Annual GeoDirectory User Conference

Mon 2nd Apr 2012

Last week Justin Kidd and Niamh O'Keeffe were lucky enough to get to the Annual GeoDirectory User's Conference. This is Niamh's account of the day:

I attended the Annual GeoDirectory user’s conference in The Gresham Hotel in Dublin on Thursday March 29th along with Justin Kidd.

I had been expecting a very technical set of talks regarding the GeoDirectory products but while I gained some insight into forthcoming releases there was a variety of speakers on a range of topics.

The event was introduced and mc’d by Dara Keogh, CEO of GeoDirectory. GeoDirectory is a joint venture between An Post and the Ordnance Survey of Ireland (OSi) GeoDirectory is the definitive address database of buildings in the Republic of Ireland. GeoDirectory was established by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland to identify the precise address and location of every residential and commercial property in the State. GeoDirectory assigns each property its own individual fingerprint – a unique, verified address in a standardised format, together with a precise geocode.

Tony Murphy of OSi discussed what is forthcoming in the OSi Prime 2 which will be an innovative way for users of OSi data to access updated data. As Mallon Technology GIS Technicians are a large user group of OSi orthoimagery this is an area of huge interest to us. Prime 2 will be scale independent, object based, with a seamless coverage of orthophotography which will no longer be stored in ‘tiles’.

Howard Johnson gave a very interesting talk on using geo data (latitude, longitude) to inform the Aer Corps helicopters to air lift a casualty to a specialist hospital.

François Salgé who came from France discussed the Inspire Directive and EURLOGI (the European equivalent of IRLOGI). He suggested some interesting websites to check out such as www.vinogeo.fr which shows vineyards geographic locations! He also discussed interesting initiatives such as crowdsourcing (see www.geml.fr) which in France has utilised the public’s spotting of wildlife to map their location.

There followed a very interesting presentation by Mark Warren from the Department of Public Reform where they are exploring methods of exchanging data across different government departments such as welfare and revenue using the PPSN and GeoDirectory data as the validation of ‘single customer view’. As there is no definitive repository of such data at a national level, different government department’s have been unable to match records and customers have to go to a variety of organisations if, say, they move and change their address. As there are often spelling variations in addresses, incorporating GeoDirectory gives confidence to such an endeavour as there is one unique code/address on this database.

An update of GeoDirectory was given by Dominic Fahey of An Post. As expected with the change in the Irish economy there are a lot less buildings and therefore addresses being added to the database. Some changes include a new category of temporary dwelling (e.g. a mobile home) or temporary shops. There is a new query tool on the website so customers can filter out what data they need to look at and future updates are to be released through the extranet site as opposed to discs.

Attendees at the conference received a ‘sneak preview’ of the results of the Census 2011 and how GeoDirectory was utilised from Cormac Halpin of the central statistics office. His presentation discussed changes in Ireland since the 2006 census such as the reduction in the number of people from other countries moving to Ireland and the change in what is categorised as ‘commuter belt’ and the demise of the bedsit as an accommodation type; obviously student accommodation is now a lot more salubrious than in my day! Check out www.cso.ie/census for more details