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Next phase of Tellus Airborne Survey sets off over South East as it lands last flight in Limerick, Tipperary and west Cork.

Next phase of Tellus Airborne Survey sets off over South East as it lands last flight in Limerick, Tipperary and west Cork.



5th June 2019

Next phase of Tellus Airborne Survey sets off over South East as it lands last flight in Limerick, Tipperary and west Cork.
The next phase of the Tellus Survey – a nationwide programme of the Geological Survey Ireland, which collects geochemical and geophysical data on rocks, soil and water across Ireland – has officially taken off over the south east of Ireland. To gather this data, a low-flying plane equipped with state-of the-art instruments will soar over the skies of counties Carlow, Wexford and neighbouring parts of Kildare, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wicklow from May until autumn 2019, weather permitting.

The Tellus Survey programme has been surveying across Ireland over the last eight years and has recently finished flying over counties Limerick, Tipperary and west Cork. The Tellus Survey aims to have 75% of Ireland mapped by 2020, with the resulting data having the potential to deliver positive economic, environmental and agricultural benefits by helping to assist in understanding the local environment, soil management and natural resource potential for these counties. Data collected throughout the Tellus project is published and made freely available to all on the Tellus website.

Dr James Hodgson, Senior Geologist and Project Manager for Tellus, says:

“I am pleased to see the Tellus Survey programme launch into a new phase, gathering data across south east Ireland. The Tellus Survey is an important project which continues to provide us with significant data that will offer us valuable insights about the makeup of Ireland. As we start this new phase, I also want to thank the local community in counties Limerick, Tipperary and west Cork for their support while we surveyed the area over the last few months and encourage anyone in the south east of Ireland who has concerns regarding sensitive livestock to reach out to us on the Freephone Information line 1800 45 55 65.”

Operating safely as approved by the Irish Aviation Authority permits, the aircraft is a white, twin propeller plane, which is easily identified by its red tail and black stripe as well as the word ‘SURVEY’ and  registration number C-GSGF written across both sides of the plane. Based at Waterford airport, the plane will be flying at 60 metres over rural areas – about eight times the height of a two-storey house – and 240 metres over urban areas over the next few months. 

Notes for Editors
  • Geological Survey Ireland is Ireland’s National Earth Science Agency. It is responsible for providing geological advice and information, and for the acquisition of data for this purpose. GSI produces a range of products including maps, reports and databases and acts as a knowledge centre and project partner in all aspects of Irish geology. GSI is a division of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) (
  • The airborne survey is operated by Sander Geophysics Ltd., a Canada-based geophysical survey company, on behalf of GSI.
  • The aircraft carries a range of instruments on board for navigation purposes and to measure geophysical properties of the ground. The navigation instruments include: i) a satellite navigation system; ii) a radar altimeter for measuring altitude; iii) a video camera to record where the plane is flown – video footage will not be used for anything else. The geophysical instruments on board the plane are: i) a magnetometer which measures the variations in the Earth’s magnetic field; ii) a gamma ray detector which measures the natural radioactivity  of shallow soil and rocks; iii) a frequency-domain electromagnetic (EM) system which measures variations in conductivity between different soils and rocks. All instruments are safe and do not emit any radiation. 
  • Tellus’ was the Roman goddess of the earth, also called Terra Mater.