INSPIRE Knowledge Base


Geographic Information Strategy for Northern Ireland
Mission and Objectives: 
Mosaic is the brand name for the implementation of the Geographic (GI) Strategy for Northern Ireland, an initiative being progress by the government Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, through its Agency, Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI). The vision for the GI strategy is to; "provide the strategic leadership required for a practical, co-ordinated and inclusive approach to improving the collection, funding, dissemination and use of geographic information, in order to maximise the social, economic and educational potential of this crucial component of the national information infrastructure resource." The goal of the GI Strategy is to - Deliver better services - Manage resources more effectively and efficently - Inform policy decisions through the use of geographic information. By co-ordinating our use of geographic information we will be able to better utilise increasingly complex inforamtion resources that are collected for government and by government. Many parts of Government have Geographic Information and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) projects under development. The GI strategy for Northern Ireland, Mosaic, has been established to share best practice in deveolping thesse systems and also to help governments sahre information being created form these projects, both within government (cross departmentally and with the Citizen.
Formal Mandate: 
National Government
Mosaic has been endorsed by both the Department of Culture Arts & Leisure Minister, and by the Northern Ireland e-Government board, thus recognising the importance of GI as a key information infrastructure, refelcting the same level of importance placed on GI within Great Britain and wider afield. In order to realise the potential of GI, the Northern Ireland administration has committed itself to developing a GI strategy. Through Mosaic a wide range of sectoral groups have been establised that represent the interests of all areas of Geographic Information withing Ireland. Mosaic represents the following groups; - Key Datasets - Environment & Agriculture - Land & Property - Culture & Heritage - Education & Awareness - Health & Social Improvement - Statistics - Transport - Utilities & Networks
Mosaic has committed itself to a programme of work over the next two years that will help it realise its vision of providing a co-ordinated framework through which the the collection, funding, dissemination and use of geographic information can be improved. To that end Mosaic is taking forward a series of pilot projects that will help demonstrate the benefits of this co-ordinated approach. These projects are outlined below: Online Environmental Information System The purpose of this pilot is to bring together existing core environmental spatial datasets into a single accessible web based GI repository that will act as an agreed definitive source of environmental and rural spatial data sets as well as spatial datasets that relate to both the rural and urban environment. The pilot hosts data from a wide range of organisations including EHS, DOE, DARD and Planning Service. Land and Property Information System This pilot project is a cross-departmental initiative between Central and Local Government to demonstrate the benefits of enabling land and property related information that is held by many public and private sector organisations to be accessed through a single point. The pilot hosts information from organisations including Planning Service, NIHE, OSNI, LRNI and North Down Borough Council. Key Datasets Project This project will ascertain common data requirements across all GI strategic themes, such as Land & Property, Transport, Statistics, Environment and Agriculture etc. and catalogue those data defined as key and crosscutting in nature. The project will establish a Northern Ireland node of the GI Gateway and populate this with metadata on those datasets identified as key. Placenames Online Database The Place-Name Project seeks to enhance awareness of the place-name heritage and its value by providing a service to a range of organisations and the general public. The Northern Ireland Place-Name Project Database is based on a gazetteer of all place-names in Northern Ireland compiled from the Census index of townlands and the 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey map sheets, plus additions from the 6-inch map series. Information has been collected on almost all of the 9,600 townland names in Northern Ireland. Placenames Online allows users to search for and retrieve a range of building and location information through a map interface or text/field-based search. The Place-Name Online Database Project leverages the Pointer infrastructure (specifically its web portal) to make its information available and more accessible to the general public. Information on location of names, status of names in historical administrative structures, historical evidence of the names and bibliography details has already been made available through the pointer web portal. Information on linguistic interpretation and personal family names will be added to this in due course.To access placenames online, go to; Future development includes a proposal to develop a Geographic Information Hub for Northern Ireland that aims to enable every public servant in Northern Ireland to access appropriate (geographic (information) in order to facilitate policy development and evaluation, administration and service delivery, at the desktop, in a seamless way. Furthermore, the public should be able to view Government held information in an easy to understand way. The business case for this is currently under development. The Mosaic support office facilitates the development of these projects and carries out a range of activities in the areas of representation, co-ordination, consultation, administation, communication and technical suppport.
Mosaic has memembers representing the following areas. - Key Datasets - Environment & Agriculture - Land & Property - Culture & Heritage - Education & Awareness - Health & Social Improvement - Statistics - Transport - Utilities & Networks Membership of these groups is from both the public and private sector. Members from government represent the Department of Environment, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Department of Regional Development, the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment, the Department of Finance and Personal, the Department of Education, the Department of Employment and Learning, the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety and the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure.
The Mosaic initiative has been progressed following an extensive consulation process that has invovled key stakeholders from its beginnings. Mosaic is well represented and supported by the GI community within Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland GI Strategy has been extensively quotes in UK and European circles as an example of best practice in policy development both within and external to the GI industry

Which role(s) do you foresee for the SDIC in INSPIRE development

  • participate in the review process
  • yes
  • implement pilot projects to test/revise/develop the draft Implementing Rules
  • yes
  • contribute to awareness raising and training
  • yes
    Geographic Domain
    Northern Ireland
    Societal Sector
    central government
    Specific Expertise
    Previous Experience relevant for INSPIRE development
    The Mosaic initiative has co-ordinated and implemented a geographic information strategy for Northern Ireland. It has established a framework for this implemenatation and facilitated the foundation of a series of sectoral groups to represent the interests of the GI community in Northern Ireland. It has adopted the values and principles of INSPIRE. Mosaic has a clearly defined programme of work and part of its mandate is to represent the GI community in Northern Ireland at a European level on matters such as INSPIRE.
    Environmental application domains
    Mosaic represents a number of organisations that have responsiblities in the enviromental domains listed above
    Primary Business
    Mosaic is being progress by the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland whose primary business is as a national mapping agency.