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Offshore water: Mapping the Seabed

Offshore water: Mapping the Seabed

​The Irish sea bed has been mapped by the INFOMAR programme, a collaboration between Geological Survey Ireland and the Marine Institute and it is one of the world's largest and leading seabed mapping programmes.

The seabed is mostly mapped by using sonar systems on boats. Other methods are used in shallow areas, as they are unsafe for boats to access. These include LiDAR, satellite imagery and drones. For more information, visit 'Surveys' on the INFOMAR website. The mapping methods allow seabed depth, relief and composition to be determined, as well as showing the position of shipwrecks.

This data is important as it is used to update navigation charts for safety at sea and provides key baseline data for Ireland's marine sector. It is also useful in increasing the use of renewable energy in Ireland, as the data can help policy makers identify suitable offshore windfarm locations, as well as suitable sites for tidal generators. This is important for helping Ireland reach its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Other uses of data are for: the fishing sector, aquaculture, tourism and marine leisure, heritage, oil and gas exploration, and research. 

For more details on seabed mapping, visit the seabed mapping page on Geological Survey Ireland's website and the INFOMAR website. 

The Real Map of Ireland shows that the Irish landmass only makes up 10% of Ireland's territory. This has been determined thanks to seabed mapping.