, property age, school location, crime statistics, transport links and others are all things you need to know and GeoHive can show you this.

The site is easy to use and has aerial photography as well as the most up to date maps in the state. You can also look at the maps from when Ireland was first surveyed in the 1800s, great for seeing how your area looked back then.

The site allows you to search for a particular location by Eircode, and address, the first public website to have this ability.

The key to this website is the ‘Make your Map’ and ‘Gallery’ pages. On the Make your Map page you can create your map combining data from the different sources.

The Gallery page has two elements to it, the user gallery allows users to save their map they created in the User Gallery. OSi have also created a featured picks gallery which has some pre-cooked maps for all to see on emergency management, planning, broadband and employment. You can even see information on dog licences.

GeoHive is a great asset for both the public and for business. It is a credit to the organisations who have allowed their data to be used in the service.

Providing information in this way will make it easier for anybody wanting to see information about a location or, more importantly, needing to make a decision about a location. 

Guide to using Geohive

THE site at geohive.ie is easy to use and has three main parts - Make your Map page, Gallery and Data Catalogue.

Make your Map Page

Click on the link at the top of the home page of the website and you are brought to the page. The first thing you will see is an overview map of Ireland.

On the top left hand you can select what layers that you want to combine from the menu, and in the top middle of the page is a search button. The site allow you to search by location, Eircode or address.

You can choose to zoom in or out using the menu on the right hand side of the page. Once you have selected your location you can now select what data you want to see about this area. This is done by using the menu on the left hand side of the page.

Here, there are two sections: OSi data – called Base information and Mapping and ‘Data Providers Data’, split into two types, ‘Nature and Environment’ and ‘Population & Economy’.

To select your layers, firstly click the + button on the left of the section name to expand the section to see what information is available.

Select the map type you want by clicking in the box on the left of the data type name, for example GeoHive Map, which is the most up to date map, aerial imagery or photography from a number of different years or Historic mapping from the 1800s.

When you select a layer you will see it is automatically included in the selection section. You can also click on the ‘i’ button on the right of the layer name and a menu pops up to show information about the layer.

Using the scroll down bar on the right of the menu you can now select the data type you want to combine with your map. Again, by clicking on the + button you can expand the section to see what data is available under each heading. 

Once you have selected your data layers, using your preferred map you can now see the results.

The results will be displayed by shading the map or by a point or pin on the location depending on the layer type you have selected.

You can now save the map you created and share it on social media by clicking the ‘share’ option in the menu on the top left hand side.

Click on the save, or use one of the social media links buttons, and you will be asked to give a name to your map. The map is stored in the user gallery and can be seen by others. If you choose to share your map the URL or address link to your map will be sent.

Gallery

The Gallery page  has two elements to it, and the User Gallery allows users to save their map they created. Maps are kept here for up to 30 days. OSi have also created a featured picks gallery which has some pre-cooked maps for all to see on emergency management, planning, broadband and employment. You can even see information on dog licences.

Data Catalogue

The data catalogue is where all the different layers of data from the data providers are stored.

You can search the data catalogue by either using the search at the top of the page or by clicking on the name of the data displayed on the page and it will show you all the different layers available under that name.

The dataset information will be displayed on the right of the page. You are also allowed you view the data outside of the GeoHive environment if you wish by clicking the ‘Endpoint’ option.

Tony Murphy is market development manager at OSi

Irish Independent

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