The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), is changing to a new computerised farm mapping system, a GIS. This new system, which is required under European Union legislation, replaces the old practice of hand-drawn maps and produces detailed and accurate farm maps shown on an Ordnance Survey background. The new GIS contains information on 60,000 individual farm maps and almost 800,000 fields within Northern Ireland.
All landowners will, in due course, receive copies of their new farm map. DARD maps do not convey legal ownership, but these new maps will form the basis of future direct farm aid and grant payments and are, therefore, important.
Fields areas have been recalculated by the new system, based on the most up to date Ordnance Survey data and may therefore vary slightly from previous maps. In many cases, however, these field variances are counterbalanced within farms.
According to a DRDA spokesman, “By this new system, users can select any combination of these layers and set them on top of one another to give a fuller or more specific picture of an area. For example, agricultural fields can be viewed on top of Ordnance Survey maps and with many other features also displayed, such as historic monuments, forests, woodlands or rivers.”