2007 Annual Report - Society supports geoscience
 Preface | Agency for geoscience sector | 2007 Highlights | Geoscience makes significant progress | Research drives the Knowledge Economy | 3D Ireland | Supporting effective infrastructure | Coastal potential | Geoscience and Ireland's energy | Clean water is central to our environment | North-South and International Cooperation | Society supports geoscience | GSI organisation | Using GSI services

"The International Year of Planet Earth: a unique opportunity to promote the contribution of geoscience to society."

Geoscience provides significant knowledge and services that underpin our economic competitiveness and quality of life. It is important that the public are aware of this contribution and the part that GSI plays in it. Satisfactory awareness will ensure not only that adequate investment takes place in geoscience but that young people appreciate the career opportunities it offers, thereby ensuring that the geoscience skills base is sustained in the future.

GSI and its programmes featured significantly in the news media during 2007. At least six radio programmes featured activities such as seabed surveys, minesite remediation and outreach. Television slots focused on the Avoca minesite study and the development of the Copper Coast Geopark.

GSI coverage in print media during 2007
GSI coverage in print media
Note: Figures are in column centimetres

The extent of print media coverage was twice that in 2006 and all print media categories showed increases, especially national and trade. This provides the best measure of how effectively GSI delivered its message in 2007.

National coverage showed only 6% increase but it was more evenly spread over more issues than last year: seabed dominated this year in place of last year's hazards. It is gratifying to note that national coverage included a small amount of international coverage devoted to our new data policy. Regional coverage showed a five-fold increase over 2006, especially relating to outreach and seabed coverage. Trade coverage increased 3.7 times in 2007 and prominent themes were seabed, heritage (including geoparks) and outreach. On a thematic basis, seabed issues publicised in collaboration with the Marine Institute were clearly ahead of all others, while mining and energy issues featured for the first time. The website appendices to this report provide more details of the print media coverage. We wish to thank the Department's Press Officer and the Press Officer of the Marine Institute for their help and support.

With internet access now available to most homes and the vast majority of businesses, it is no surprise that users of GSI services increasingly do so by visiting its websites. The year-on-year increase in visitor numbers during 2007 was 25%, and most of this increase was experienced on the www.gsi.ie website. Note that figures (both in the diagram and in the report's website appendices) include estimates for periods when numbers could not be recorded due to structural changes.

GSI website activity: visitor numbers

GSI website activity
*Spatial Pages was launched during 2007

The GSI Customer Centre is the first port of call for many users of GSI services. It deals with a wide range of issues and ensures that customers receive high quality information and advice. In line with recent expectations the number of queries from the public decreased by 25% in 2007, reflecting the greater use being made of information on our websites. Falls of close to 50% were experienced in areas such as groundwater and seabed, while geological heritage and mining recorded increases. The Customer Centre had a total of 952 personal callers and 291 to the library during 2007.

The Customer Centre had a special offer over a number of weeks before and after Christmas 2007 of a reduced price (33% off) on two items, the “Written in Stone” DVD and the book “North from the Hook”. This resulted in a substantial increase in sales of these items.

Distribution of queries from the public in 2006 and 2007
Queries from the public
*This website service started in 2007. Queries are recorded which require a substantive response (over one hour of work)

On Mount Leinster
Photo courtesy of Carlow Co. Co. Museum

Geology Matters, the GSI Newsletter, is a regular digital publication which keeps readers abreast of new developments in GSI and it is an important element of the GSI outreach activity. In addition, staff regularly lead events such as lectures and walks for National Heritage Week, Irish Science Week and Irish Geology Week. GSI provides support to a small number of key publications which deliver geoscience content to important educational and general public readerships. The Cunningham Awards 2007, for the two best university mapping projects at undergraduate level, were awarded to Edward Lynch, NUI Galway, and Niamh O’Sullivan, Trinity College Dublin.

GSI’s Irish Geological Heritage completed County Heritage Reports in draft for Counties Fingal, Kilkenny and Meath, and made inputs to the County Development or Heritage Plans for eight counties. GSI continued its support to landscape tourism projects as a means of developing more eco-friendly forms of tourism, especially those remote from east coast urban areas. The Copper Coast Geopark in coastal County Waterford and the Cross-Border Breifne Landscapes projects (where GSNI is also a partner) continued to develop and market their products during 2007. GSI was represented at a number of European fora for geoparks and mining heritage during 2007. GSI provided NDP funding to both the Copper Coast and Breifne projects as well as to the aspirant geopark at Burren - Cliffs of Moher.

Considerable preparations continued for the International Year of Planet Earth in 2008. This is a unique opportunity to promote the contribution of geoscience to society. Stakeholders in the geoscience sector in Ireland and Northern Ireland have joined together to create a comprehensive programme of events and this is coordinated by GSI with the support of the Royal Irish Academy. The Programme will include a TV series, public lectures, competitions for schools, walks, talks, exhibitions and a photo competition. Check www.planetearth.ie for events and updates.

The Ninth Du Noyer Photo Competition, organised with the support of the Irish Geological Association and Science Spin magazine, was very successful with over 40 entrants. First prize went to Clair Donogher, Kinnitty, second to Judith Boyle from Kildare and third to David Kirk from Belfast. The foreign category was won by Grainne Baxter of Goatstown, Dublin. We congratulate the winners, some of whose photos grace these pages.

 Clair Donoghar - 1st prize winner
Clair Donogher
Judith Boyle - 2nd prize winner
Judith Boyle 
 David Kirk - 3rd prize winner
David Kirk
 Grainne Baxter - foreign category winner
Grainne Baxter

Science for a sustainable future…
Understanding the Earth and the processes that shape it is fundamental to the successful development and sustainable management of our planet. The evolution of the Earth's crust over geological time has resulted in diverse, often beautiful, landscapes formed by earthquakes, oceans, fire and ice. These landscapes are also a source of mineral wealth and water, a base for engineering projects and a receptacle for our waste. In order to safeguard the well-being of the planet, we need geological data and expertise to help us understand the complex interactions between the Earth's shallow subsurface, water, air and living things.

British Geological Survey 2006. Science for a sustainable future. British Geological Survey Occasional Publication No. 12.


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