MIDA - The Marine Irish Digital Atlas
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  About the Atlas

The Marine Irish Digital Atlas (MIDA) provides a single source where people interested in coastal and marine information can visualise and identify pertinent geospatial datasets and determine where to acquire them. MIDA offers both digital geospatial data and information, incorporating text and multimedia elements, related to coastal and marine resources in Ireland. Integrating the latest advances in web-based mapping techniques, the atlas is built around an interactive map, which allows anyone to identify, visualise, and query those datasets relevant to their interests. The atlas displays data layers from numerous coastal and marine organisations both within Ireland and abroad, thus providing the best single resource for finding and viewing existing Irish coastal and marine data.
Atlas Goals Technology Data Categories Information Audience Statistics Steering Committee More Info
Atlas Goals

The key goal of the MIDA project has been to develop a Marine Irish Digital Atlas as an updateable web GIS based data archive and informational resource.

Specific objectives are:
  •  To develop a web site for presentation of geo-referenced marine datasets of environmental significance.

  •  To provide greater accessibility to data and information in the form of a web enabled, customised GIS.

  •  To provide flexibility of use by providing a range of tools that allow users to select, overlay and compare geospatial layers.

  •  To allow users to identify sources of data, information and expertise on the marine environment.

  •  Encourage a greater appreciation of Ireland's coastal regions by incorporating educational and informational materials based on multi-media technology.

map page
  Figure 1: Image of the MIDA interactive map page.
Technology Behind the Atlas

Figure 2: Elements that make up the MIDA system
(based on the INSPIRE model, 2002).

MIDA has been implemented using state of the art, open source software technology.

  User interface:  The atlas is accessible from a wide range of web browsers. Users can visualise and query geospatial data directly on the MIDA web site using the open source MapServer web-based mapping system. Information pertaining to the layers displayed is also easily accessible.

Geoprocessing:  Tools such as zoom, query, add layers, search metadata, etc. allow real-time processing on displayed and stored geo-spatial data.

Server and Data Repository:  A dedicated computer with a LINUX operating system runs all software and contains all data:

    GEOSPATIAL DATA:  Geographically referenced vector and raster datasets.

METADATA:  Descriptive information on geo-spatial data including origin, quality, geographical extent, etc. Compliant to ISO 19115 standard.

NON-GEOSPATIAL DATA:  Text, photos, animations, audio, etc.

Data Categories

The atlas contains geographically referenced data grouped into four main categories of information.  It is expected that the atlas will eventually contain a few hundred separate data layers.  View a list of layers which have currently been collected here.The following table shows the MIDA categories and some of the subcategories.

Management Physical Environment Biological Environment Socio-economic Activity
Administrative Boundaries
Water Mgmt. Boundaries
Fresh Water Quality
Estuarine Water Quality
Parks and Reserves
Protected Areas
Planning Information
Land Tenure
Marine Biology
Plankton distribution
Intertidal Algae
Seaweed distribution
Sea Birds
Marine Mammals
Invasive Species


What layers would you like to see? Contact us and let us know.

Information Pages

From the main atlas, users have easy access to informational pages about a range of topics relevant to Ireland's coastal and marine areas. A general description of each layer is also provided on the main atlas page when a layer is selected (Figure 3). From here, users can access the more detailed information in the form of text, images, multimedia, and links to outside sources for those interested in learning more.

info tab

Figure 3:  Example of introductory information that is provided when a layer is selected, located below the map on the main atlas page.

Atlas Audience and User Feedback

The broad nature of the atlas is intended for anyone who may be interested in Irish coastal and marine information, from young students to scientific researchers. The expected atlas users fall into the following categories:
  •  Governmental Agencies
  •  Educational & Research Facilities
  •  Tourism
  •  Local Authorities
  •  International Organisations
  •  Conservation Organisations
  •  Commercial Organisations
  •  Non-Governmental Organisations
  •  General Public
User feedback is important in the development process of the atlas. Efforts to receive input from a broad range of users have included meetings with key coastal and marine data holders and users, as well as meetings with user groups made up of representatives from the groups listed above. The direction of atlas development and data acquisition is influenced by feedback received at these meetings in order to develop a resource that is useful and interesting to everyone.

MIDA Usage Statistics
With over 32.000 visits since May 2005 MIDA has become a popular resource. Check out the "monthly usage statistics"

Steering Committee Members

More Information

A number of papers have been written about the MIDA regarding general descriptions of the project, the development of the atlas, and issues encountered in the process of its development with technology and geospatial data. To find out more, go to our Documents page.

If you have questions, comments or suggestions regarding the MIDA, or wish to become a member of the MIDA mailing list, please contact the MIDA team.

This project began in September 2002 and is currently funded for 3 years by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) under the National Development Plan's PRTLI 3 programme.

Additional funding is being received from the Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland.

Your multimedia resource for coastal and marine data in Ireland