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Irish mapping agency offers global data process facility

Ireland: Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI), the national mapping agency of Ireland, started an international business to provide data processing services from its Dublin base to global customers in sectors such as urban and rural planning, engineering and utilities. It has already won its first contract with Vision ME, a Dubai-based aerial survey company.
In recent years, the national mapping agency has invested in optimising its IT systems and has been accredited as an official reference site for advanced use of Oracle’s spatial database technology. OSI now sees an opportunity to take the same computer processing capability it uses to update its own records and to provide it as a service to other public and private sector organisations.
To provide the service for delivering high-accuracy digital imagery services, the agency has formed a partnership with Ruxstar, a US-based geospatial technology firm which will have some of its staff based at OSI headquarters in the Phoenix Park.
OSI claimed it can significantly reduce the time and cost involved in turning large volumes of raw mapping data gathered from aerially mounted digital cameras or lasers into usable information. “Typically, with a very large area, that would have taken months. Now we can do it within weeks,” said Colin Bray, OSI’s chief technology officer.
Separately, OSI sees an opportunity to provide its capability in developing 3D city maps in other markets. A recent change to EU aviation regulations will require all European airports and their surroundings to be mapped in 3D to improve flight path planning.
OSI is working with the Irish Aviation Authority to become certified, and this status will then allow the agency to seek customers further afield. “Over the next one to three years I would see us building up our international business to be around 10-15 per cent of our revenues,” said OSI’s chief executive Geraldine Ruane. Potential international sales of up to EUR 4 million within this timeframe were a “prudent” forecast, she said.
The agency’s move beyond the Irish market was partly driven by need; domestic revenues have fallen 35 per cent because construction- and tourism-related business has been affected by the downturn, Ruane added. OSI anticipates total revenues of about EUR 25 million this year, with more than EUR 4 million coming from its service level agreement with the Government to provide the national mapping service. For the first time since being re-designated in 2002, OSI anticipates it will pay the Government a dividend this year from an expected operational surplus, Ruane opined.
OSI is also making its domestic mapping data available to small and medium-sized businesses via an online service, as well as supplying its mapping products to third-level research groups in Irish universities.
Source: Iris Times