Building on several years of informal cooperation, in November 2007 the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI), the British Geological Survey and GSI signed a framework for increased scientific cooperation. This action supports the Government’s objectives in relation to its North-South and East-West agenda. It is designed to facilitate the sharing of expertise and the provision of enhanced and more efficient services to customers and shareholders. The signing was witnessed by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Eamonn Ryan, TD, and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Mr. Nigel Dodds, MLA. The Ministers considered that there were still major opportunities to ensure we get the maximum benefit from investments in geoscience.
International cooperation is essential for a lean organisation like GSI to ensure that it keeps abreast of best practice, provides up-skilling and networking opportunities for staff, and thereby enhances the value added for its customers. It is also a key opportunity to demonstrate GSI skills on an international stage and to promote Ireland’s geoscience potential and skills base. During 2007 Government approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the GSI and IGME (the Spanish Geological Survey) which will promote knowledge building through collaboration and joint actions. Scientists from GSI and the third level sector continued to participate in a project offshore Ireland under the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).
GSI is an active member of Eurogeosurveys, the association of European geological surveys. This association facilitates European institutes with easy access to geoscience expertise and is an effective mechanism for GSI to influence European decision making and policy. It operates through a series of expert working groups and the website appendices to this report list the GSI staff which serve on them.
The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) is the world representative body for geology recognised by UNESCO. It has an important role in establishing international standards and methodologies, promoting international cooperation and projects, and organising the four-yearly International Geological Congress. GSI, with the support of the Royal Irish Academy, is the national adhering body to IUGS as well as to the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP) of UNESCO.
The biennial North Atlantic Minerals Symposium (NAMS), organised by GSI and the Geological Survey of Newfoundland and Labrador under the aegis of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ireland and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, was held in Dublin in August. As an integrated part of the major SGA Conference “Digging Deeper”, it was attended by many of the over 600 delegates present. As a result it effectively promoted Ireland’s minerals potential at a time of enhanced exploration investment.
|| Minister of State Mr. Tony Killeen (centre) along with from left, Sandy Archibald (President, IAEG), Gerry Stanley (Chairman, Local Organising Committee), Hartwig Frimmel (President, SGA) and Peadar McArdle (Director, Geological Survey of Ireland) at the State Reception in Dublin Castle.|
The Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research (SNIFFER), which includes GSI, launched its WFD Visualisation Tool comprising over 1,000 jpeg images of various groundwater interactions, many pertinent to Ireland’s context (http://www.wfdvisual.com/).
Ireland endorsed the Cape Town Declaration by the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) in December. This declaration provides support to the ten-year implementation plan to create a system of systems to deliver Earth Observations information globally for the benefit of humankind. This will deliver key products to support geoscience research and services, and the EU contribution will be GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security).
Back to top
One Geology: A global approach
The International Year of Planet Earth has stimulated a valuable initiative to facilitate access to geological information on a global basis. One Geology, a project coordinated by the British Geological Survey (BGS), aims to "make web-accessible the best available geological map data worldwide at a scale of about 1:1million, as a Geological Survey contribution to the International Year of Planet Earth".
The geological map data will be made available as a distributed web service, with each national geological survey providing data for its territory to a web portal. Driven by the interchange standard GeosciML, data will be accessible through dynamic map browsers. The aim is to create a dynamic digital geological map for the world using best available data and so a pragmatic approach will be adopted in accepting map data.
This fascinating project has the support of 65 nations and GSI is proud to represent Ireland in it. GSI geologists participated actively in the initial One Geology workshop in Brighton, UK, in March. The resulting Brighton Accord asserted that geological map data are essential to advancing science and education in order to better provide solutions to the challenges of mitigating environmental hazards, ensuring the sustainable supply of energy, minerals and water, and addressing the urgent challenge of our changing climate.
Map data will increasingly be made available on the dedicated One Geology website, starting in late 2008. This is a very accessible route into science for potential students. The data will also, as an impartial reflector of prospectivity, promote inward exploration investment.