- GSI is actively supporting the knowledge economy through the development of R&D for the geoscience sector, as well as supporting research through use of its databases. Planning has started to position the sector to participate in the new National Development Plan (2007- 2013).
- During 2005, the final year of the Irish National Seabed Survey, Marine Institute vessels completed surveys off the Donegal coast while an airborne Lidar survey of Mulroy Bay, County Donegal, was undertaken. These surveys increased the GSI data holdings considerably and underpinned a range of research and value added projects.
- Ireland joined the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IOPD), providing excellent opportunities for scientists in Ireland to engage in cutting edge marine research, and drilling was carried out on coral mounds in the Porcupine Seabight off the West Coast.
- Groundwater protection remains a key priority for GSI and in 2005 significant support was provided on groundwater aspects of the EU Water Framework Directive through the River Basin District projects. A Groundwater Protection Scheme for County Cavan was started andsource protection reports were completed for two public water supplies in County Donegal.
- A deep strength of GSI lies in its range of growing databases, which are constantly being improved through new acquisitions and validation of its contents. A significant development was the donation of Rio Tinto’s archive from 35 years of exploration throughout Ireland.
- Environmental monitoring is a priority activity for GSI and it is set to assume increased importance in the future when its results will form the basis for modelling key environmental processes, particularly those with a potential to cause natural hazards. The initial phase of work on the National Landslides Database was completed and a report will be published in 2006.
- 2005 was an important year for bedrock mapping. By year-end full coverage of maps and booklets (except for a single booklet) had been published for the nationwide 1:100,000 scale series. Work on the island-wide 1:500,000 scale map, in co-operation with the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, was close to completion. A new 1:50,000 scale map series, responding to specific customer needs in priority areas, started and a pilot version for part of County Wexford was produced for evaluation.
- Quaternary mapping of 1:50,000 sheet number 48 (Tullamore) and of eastern Westmeath-Louth was completed.These both illustrate the importance of sand and gravel deposits as sources of aggregates while at the same time the landscape features they define are important elements of natural heritage. The information from this mapping is an important contribution to the resolution of issues surrounding conflicting land uses.
- l GSI delivered a minerals potential map to Wicklow County Council. This highlighted areas with potential for gold mineralization as well as base metals.
- Landscape tourism and geological heritage projects, in which GSI participated with other partners, continued to bring geology to the attenion of rural communities in a way that is amenable to nurturing local enterprises. By year-end Phase 1 of the Breifne Project in the northwest was drawing to a close while another year remained on the Copper Coast projects in County Waterford.
- Educational and training services continued to be important for GSI. GSI participated on a pilot basis in the development and delivery of training for teachers of the Leaving Certificate geography syllabus. New training services in seabed classification and medical geology were developed, while additional offerings of the FÁS on-site wastewater management course were delivered.
- Value-added projects are a key way of extracting maximum value from the GSI databases,both onshore and offshore. GSI participated in a new departure with Irish and Canadian partners in trying to stimulate commercial consortia to exploit the considerable market in third countries for seabed mapping.
- The GSI Customer Centre provides single-portal access for customers to all GSI services. Product sales in GSI were down 10% in 2005, at 2977 items, compared to 2004 (3310) and the level of public queries, at 4240, was steady from 2004 (4133).
- As GSI moves towards greater web-enablement, the number of website visitors has increased by 64% over 2004 levels. It is expected that there will be a corresponding drop in queries by mail, phone or personal callers, but this has yet to happen.
- Among GSI publications in 2005 were Geosolutions (a strategic vision of GSI to the year 2015) and Cherishing our Earth (an account of the value of geological services).
- There is a continued focus on staff development and training, particularly at a time when there is a significant decrease in staff numbers, to underpin the efficient delivery of high quality services to customers.
- GSI seeks to raise awareness of its services and the value they deliver to society. In this regard media coverage of GSI activities is important and in 2005, largely due to publicity for the Irish National Seabed Survey, there was an increase of 80% over 2003 levels.